Gurfinkel: what to expect from President Trump’s immigration plan

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News


For many immigrants, President-elect Donald Trump’s earlier campaign promises – from building a great wall along the Mexico-U.S. border, to deporting 11 million or so undocumented immigrants – sent chills down their spines.

Today, some legal permanent residents say they are getting nervous about their future in the U.S., and are rushing to file for citizenship ahead of Trump’s inauguration.

For those who are undocumented, the future looks even more uncertain.

Immigration attorney Michael Gurfinkel explains the situation, and provides practical advice for anxious Filipinos in the U.S. and abroad.

“I think for people who are out of status… about their future in america; they may want to see an attorney because they may have some form of relief available to them. Maybe they have a relative who can petition them. But they don’t know, and will not know what is available to them, unless they seek legal advice.”

The Citizen Pinoy host and attorney also says that Trump’s softening stance on immigration may be good news for some undocumented immigrants.

“I think this is all part of his plan: you take a very extreme position, and therefore, you negotiate towards the middle where you wanted to be in the beginning,” Gurfinkel said. “Where he said 11 million, now he is down to 3 million, deporting the bad people.”

The wall that has gotten 10 feet taller may not be even built at all in certain areas where President-elect Trump says are naturally blocked by mountains or vicious rivers.

Trump also said, his administration will focus on deporting those undocumented with criminal records – about 3 million.

“Which is exactly what Obama is doing now, so, it may not even be a change,” said Gurfinkel. “On the other hand, he is bringing in some very hard liners on immigration. Again, the future is uncertain.”

President Obama brought about DACA after Congress did not pass the Dream Act.

With Obama’s executive actions on immigration on the chopping block in a trump immigration plan.

Atty. Gurfinkel proposes for the Trump administration to convert DACA into a full blown Dream Act. Instead of executive action, Gurfinkel says, Trump may be more open to legislations or laws passed by Congress.

Under a Trump administration, he adds, DACA eligibility may not be withdrawn or revoked. Instead, it will not be renewed by the USCIS, after their DACA eligibility expires.

Republicans have long proposed for undocumented immigrants to be deported back to their home countries, where they say they can apply for re-entry to the US legally.

But the problem is for anyone deported for being undocumented – they will be  barred from re-entering the US, due to a 10-year ban clause.

Gurfinkel proposes Trump to remove the ban for those who overstayed their visas, and to instead revive the 245-I program – a law that expired on April 30, 2001.

“It allowed certain tago ng tago to apply for their green card in the U.S. upon paying a thousand dollar fine,” he explained. “Raise the fine to $5,000, but let these people get their [papers] in the U.S., versus going back to their home countries.”

Gurfinkel’s ultimate advice is to seek legal counsel only from qualified experts, like an immigration attorney, and not from notarios or fake immigration consultants who may wind up hurting the case, more than helping it.


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  • h
    14 December 2016 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Yes you all that is illegal in America better watch-out because the FBI and maybe the army will pick you all up and take you down to the airport and deport all of you out of America. Good that’s what happen when your in my country illegal. Good bye and come back to America the right way.