The winds of change are blowing and no one knows what changes they will kick up as legislators across the country debate immigration reform. Caught up in the heated discussions are the futures of millions of legal permanent residents and dual citizens who are unsure how the changes will affect them and their families.
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Green Card Holders
President Trump’s January immigration ban applied to more than 500,000 green card holders. While the Executive Order did not remove their legal permanent residence status in the US, it did mean they would not be able to reenter the country after travels abroad. According to representatives from the USCIS, they considered these individuals on a “case by case” basis.
Currently, there is no limit on the number of green cards that can be issued. However, President Trump has signaled that he will push to limit the number of green cards and H-1B visas issued in order to protect American jobs.
While DHS and other agencies diligently track immigration status and movement data, they don’t track how many American citizens hold dual citizenship. At the low end, it is estimated to be around 500,000, while at the high end it is estimated to be more than 5 million. The reason is that the US does not formally recognize dual citizenship. That may change as legislators face pressure to crack down on those who use their dual citizenship as a method of reducing their tax burden or to avoid business regulations and legal obligations.
What is known is that President Trump’s January Executive Order banning immigrants from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen applied to individuals who hold dual citizenship with these countries. However, it did not apply to those who also hold US citizenship in addition to one of the seven banned countries.
The Legal Challenges Ahead
The Trump administration has made it clear that they are going to push for heavy reforms of the US immigration system. These reforms will affect the 11 million undocumented aliens as well as the millions of individuals who hold green cards are are working in the US under the various visa programs. These changes are being challenged in courts and legislatures across the country. For this reason, those who are within the US, or are considering immigrating to the US in the coming year should work closely with an immigration attorney in Chicago to ensure that their application and documentation is in order.