DACA Deal May Depend on Funding for Border Wall

the border of America, immigrationWhile a bipartisan agreement was reached on immigration, President Trump opposed it and countered with a demand of $25 billion to pay for his border wall along with other concessions such as an end to the diversity lottery and family-based immigration. Both the left and the right are opposed to Trump’s immigration plan, but it is unclear whether they will be able to pass a DACA bill with a veto-proof majority in the Senate. Trump announced an end to DACA in Sept. 2017, giving six months for legislators to come up with a replacement program. The deadline expires on March 5, and the fate of current recipients of DACA remains unclear. An immigration lawyer in Chicago might help clients to identify alternatives to DACA so that the recipients can remain in Illinois.

Trump Leaves DACA Recipients Worried

Trump ended DACA in Sept. and said that it would be up to Congress to come up with a deal to save the program. He gave a deadline of March 5, and he initially said that he would sign any immigration deal that he was presented. However, after six senators presented him with a bipartisan deal, Trump denied it. He instead returned with his own immigration plan.

Under his plan, 1.8 million DACA recipients and people who are eligible for DACA would be able to stay in the U.S. and would eventually be eligible for citizenship. However, he demanded $25 billion to fund his border wall in exchange. He also called for an end to the diversity lottery program through which people from under-represented countries are able to immigrate to the U.S. each year. Trump also demanded an end to family-based immigration, which he refers to as “chain migration.”

Democrats do not support Trump’s proposal because of the wall and the end of other immigration programs. Republicans do not support it because of the demand for $25 billion in funds. While legislators in the House and the Senate continue to work on bipartisan immigration bills, Trump is unlikely to sign them without his demands being met. The Senate would need to have a veto-proof majority, or the DACA recipients may lose their jobs and homes and face deportation to countries that they don’t know.

Harsh Immigration Policies Are Toxic for Kids

closeup of a boy, immigration attorneySince Trump’s election, school children in Illinois and across the U.S. have felt emboldened to parrot some of the President’s anti-immigrant rhetoric to taunt other children. Schools have reported a substantial uptick in openly racist behavior, and some parents have simply explained away the behavior of their children as expressions of their political views. The racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that has entered the mainstream recently has no place in American schools.

Harsh Immigration Stance Leads to Bullying

Trump is infamous for his many statements about Mexicans, African-Americans, and immigrants in general. Some children have mimicked his statements and used them as insults to hurl against children of color in their schools. School districts across the country have reported significant increases in racist behavior, and they are struggling to tamp it down. Racist epithets have been spray painted on walls, students have chanted “Build that wall!” at Latino classmates, and children have been told by their white classmates to go back to Mexico, Africa or elsewhere. Teachers, principals, and superintendents have sent district-wide messages that such bullying will not be tolerated, but it has persisted in both public and private schools across the nation.

Children Worry About Deportation

Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration is toxic to kids in other ways as well. Children of undocumented immigrants across the country worry about their parents and other loved ones being deported. Many of these children are U.S. citizens who are worried about losing their parents or getting forced to move to countries with which they are unfamiliar because of the discontinuation of many programs and new immigration policies. Hundreds of thousands of people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti all face an end to their temporary protected status in 2019 even though they have lived and worked in the country for up to 20 years. Many of these recipients have had children since coming to the U.S. and face tough decisions about whether to move their children back to their nations of origin or to leave them behind in the U.S. under the care of guardians.

The anti-immigration rhetoric and racism are bad for both children and society itself. Parents should talk to their children and teach them that being American means embracing people regardless of their color, immigration statuses or race.

The End of TPS: You May Still Have Options

two dummies with an option, immigration attorneyThe Trump administration has announced the end of temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of people, but other options may be available to enable the affected immigrants to stay in the U.S. Illinois immigrants who are losing TPS may be able to file for adjustments of status, apply for permanent residence on the basis of being victims of certain types of crime or seek asylum. A Chicago immigration lawyer might identify options that are the likeliest to succeed so that people might be able to remain in the U.S.

End of TPS

Temporary protected status is a program that was signed into law in 1990 by President Bush. The program allows people to stay in the U.S. when the situations in their home countries are too precarious for them to return. Some of the groups that had this status include people from Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Trump administration has announced an end of TPS for immigrants from all three of these countries, affecting several hundred thousand people. In addition, the TPS of Hondurans was extended only until July 5, 2018, meaning that their status may also be terminated.

Other Options

In Illinois, there are 1,300 Salvadorans with TPS who contribute $69.3 million each year to the state’s gross domestic product. These immigrants have had 1,000 children who were born in the U.S. The parents may be able to apply for adjustments of status based on their family relationships to their U.S. born children if their children are 21 years old or older. Immigrants with TPS who are married to U.S. citizens may similarly apply for adjustments of status. Certain categories of highly skilled workers may also be eligible to apply for adjustments of status based on their employment or their investment.

In addition, people may apply for green cards if they have been the victims of domestic violence or of human trafficking. This will require them to cooperate with law enforcement and the prosecution. If people can show that they would be in imminent danger because of their religion, status, membership in a particular group or politics, they may be eligible to apply for asylum. All of these are potential options that might allow people losing TPS to stay in the U.S.

How Immigrants Made Chicago Great

Chicago city view, immigration lawyer chicagoDespite the administration’s arguments to the contrary, immigrants have contributed a great deal to the economy and to the success of Chicago itself. In Illinois, one out of every seven people are immigrants, and one out of every eight have at least one parent who was an immigrant. In the metropolitan area of Chicago, 20 percent of all of the businesses are owned by immigrants. Immigrants in Chicago pay taxes, own businesses, employ other people and play important parts in the social and cultural fabric of the city. The state and the city would both suffer significant economic harm if the administration’s hard-line immigration approach is implemented into law.

Immigrants Have Made Positive Contributions in Illinois

Legal immigration is beneficial to everyone who lives and works in Illinois. There are 1.8 million immigrants currently living in the state. Between 2010 and 2014, about 9,694 people immigrated to Illinois. In 2014, businesses that were owned by immigrants in Illinois generated $2.6 billion in income, and 113,939 immigrants are self-employed. These immigrant-owned businesses provide jobs for 281,090 people in Illinois. Among Fortune 500 companies in Illinois, 56 percent were founded by immigrants or by the children of immigrants.

Households headed by immigrants earned $55 billion in 2014, and immigrants in Illinois contributed almost $7 billion to Medicare and Social Security. They also paid $5.2 billion in state taxes and $9.8 billion in federal taxes. About 45.5 percent of native-born Illinoisans worked in 2014, compared with 61.3 percent of immigrants who worked. In 2010, immigrants were responsible for creating or saving 81,000 jobs in manufacturing.

Immigrants make up 17.7 percent of the state’s population but make up 37.7 percent of the people who work as software developers. In the packaging and packing industry, immigrants make up 51 percent of the workers. In 2014, there were far more STEM jobs available in Illinois than there were workers to fill them. Approximately 144,608 jobs in STEM fields were advertised and only 11,165 STEM workers were unemployed. In the Illinois STEM field in 2014, 23.2 percent of all workers were immigrants.

Trump’s Immigration Reform: Assault on America’s Future

portrait of Donald Trump, immigration attorneyThe economy in Illinois and in the rest of the U.S. is likely to take a major hit if Trump’s immigration plans are put into effect. Economists on both the left and the right agree that robust immigration offers a net benefit to the nation. Despite this, the Trump administration has taken a hardline stance towards immigration. This could result in a reduction in the available labor force and a slowing economy. As the Trump administration moves to limit immigration and to deport more people, businesses may become less competitive and be unable to find enough workers to fill their available positions.

Impacts of Trump’s Plans

Immigration helps to drive the growth of the labor force and is a source of that growth. If Trump proceeds with deporting the Dreamers, the Cato Institute reports that it will cost the U.S. $60 billion. Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen states that immigration restrictions will lead to a further slowing in the growth of the labor force. She indicates that slow labor-force growth results in an economy that also grows more slowly. The Center for American Progress reports that implementing Trump’s policy of mass deportation would result in an immediate reduction in the gross domestic product of 1.4 percent. CAP also reports that the U.S. would lose an estimated $4.7 trillion in the GDP that it would have otherwise enjoyed in the absence of mass deportation.

Deporting immigrants en masse would also mean that there are fewer businesses in the nation. Immigrants are far likelier to start their own businesses than U.S. citizens. A study that was completed in 2012 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that 49.3 percent of the new startups in Silicon Valley were started by immigrants. Across the nation, immigrants are responsible for 24.3 percent of all new startup companies.

Harming Constituents

Trump’s immigration policies are likeliest to harm communities that are located in economically depressed areas. The farming and manufacturing sectors stand to take big hits if the hardline immigration policies are implemented. Other sectors that stand to lose include the service and retail sectors. The technology industry relies on immigrants to fill positions. Congress should take the economic impacts under advisement and act accordingly to protect immigration and the economy.