Trump and Immigration: Will I Be Deported?
President-elect Trump, soon to be President Trump, will be inaugurated
on January 20. Since Donald Trump's election, our office has been
inundated with calls regarding the "new changes" that Trump
threatened on the campaign trail; clients have been brought to tears by
his election and are
afraid. But should they be?
As with every presidential election, immigration remains a hot topic. Many
believed Obama would bring landmark pro-immigrant changes during his tenure
as president. Instead, he
deported more immigrants than any other US President, a total of 2.5
million immigrants. Since President Reagan, Democrats and Republicans
sound like they have different approaches to immigration--but do they really?
Looking back almost forty years, whether Democrat or Republican, the solution
has always been forgive-and-get-tough, namely implement harsher immigration
legislation in exchange for amnesty. Although by now we should know that
amnesty in exchange for tougher immigration laws always reaches a deadend,
they have been an excellent mechanism for a path to
citizenship. We should be cautious, however, to not immediately jump at an amnesty
proposal if that proposal means long term immigration policies that hurt
the immigrant community, but more importantly, hurt the United States at large.
Some say that any immigration victory claimed by Republicans or Democrats
endears that party to immigrant groups forever, because neither the Republicans
or the Democrats want to see the other party as the "champion for
immigrants." The country is paralyzed by two feuding parties fighting
over credit (read, votes) regarding progressive immigration policies.
The truth is, whether Democrat or Republican, both parties need votes
from the growing Latino community and each wants to be appreciated by
this fast-growing demographic.
It should be clear then, and history has shown us, that immigration is
not an issue to be seen through the eyes of political parties who desire
short term votes. Both have helped and damaged immigrant communities.
There are no good guys nor bad guys when it comes to immigration policy.
The Obama example, above, highlights that the issue is much more complex
than a binary red-blue analysis. Remember, it was Reagan, a Republican
and conservative, who granted
amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants.
Immigration "reforms", both harmful and helpful to immigrants,
also came into effect during G.W Bush's presidency, Clinton's
presidency, and H.W Bush's presidency. In short, Democrats and Republicans
have both benefited and harmed the immigrant community, and surprisingly,
some of the harshest immigration legislation were enacted during Democratic
presidencies. The most striking example being Bill Clinton's
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Some would argue that
Bill Clinton's rhetoric in this 1995 State of the Union Address, as shown on Youtube, does not
sound too different than
Trump's current immigration plan.
What does this all means? Trump is talking about walls (later referred
to as a fence, but fyi,
Bush started this wall) and mass deportations. This is nothing new, the immigrant population
has always been threatened under all political parties. In short, no one
should panic, January 20 and the near future look no different than today.
Our immigration laws have, every few decades, changed in ways that helped
and harmed immigrants. I do not expect any difference with Trump --
do not be afraid, this is
And perhaps, on an optimistic note, maybe Trump, like conservative Reagan,
will surprise us all.
The Law Office of Ashkan Yekrangi is based in Irvine, California and serves
the Southern California region. "We are at the forefront of complex,
ever-changing United States immigration laws, bringing you results, rather