Thousands of people from other countries call Utah home. Many have steady jobs and families. They live peaceful lives and contribute to the community. A good number of them are illegal aliens. They are working to get their papers, but the process is slow.
However, changes in the immigration policies are causing fear in many people. Laws that may get them deported are coming together quickly. An immigration attorney here in Utah has to work fast. Here are some changes that should worry you.
End of DACA
People who were able to stay in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program of the Obama administration have much to fear. DACA is in the process of repeal under the new administration.
This means about 800,000 people under DACA have no idea if they can stay in the US once their time runs out. They cannot renew their permits to stay. For many, this means giving up their normal lives and going into hiding. They are so afraid they will not even report crimes.
With the end of DACA, immigration officers have a freer hand. More people face deportation by ICE or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agents sent 3,550 people in the Salt Lake City Area of Responsibility in 2017 back to their own countries. This is double that of 2016.
While some of those do have some type of criminal record, many do not. They pose no threat to public safety. Many have families left behind. Activists say this can have a bad effect on whole families. This is especially true for the children.
In one case, a mother with a good job had to leave four young children behind. There was no one to care for them. They are now in the foster care system.
No funds for sanctuary cities
The government is cracking down on sanctuary cities. These cities refuse to cooperate with ICE in enforcing immigration laws. They keep immigrants by safe from deportation keeping them low profile. For example, city employees and the police cannot ask people about their immigration status.
These cities are now under pressure from the federal government. They will not get federal funding if they do not cooperate with ICE.
Time is running out for illegal aliens. Changes in policy will take effect very soon if they have not already. It is important to find an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.