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The Weekly Round-Up: Those Crossing Border to Be Charged with Federal Crimes and Home Care Industry to be Deeply Impacted by Limits on Immigration

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Justice Department to Charge Those Crossing U.S. Border with Federal Crimes

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the federal government would immediately detain individuals crossing the U.S. border without documentation and charge them with crimes in federal court.  Sessions further stated that families would not be spared, indicating that if “you’re smuggling a child, we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law.  If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”  This new directive is in line with the Department of Homeland Security’s “zero tolerance policy” regarding border crossings.

The Trump Administration’s new automatic referral for criminal prosecution is a reversal from a long-standing principal of the federal government to treat immigration violations as civil – and not criminal – matters, and has raised alarms with immigrant rights activists.  Erika Guevara-Rosas, director at Amnesty International’s Americas, stated that, “Criminalizing and stigmatizing parents who are only trying to keep their children from harm and give them a safe upbringing will cause untold damage to thousands of traumatized families who have already given up everything to flee terrible circumstances in their home countries.”  Congressman Bennie Thompson, top Democratic Congressman on the Homeland Security Committee, said the policy’s “inhumane, excessively punitive, and can deliberately interfere with [the] ability to seek asylum.”

Senior Care to Be Substantially Affected by Immigration Crackdown

Approximately one quarter of all home care workers in the United States are immigrants, with a large percentage of these immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America.  President Trump has pledged to crack down on immigration from these regions, as well as deport thousands of individuals to these areas, potentially causing a massive shortage in employment for those providing care for seniors.

As reported in Time Magazine, more than 34,000 home care workers are from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua – all countries which the Trump Administration has stated will lose Temporary Protected Status (TPS) soon, rendering hundreds of thousands of people, who have worked in the United States legally for several years, subject to deportation.  Moreover, 11,000 home care workers come from countries targeted on the Travel Ban list, the validity of which is currently before the United States Supreme Court.  Many more immigrant home care workers have come to the U.S. through family sponsorship, something the president has also promised to limit.

Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy for the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, stated that if “you make it more difficult for people who are already documented to remain in the country, what you’re doing is you’re making it more difficult for families to find workers to care for their loved ones and for employers to find workers to meet all their cases.”  Additionally, Robyn Stone, an executive at LeadingAge, a trade organization for providers of senior care, pointed out that employment is already being lost: “We’ve heard anecdotes among our membership in rural communities that several nursing homes have had to close because they did not have the staff to serve their people.  On the home care side, we’ve seen evidence of families looking for staff and not being able to find them.”

If you are involved with the home care industry and would like to discuss how changes in immigration laws will affect your business or life, please contact an experienced immigration attorney.

If you have questions about topics covered in today’s weekly round-up, or other immigration matters, contact me at wcmenard@nmmlaw.com.