Tennessee residents are likely aware that several thousand immigrants from Central America have gathered at the Mexican border. President Trump vowed to prevent the immigrants from entering the United States illegally and has taken steps to prevent them from making asylum claims if they do. The president says that strong measures are necessary to secure the southern border and deter further migrants from making the dangerous journey north, but advocacy groups like Human Rights First say that his policies are placing people who are fleeing violence and poverty in danger.
Tennessee residents may have heard that President Donald Trump wanted to issue a ban on asylum applications from immigrants who cross the southern border illegally. However, as soon as an order was made to issue such a ban, a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). A restraining order was issued on Nov. 19 by a judge who heard arguments in the case in San Francisco.
Tennessee residents have likely heard of the migrant caravan traveling through Mexico. While some may have dreams of reaching the United States, the Trump administration has said that it wants to stop the asylum process to prevent this from happening. However, this process is enshrined in both American and international law. The United States immigration laws are entrenched in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and its subsequent revisions, outlining the asylum process. The U.S. is also party to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention.
For many Tennessee employers and skilled workers, the H-1B visa can be essential. This visa allows professionals to work in the United States when they are sponsored by an employer. The employer handles the visa paperwork and extension applications. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' policy is making the process difficult and unpredictable for employers and skilled workers alike. Companies have reported increasing numbers of problems with visa approvals and the length of extensions.
Some immigrants who are living in Tennessee may be reluctant to seek out government programs they are entitled to in the wake of a Trump administration announcement that green cards will be limited based on what benefits immigrants received. Attorneys report that they are counseling worried immigrants who are considering not applying for or pulling out of programs they are entitled to, and in some cases, those actions put the health and well-being of them and their families at risk.
Tennessee residents may be aware that President Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy has been challenged in court by attorneys representing immigrant families separated at the Mexican border and advocacy groups. In July, a federal judge in California ordered the administration to reunite the separated families and asked the attorneys involved to develop a plan to deal with their asylum claims.
Immigrant families in Tennessee may be concerned about reports that the Trump administration plans to avoid a longstanding agreement in federal courts that oversees the treatment of children in immigration detention. The administration said in September 2018 that it plans to detain families for longer periods of time in an attempt to deter undocumented migrants from crossing the southern border. New proposed regulations from the Department of Homeland Security eliminate the existing Flores agreement, which mandates that children should be held in the least restrictive setting.
Legal immigrants in Tennessee with green cards may be concerned about reports of the Trump administration's immigration crackdown. While many people think that only undocumented immigrants are being arrested and slated for deportation, even legal immigrants and green card holders are being targeted for potential deportation on the basis of old criminal convictions. Further actions from the administration could threaten permanent residents who have used transit subsidies, Medicaid and other forms of social assistance.
There is a misconception that the U.S. Constitution applies only to U.S. citizens. Some passages and phrases in our laws explicitly state only "citizens" are afforded certain rights, such as the right to vote. When the terms "resident" or "person" is used instead of citizen, the rights and privileges afforded are extended to protect citizens and non-citizens alike. Moreover, protections under the 14th Amendment ensure that no particular group is discriminated against unlawfully.
Immigration has become a hot button issue in Tennessee and the rest of the country. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is claiming that federal immigration agencies are coordinating efforts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to facilitate deportations of individuals seeking citizenship through marriage. According to documents related to a class-action lawsuit being filed by the ACLU, officials are setting "traps" that violate the constitutional rights of immigrants attempting to become legal citizens.