Fear­ing trump poli­cies, foreign dream­ers ad­vised to end travel

‘We wouldn’t want to ex­pose them to an un­cer­tain sit­u­a­tion’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Im­mi­grants who were brought to the US il­le­gally as chil­dren, but were pro­tected from de­por­ta­tion by Pres­i­dent Bar­rack Obama, are be­ing warned by some ad­vo­cates to make sure they are not trav­el­ing abroad when Donald Trump is sworn in as pres­i­dent on Jan 20. Some ad­vo­cates, lawyers and uni­ver­si­ties are con­cerned that Trump might im­me­di­ately re­scind an Obama pro­gram that had al­lowed these young im­mi­grants to work and travel for hu­man­i­tar­ian, ed­u­ca­tional or em­ploy­ment pur­poses. That could lead, they fear, to some peo­ple trav­el­ing abroad be­ing barred from re-en­ter­ing the US.

“We are rec­om­mend­ing all travel be com­pleted by or be­fore Jan 20 in the event laws or pro­ce­dures ex­pe­ri­ence a dras­tic change,” said An­gel­ica Salas, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Coali­tion for Hu­mane Im­mi­grant Rights of Los Angeles. “We wouldn’t want to ex­pose them to an un­cer­tain sit­u­a­tion should they not be al­lowed back to the US.”

Trump made il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion the cor­ner­stone of his cam­paign, promis­ing to build a wall along the Mex­i­can bor­der and de­port mil­lions of peo­ple liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally. His ac­tual plans, though, have yet to be re­vealed. Re­cently, he has said he wants to fo­cus on peo­ple who have com­mit­ted crimes. Dur­ing a re­cent Time magazine in­ter­view, Trump ex­pressed sym­pa­thy for the 741,000 peo­ple in Obama’s De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, which started in 2012.

“We’re go­ing to work some­thing out that’s go­ing to make peo­ple happy and proud,” Trump said. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good stu­dents. Some have won­der­ful jobs. And they’re in never-never land be­cause they don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.” Ad­vo­cates are still be­ing cau­tious.

‘It’s nerve-wrack­ing’

Nancy Lopez-Ramirez, a 20-year-old stu­dent born in Mex­ico who is plan­ning a trip there as part of a City Col­lege of New York class, said she is glad the group is re­turn­ing by Jan 15. “My mom is like ‘I am con­cerned with you not com­ing back, I want you to be able to come back,’” she said. “It is nerve-wrack­ing but I think that at the end it is go­ing to be worth it,” said the po­lit­i­cal-sci­ence stu­dent, who was brought to the US when she was 4.

City Col­lege, part of the City Univer­sity of New York, is one of the in­sti­tu­tions ad­vis­ing stu­dents in the DACA pro­gram to return be­fore Inau­gu­ra­tion Day. So is Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity, which told ad­min­is­tra­tors to tell par­tic­i­pants in the pro­gram “that if they are out­side of the United States as of Jan­uary 20, 2017, there is no as­sur­ance they will be al­lowed to return to the US.” Trump can re­scind the promised pro­tec­tion right away through an “op­er­a­tional memo” be­cause Obama im­ple­mented it through one, said Wil­liam Stock, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion. He said the pro­gram’s par­tic­i­pants should not con­sider trav­el­ing over­seas un­less they ab­so­lutely need to.

US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion spokesman An­thony Bucci said his agency “can­not spec­u­late” when he was asked how long would it take for CBP of­fi­cers to deny en­try to the U.S. to pro­gram par­tic­i­pants if Trump elim­i­nated the pro­tec­tion. US Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices records said that as of Dec. 31, 2015, about 22,340 peo­ple in the DACA pro­gram were ap­proved for the “pa­role” that al­lows them to travel out­side the US. Trump called the pro­gram an “il­le­gal amnesty” dur­ing his cam­paign. Tatyana Kleyn, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at City Col­lege who or­ga­nized the up­com­ing Mex­ico trip, said in­ter­est in it ac­tu­ally surged among stu­dents af­ter the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. “So right now our bus fits 18 and we are bring­ing 20,” she said. “It feels like a last chance.”

— AP

SAN FRAN­CISCO: In this Thurs­day, Nov 10, 2016, file photo, high school stu­dents protest in op­po­si­tion of Donald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion vic­tory.

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