THERE are over 11 million undocumented aliens living in the U.S.  There are caravans of thousands of people coming up from Central America, planning to apply for asylum.  If they can make it into the United States, probably tens of thousands of others will follow.

A question constantly on the minds of people living in the shadows is, “Will there be an amnesty?”  Some people who have been living in the U.S. for years, are losing hope, and are about to give up and just go back to the Philippines.

Here are my thoughts and opinion about the likelihood of amnesty.  I want to emphasize this is my personal opinion, and you should not rely on it as an existing fact:

1. Right after he was elected, President Trump signaled his willingness to consider comprehensive immigration reform, and work with the Democrats towards coming up with compromise legislation.  This included a pathway to legalization for millions of DACA recipients and others.  At that same meeting, the Democrats wanted “DACA only” to be considered rather than comprehensive immigration reform.

2. Before President Trump or the Republicans would consider any kind of comprehensive immigration reform or legalization for DACA recipients, he wants to build his wall along the U.S./Mexico border.  President Trump is concerned that if amnesty or comprehensive immigration reform is offered to those people already in the U.S., millions more will pour in to the U.S.  Therefore, he wants the wall on our southern border first.  Otherwise, no deal.

3. If any legalization will happen, the focus will first be on DACA recipients.  The government would most likely wait several additional years until the DACA recipients are absorbed into our legal system and job market before offering comprehensive immigration reform to other undocumented aliens.

4. If a person loses hope, gives up, and goes back to the Philippines, they could lose all chances of being eligible for any amnesty.  What if they go home and a few months after they leave, amnesty is granted?  Since they left the U.S., they would not be eligible.

Although we are all hoping and praying for comprehensive immigration reform, many people may be eligible for immigration benefits right now, without having to wait for amnesty.  There are many existing immigration benefits and programs for which they may be eligible, whether through section 245(i), provisional waiver, or other existing immigration avenues.  That is why it could be helpful for people to consult with an immigration attorney, as they may be eligible for immigration benefits right now, without having to wait for amnesty.

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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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Atty. Michael Gurfinkel
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