Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver. We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
1. Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly recommend carrying with you your US passport, or passport card, or a photocopy of your naturalization certificate. Because of the unpredictability of the current situation, we recommend keeping a photocopy of these documents in a safe place at your home, so that if necessary, someone will have access to it. You may very well need to prove your US Citizenship.
2. Permanent residents. Most people don't know this, but federal law requires that anyone who is NOT a US Citizen is required to carry with them at all times, evidence of their lawful status. You can see that for yourself at 8 USC 1304(e). So, carry your green card with you at all times! You should also keep a photocopy of your green card in a safe place at home so that it can be accessed by someone in case you lose your card and you need it to identify yourself. Don't forget about that 100 mile constitution free zone! You should also renew your green card a full 6 months before expiration. Don't wait! If your green card has expired, renew it now. And, if it is not obvious at this point, you should start the process to naturalize immediately!