These are Filipinos who are living and working in the United States without the required immigration papers, while some have benefitted from President Barack Obama’s DREAM Act — deportation relief measures that protect these young people brought to the United States as kids and have considered America their home.
However, President-elect Trump has vowed to rescind Obama’s executive orders on immigration which may put many of these kababayans at risk of being deported once Trump becomes President on January 20, 2017. These may include those who may have been granted advanced parole so they may be able to leave the U.S. to visit their families back in the Philippines and be able to come back to the United States.
However, immigrant rights advocates, lawyers and universities have warned these undocumented immigrants, particularly the beneficiaries of the DREAM Act, against traveling. They say it is best for them not to leave the U.S., or if they have to and have the advanced parole documents, it would be in their best interests to come back to America BEFORE Trump takes oath as president.
Immigration is a privilege and not a right, and therefore, if the new president chooses to issue an executive order barring these undocumented immigrants from coming back to the U.S., even if they have the advanced parole documents, then they may not be able to enter the country again unless immigration laws and guidelines change.
On a more optimistic note, we have seen how Trump has softened his stance on immigration after he won the election.
Balitang America’s Pinoy Panawagan legal counsel Atty. Lou Tancinco said this may be an indication he will not be deporting the
DREAMers as many fear he would, but he would instead focus on prioritizing the removal of undocumented immigrants with serious criminal convictions.
This segues to a very important reminder to kababayans in America who may have already been granted their green car/permanent resident status. Atty. Lou Tancinco said it may be wise for them to apply for citizenship NOW because having a green card does not protect you from deportation if you are involved and become convicted of a serious crime. There are benefits and protections accorded to naturalized citizens which green card holders do not enjoy.
So what are you waiting for? If you are already eligible to naturalize, give yourself and your family this Christmas gift: apply for U.S. citizenship now!
Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com orhttps://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.