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stop signThis entire week has been an series of ups and downs in the immigration world.  With the signature of multiple executive orders, President Trump has managed to turn U.S. immigration law, policy, and practice on its head in the very first week he has been in office.  The early results of his travel ban are in, and they do not look good.

Quick Recap: President Trump’s Travel Ban

As reported earlier this week, one of the President’s executive orders ban the admission of foreign nationals into the U.S. if they are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, or Yemen.  Additionally, U.S. consulates have been instructed to refuse to issue visas to nationals of these countries.  Supposedly, this ban will be temporary and last 90 days, but there is no way of knowing whether the President will decide to extend it, or if he will choose to add more countries to the list.

Result #1:  More than 100,000 visas have been revoked

According to the Department of Justice, more than 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of the travel ban involving the aforementioned seven countries.  This statistic was revealed in a federal courtroom in Virginia, where a judge granted the commonwealth’s motion to join one of the many lawsuits that have been filed that seek to challenge the implementation of the travel ban.

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1342516_flag.jpgLocated in the Upper New York Bay, Ellis Island served as the immigration gateway for an estimated 12 million foreign nationals from 1892 to 1954. Once the immigration center closed in 1954, Ellis Island became a popular tourist attraction for Americans who wish to visit the island and trace their heritage to their families’ beginnings in the United States. To facilitate tourists’ ability to look up their ancestry, Ellis Island maintains copious records and the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. Next month, the museum will open two new galleries, the contents of which will pick up the island’s story from its closure as a port in 1954 and bring it into the present.

The New Museum Galleries

The main purpose of the new exhibits is to celebrate the country’s rich history of welcoming foreign nationals and encouraging their naturalization. However, the galleries will also serve to highlight a number of criticisms of the advent of the nation’s more restrictive immigration policies. For example, an exhibit entitled “Feet People” will explain to visitors that up until approximately 50 years ago, Mexican workers were able to routinely and easily cross the border into the United States in order to work in the agricultural and construction industries. However, a half century ago the United States implemented quotas and caps limiting the number of foreign workers who could fill these positions.

Additionally, another exhibit called “Border Patrol” will explain to viewers that in 1993 the federal government began militarizing the United States-Mexico border (a border that stretches more than 2,000 miles) and deporting unauthorized foreign nationals who entered or attempted to enter the country without inspection. The exhibit takes the position that the border fortifications have forced men, women, and children to cross dangerous terrain, including deserts, contaminated water sources, and mountain ranges, in order to come to the United States for employment or to reunite with their families.
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stop-sign-1334670-m.jpgThe U.S. Border Patrol is tasked with performing duties in line with what its name suggests: safeguarding the nation’s borders by preventing terrorists, weapons, and other national security threats from entering the United States. However, recent allegations claim that the Border Patrol (BP) is no longer confining its enforcement and prevention efforts to within its geographic area of authority. Instead, the agency has decided to pursue its duties inside the U.S. and at times, more than 150 miles away from the country’s border.

One Example of Many: The Case of Jaime Zaldana

Jaime Zaldana is one of the recent cases wherein the BP operated 150 miles away from the country’s actual border in order to apprehend Mr. Zaldana and his two co-workers. According to the BP agents’ reports, the agents observed that Mr. Zaldana and his co-workers did not make eye contact with the agents when they drove past them. This failure to acknowledge the agents provided enough suspicion, according to the agents, to pull over Mr. Zaldana and examine his immigration status.

Eventually the U.S. deported Mr. Zaldana, who was an undocumented foreign national. However, the deportation proceedings were not concluded until after the federal government paid $25,000 to settle Mr. Zaldana’s claims that the only reason the BP agents stopped him was on account of his ethnicity and race.
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1342516_flag.jpgU.S. immigration law offers foreign nationals many different opportunities for qualifying for U.S. permanent residence (a green card). For example, a U.S. employer may sponsor a foreign worker for a permanent job position or a U.S. citizen or green card holder may sponsor certain family members.

In addition to these employment-based and family-based opportunities, U.S. law also allows foreign nationals to apply for asylum in this country. Asylum will be granted to foreign nationals if returning to their home country would place them in danger of persecution. Foreign nationals may qualify for asylum if they have a reasonable fear of persecution in their home country based upon their religion, race, political opinion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group.

While many asylum cases involve truly horrific crimes such as government-sponsored torture or civil wars, in 2008, a German family came to the U.S. seeking asylum based upon their credible fear of persecution due to the parents’ desire to home-school their children. Germany banned home-schooling in 1918 and all German children must attend state-recognized primary schools, whether public or private. The penalties for violating this law include hefty fines and the possibility of losing custody of the children.
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You probably have an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pintrest. Perhaps even all four. And who hasn’t watched a video on YouTube? Here are some statistics from Digital Insights that might blow your mind:

• There are more than 1.15 billion Facebook users, 500 million Twitter users, 238 million LinkedIn users.

• 23% of Facebook users check their account more than 5 times a day.