I was surprised to see that my last entry was all the way back on September 18th. I try to write every couple of weeks, but now it’s been nearly a month. Is it because I’ve not had anything to write about? Hardly! While each of the topics below could be a post by themselves, let’s get caught up on a few things, shall we?
- We had a record number of interviews this past month! From September 3rd and going through October 14th, I’ve attended 13 interviews. To put that in perspective – I attended one interview in August, none in July, and two in June. Why has it been so busy? Sure, part of it is has been increased business, but the Atlanta Field Office has been working hard. Only one of these cases has been a Naturalization case (should you be thinking there be a rush to get new citizens registered to vote for the November elections).
- Which leads to this story on how somewhere between 800 and 1600 people became naturalized citizens without having their full background checks completed. What happened? It sounds as though when some people didn’t list previous names on their N-400s and their background checks didn’t get processed through all the proper agencies, prior deportation orders or other immigration violations didn’t come up in their records. In truth, this history should have come up when they first got their green cards – but, regardless, some people did become US citizens when they legally shouldn’t have. No one should lie on the naturalization application, ever. They should have disclosed their aliases. But not everyone who has deportation is a dangerous criminal. It’s possible (maybe even likely) that some of these individuals were apprehended at the border and given an expedited order of removal (“removal” is just another word for “deportation”).
- Let’s not even talk about the election…Okay, maybe for a second. A lot of my consultations lately have included at least a question or two about what would happen if Trump should win since he’s been pretty clear on wanting to deport anyone and everyone without legal status in the United States. The truth is, the president has limited power on what s/he can do on immigration. Immigration law is created by Congress. The president might be able to influence immigration policy, as we saw with DACA. DACA, at its core, was just a re-prioritization of who gets deported. Could a President Trump take away DACA? Yes. Could a President Trump completely change the Immigration and Nationality Act? No. Would he have the resources to deport 11 million people? No. Could a Trump Administration even define what “legal status” is – I don’t mean that sarcastically, but is someone who is in deferred action status waiting for U status as a crime victim going to be deported? While the idea of a President Trump is too many of us, the core of the law will remain the same, though he could certainly make life more difficult – if not miserable and impossible – for many immigrants.
- On October 1st, we celebrated our 4th Anniversary as a law firm! It’s hard to believe we’ve come from running on one cell phone and having one consultation every two weeks to receiving over 200 calls a week and our schedule filling up at least a week in advance. In these four years, we’ve helped over 530 families and individuals with their immigration needs. Do we win every case? No. But with hard work, long hours of research, perseverance, and knowing the law, we’ve been able to help families stay together, we’ve brought families together after decades apart, we’ve helped domestic violence regain their independence, we’ve helped people gain their freedom. We’ve done some amazing things together with our clients. Thank you to each of you for letting us be part of your journey and for trusting us with your most valuable possession – yourself or your loved one.