Trump travel ban

Trump’s Travel Ban: Should Green Card Holders Worry?

There has been a lot of hysteria over President Trump’s travel ban put into place last week. Although I’m not surprised by his decision, I find it premature on so many levels. Obviously it’s no coincidence that all of the countries on the banned list have one thing in common: they are all Muslim in faith. This craziness has also affected my own family in Canada.

My mother called me to tell me how worried she was that I would be deported because of my country of birth. I was born in Somalia and left at a very young age to immigrate to Canada. So since I’m a Canadian citizen but also a Somali citizen by birth does this mean that I could be deported? I highly doubt it. Trump has banned refugees and citizens from the 7 countries below from entering the United States for 120 days.

  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Syria*
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Yemen
  • Somalia

* Syria is under an indefinite ban.

Should green card holders worry about this new executive order signed by President Trump? Maybe. I would suggest you not make any travel plans abroad if you hold a passport from any of the listed countries. I’m not really sure what will happen after the 120 days are up but it will likely be something controversial. If President Trump is known for anything its his love of controversy and attention. Well, Mr. President, you have the whole world paying attention now.

Your Rights As A Green Card Holder

As a legal permanent resident of the United States, you do have rights. It’s important to know your rights and stay up to date on any legal changes that may affect these rights. Remember, being ignorant of your rights as a green card holder is just as bad as someone taking away your rights.

  • Live in the United States. As long as you don’t commit any offenses that would make you removable under U.S. immigration law. In short, as long as you abide by the law, your residency is guaranteed.
  • Work in the United States. In any legal employment that you choose. However, some jobs (generally, government positions in defense and homeland security) are restricted to U.S. citizens only for security reasons. You also can’t run for elected office, so you won’t be able to earn a living in public service (not always a bad thing).
  • Travel freely around the United States. You can leave and then reenter the country as you please. However, there are some restrictions on prolonged stays outside the country. But the new travel ban could make this more difficult.
  • Protection under U.S. Law: Depending on your state of residence and your local jurisdictions. In general, all the safeguards and legal avenues available to U.S. citizens are also available to permanent residents, and this is true in all states.
  • Apply for relative visas: If your husband or wife and unmarried children live abroad, you have the right to apply for them to live with you. See CR1 visa guide.
  • Own property or buy firearms: As long as there are no state or local ordinance prohibiting it.
  • Attend public school and college, or join some branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Apply for a driver’s license: Even the most restrictive states for immigrants allow green-card holders to have a state license.
  • Apply and receive benefits: Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Medicare benefits if you are eligible.

Memorize these rights so that you know what you are entitled to. If anyone says otherwise, you will quickly be able to refute their claims. You may even want to print this article and save the list above in your wallet. You can’t be too prepared in these trying times, right?

Applying For Citizenship If Eligible

There is one way to guarantee reentry into the United States after traveling abroad: U.S. citizenship. Remember all those news stories that talked about the flood of green card holders applying for U.S. citizenship after Trump was elected president? It was because they feared what he would do once he was in the white house. I personally didn’t think anything would change drastically but I have to admit, he has got some balls.

Not only is this new executive order going to turn the world against him but it makes America look like this anti-Muslim backwoods country. This is the 21st century and everyone should have equal rights under the law. It just doesn’t seem fair that he would ban Muslims and deport people who have valid visa’s before his signature and then allow christian refugees easy access to the United States.

If your eligible to apply for naturalization (U.S. citizenship), apply now. I have a feeling President Trump may try to make it more difficult for permanent residents to apply by extending the time required to hold a green card. I really wouldn’t put it past him. USCIS has recently increased the price for the N-400 naturalization application and they may increase it again next year.

Check out the guide on how to apply for U.S. citizenship.

What To Do If You Are Denied Entry

I watched a few YouTube videos that interview several foreigners that were detained at JFK airport. Since there was no buffer period after he signed the travel ban, there was chaos and confusion at the U.S. airports. This president has no idea how his policies are affecting everyday people and it’s scary. Now the U.S. federal courts is going against what Trump has signed into law by stopping deportations under the travel ban.

If you are denied entry as a green card holder, you will need to seek the help of an experience immigration lawyer. Yes, it will cost you money but what choice do you have? You could sue the U.S. government and see how far you get or you can’t wait overseas until the travel ban is lifted (if ever). If travel wasn’t unpleasant enough, now you have to worry about laws changing while you are in their air.

Personally, I’m not too worried about Trump going after green card holders that are already in the U.S. but I would caution leaving if you are also a dual citizen of these 7 countries. Forget about inviting your family to visit you on a visitor visa – that is very unlikely to happen. Let’s hope that the people around Trump can persuade him to use good judgement before this country begins to resemble Hitler’s Germany.

Using laws to discriminate against a class of people based on their religion or ethnicity is wrong. You’d think we have learned from the holocaust but humans tend to have short term memory of about 20 years. I truly hope that I won’t see another tragedy like that in my lifetime.

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