What’s My Status? Immigration Lawyers Bombarded With Questions Following Trump Win

One of the big promises of president-elect Donald Trump is his immigration policy of building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Early in his campaign, in 2015, Trump announced that he would deport all of the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US by creating a "deportation task force" within Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He later altered his plan and said he would be "focused on identifying and quickly removing the most dangerous criminal illegal aliens in America." He said he would boost the ranks of agents to enforce existing laws. Trump has said he is against any amnesty for the undocumented.

Because Trump’s position has evolved so many times, there is a large section of the population who are concerned they’ll be sent back to their home countries once he takes office.

Immigration attorneys nationwide report being bombarded with phone calls and emails from current and potential new clients concerned about their current and future status.

Eye Opener TV spoke with one of those immigration attorneys, Ann Massey Badmus.

“[People] are pretty much saying, ‘I’m scared,’” Badmus said.

She said clients have two main question:  What they can do, and what can they expect?

“And my answers are, ‘We’ll have to wait and see,’” Badmus said.

Badmus doubled down on her statement, saying that this really is a waiting game. There are no specific steps she can give clients until Trump formally takes office and she sees what types of policies he actually puts in place.

She added that those currently in the immigration process "should be okay."  She said it takes a long time for any meaningful change to go into effect.

Immigrant Databases

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is joining the fight, and isn’t planning on making things easy for Trump in his city.

It was recently revealed that New York City keeps a database containing the identity of undocumented immigrants living in the city. De Blasio says the information would not be opened up to a Trump administration without a "real fight.”

The mayor also left open the possibility that the database, which holds personal information from the more than 850,000 New Yorkers who have a city municipal identification card, could be scrubbed.

The IDNYC card was introduced in 2015 as a free and official proof of identification that could be obtained with limited documentation -- making it accessible to the nearly half million city residents without legal immigration status.

The personal information of cardholders, including addresses and dates of birth, is stored on encrypted databases and servers, according to the city. It cannot be disclosed to federal law enforcement or immigration authorities without permission from the city's human resources administration. Applicants do not have to disclose their immigration status to receive a card.

Trump has not inquired into the city's database publicly, but his statements throughout the campaign have made many fearful that he will act on his words.
"[Trump] can change some federal laws but the Constitution protects a lot of the rights and powers of localities," de Blasio said.

"So on something like [the database], I think because it touches that button directly of whether people's personal privacy is going to be respected, I think that's one where there would be a real fight."

A provision of the ID law that allows the personal information retained in the database to be "destroyed" by the end of the year -- a deadline included intentionally in case a "Tea Party Republican" won the White House, according to one of the law's sponsors -- could also be enacted, de Blasio said.

"As you know there's been an ongoing plan regardless of any electoral activity how long records are kept. Given this new reality we're certainly going to assess how we should handle it," he said.

New York's status as a so-called sanctuary city, which allows it in some cases to shield undocumented immigrants who have broken the law from deportation requests, could also be affected if Trump follows through on his campaign promise to block funding for cities with the policy.

Asked about the possibility, de Blasio said "We're not going to tear families apart. So we will do everything we know how to do to resist that."