With the past several weeks of campaigning and political debates winding to a close, and the polls officially opening for Election Day, many Americans are holding their breath for the midterm election results. Among these Americans are thousands of immigrant families, who fear that they (or their family members waiting in other countries) will face increased scrutiny, intimidation, and even deportation threats from immigration officials.
In this post, our Florida immigration attorneys will review the legal issues at stake for immigrants and their families in this historic election. We’ll also discuss how we can assist if you’ve been affected by deportation proceedings, or other legal challenges to your family’s immigration.
What Are the Stakes for Immigrants this Election Day?
The energy around the 2018 midterm elections has been electrifying for both new and seasoned voters alike. Many critical – and divisive – issues have been added as state ballot measures, or surfaced in closely contested Congressional races across the nation. However, because of the Trump administration’s divisive rhetoric on the issue of immigration, immigration law has come to the forefront of many debates.
By painting prospective Mexican immigrants as a coordinated “invasion of our country,” and sharing conspiracy theories about the large group of migrants currently heading north, the president has made no secret of his disdain for migrating Central American families, many of whom are fleeing poverty and violence. Even from the outset of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump relied on disproven claims that most immigrants harm American citizens once allowed to enter the country legally. Recently, he stated that more than 97% of Central American immigrants fail to attend their immigration trials once apprehended at the border (the actual figure is closer to 28%).
But aside from encouraging harsher enforcement and harassment tactics from immigration officials and police, how can this kind of rhetoric shape American immigration law policy and procedure for the years to come? Although few actual measures have made it to the ballots, the future of immigration law may well depend on how today’s elections play out.
Below are just a few of the immigration law shifts proposed by the Trump administration, during these 2018 midterm elections and beyond:
- Ending birthright citizenship at the Constitutional level. Changing the 14th Amendment right to citizenship for children born on U.S. soil can only be accomplished after a two-thirds majority vote in both Congressional houses. However, the Trump administration has repeatedly discredited this centuries-old legal doctrine in recent weeks, and has even threatened to issue an executive order on it, despite the protests of legal scholars. Depending on the midterm results, it’s possible that the Trump administration will try to erase this Constitutional right.
- Denying asylum for all undocumented immigrants via executive order. A blanket denial of asylum could be considered a legal violation of our international obligations. This issue will not appear on any ballots either, as only the President can issue executive orders. However, the midterm elections will determine the degree to which Congress can challenge an order like this one, or any other immigration-related executive order released from the Oval Office.
- Sending more active-duty military forces to our borders. The Trump administration has already begun this process, by ordering new troops to the border. Promoting lethal force against the “caravan” of migrants, Trump has claimed repeatedly that he encourages the military to shoot if rocks or other debris are thrown at them – a clear violation of current military procedure regarding civilians.
Compassionate Immigration Lawyers Serving Clients Nationwide
At Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A., our skilled team of immigration lawyers believes that diversity makes us stronger, not weaker, and that the current legal structures in place for asylum and immigration are fundamental to the American way of life. However, applying for any form of legal immigration can be exceptionally daunting, and it’s estimated that more than 67% of all petitions and applications of immigrants without representation are rejected.
Depending on the results of the 2018 midterms, that number may only increase, and immigrants from all countries and walks of life may encounter greater obstacles to their citizenship than ever before. If you need dedicated counsel to fight for your rights and help you navigate the complex immigration system, we can advocate on your behalf with over 100 years of combined legal experience.
On behalf of our entire firm, we strongly encourage you to vote today if you are a registered U.S. voter and to make your voice heard on these and other issues.
For more information on how we can assist you with immigration issues, contact us at (800) 708-4399.