Since taking office, Trump dramatically expanded the definition of who can be prioritized for deportation. Immigration attorneys say that under the expanded definition, nearly any undocumented immigrant could be considered a target.
The first thing to understand, Ruch said, is what undocumented means.
“Visa overstayers, as well as people who came without a visa, are undocumented,” Ruch explained on a recent national press call organized by New America Media and Ready California.
Legal immigrants, especially those who have criminal issues or travel internationally, may want to check with an attorney to find out their options and risks, Ruch said.
“I think a lot of people don’t really know what DACA is. People think [Trump] can’t really do anything about it, but they don’t really understand the difference between an executive order and the law,” she said. “He can literally just take that piece of paper and throw it in the trash and that will be it. It won’t mean anything anymore.”
Fear of a Trump presidency is in fact prompting many to shy away from applying for the program or from renewing their paperwork out of fear their information will be used by the government to initiate deportation proceedings against them.
“The most important thing to remember, is that you may not have papers, but you do have rights. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to respond to immigration’s questions,” Davenport said. “If they ask where you were born or where you live, just say you’d prefer not to answer.”
The hope is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials will decide you are too much of a hassle and will not bother pursuing someone who shows they have a clear understanding of their legal rights, she said.
Unresponsive at first, the full impact of the decision settled in and I was devastated. I sat down and watched Univision — they were interviewing all of the disappointed parents and Dreamers. Seeing their heartbroken faces and frustrations hit me hard. It was another blow for immigration activists. One of many received over the years.
Obama’s expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and launch of a new program for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), could provide millions of undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation and access to work permits.