What is the status of the immigration refugee program?

Several months ago, our Nashville immigration law firm was featured in the media. Specifically, we offered our opinion regarding the Trump administration’s recent executive orders on immigration, including the travel ban and suspension of the refugee program. Our advice was to not expect a speedy resolution.

As readers may know, federal judges issued temporary restraining orders in January 2017, halting the implementation of the controversial policies. It took until May for the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the case, tasked with determining the constitutionality of shutting down the U.S. refugee program.

The Justice Department claims that the order is a matter of national security and within the president’s power. The opposing argument characterizes the order as religious discrimination against Muslims.

According to the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the refugee program is still in place. An immigrant may qualify for refugee status or asylum if he or she faces persecution based on race, religion, nationality, and/or a specific social or political group. To be eligible, an applicant must provide proof that he or she meets the definition of a refugee. In addition, refugees are usually outside of their country, perhaps already in the United States or seeking admission at a U.S. port of entry.

Yet the charged political environment suggests that changes may be in the wind. Our lawyers work hard to stay on top of the latest immigration laws, seeking out the best options for our clients. If the criteria for refugee status or asylum change, there may other options available. Although the controversial executive orders may seek to alter immigration policies, this is still the law of the land. Consequently, immigrants should seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney when seeking adjustments to their status.

Source: Washington Post, “The federal appeals court that Trump hates the most will now hear arguments on his travel ban,” Matt Zapotosky, May 14, 2017

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