Immigration issues were front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign. They've become increasingly divisive, with the rhetoric more heated than ever, under the Trump administration.
Undocumented immigrants who benefited from President Obama's policies are now facing a reversal of many of those policies under President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. These reversals have understandably caused fear and confusion.
Among those undocumented immigrants concerned about their future here in the U.S. are those who chose to have their cases closed in exchange for being able to remain in the country, albeit without legal status. They did this rather than accept the second option of proceeding with their court case in an effort to gain legal status and going up against prosecutors arguing for their deportation.
Some 350,000 cases were closed in this manner. Therefore, this policy helped relieve the considerable backlog of cases so that immigration courts and prosecutors could focus on undocumented immigrants who had committed serious crimes here.
Attorney General Sessions, however, believes that immigration judges who closed these cases didn't have the authority to do so without issuing a ruling. So what happens to these many thousands of undocumented immigrants who were told that they were safe from deportation?
The good news is that the resources don't exist to reopen every case. However, any of the people who took this "plea bargain" of sorts rather than fight for legal status could find themselves once again facing potential deportation. Immigration advocates are concerned that with so many potential cases subject to reopening, judges won't have time to give each one the consideration it deserves.
If you or a loved one is in this situation, it's wise to speak to a Maryland immigration attorney. He or she can provide valuable guidance about your options so that you can make the decision that's best for you and your family.