Update on Immigration Executive Order (Part Two of Two)
The second Executive Order that was signed yesterday was titled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” and deals specifically with issues relating to immigration through the southern border. This Order calls for the immediate “plan, design, and construct[ion]” of a wall along the southern border, as well as the construction of additional facilities to detain immigration violators at the southern border.
The Order demands that an unspecified number of asylum officers and Immigration Judges be sent to the southern border to handle credible fear and reasonable fear determinations and conduct the required court review of those determinations. When an immigrant is caught at or near the border or presents himself for admission to the United States without a valid visa, if he states that he has a fear of return to his home country, the law requires that an asylum officer interview him to determine if he has a viable claim to asylum. This order for the allocation of officers and judges seems to be an attempt to streamline this process at the border, which may limit the ability of applicants to be advised by legal counsel and ensure that they are prepared for this intense questioning.
The Order also calls for the end of “catch and release,” however does not set forth a plan for processing immigrants at the border in the event of a lack of bed space in detention facilities. The Order also purports to limit parole authority, meaning the ability of border officers to allow immigrants to enter the United States to attend their removal proceedings without being in a detention center.
All in all, we expect to see increased immigration enforcement both locally through law enforcement, as well as at the southern border. As a result of increased enforcement and decreased discretion, we expect to see additional and significant delays both in the processing of asylum applications filed by immigrants who have already entered the United States and in the processing of cases before the Immigration Courts. We also expect to see an attempt at increased detention, however, there seem to be many logistical and financial considerations that have not yet been addressed. Each and every case is very different and it is important to speak with a qualified immigration attorney if you have questions about how these orders may affect you or your family members.
If you have any questions about how these orders affect you, please contact our office and schedule a consultation.