PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Bay area immigration attorney Daniela Carrion says her phone has been ringing off the hook ever since President Donald Trump was elected.
“People are scared,” says Carrion, who is doing her best to field questions from undocumented immigrants worried about what President Trump’s new executive orders will mean for them.
“The ambiguity on a lot of the text is very difficult to understand, even for us as immigration attorneys.”
Two separate orders signed by the president Wednesday deal with immigration. The first authorizes the building of the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Read the entire executive order here.
“I don’t think there’s going to be one of my clients that thinks a wall is going to stop anyone from coming in,” says Carrion. That’s because she says very few of her clients actually try to sneak across the border, instead entering the country legally on work visas that eventually expire.
Others travel to the U.S. seeking asylum.
“A lot of the people we’re taking in, we’re opening the doors to them," Carrion says.
The second order gives local law enforcement new authority to enforce immigration laws. Read the entire executive order here.
Carrion says this order will likely be significant.
“I think it’s pretty realistic to say that in the next year we’re going to see a bigger amount of deportations. A lot of people are going to get removed.”
But Carrion says that order might not be all bad news for immigrants. She says additional resources and the hiring of new immigration judges could actually help those often stuck in the system for years.
“Right now the immigration courts are so backlogged, the idea of a quick proceeding is unheard of,” she says.
And for those who are undocumented, Carrion offers this advice:
“This is not the time to panic. This is not the time to not let your children go to school because you have fear that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) may come to their schools. I would say continue on with your daily lives and please seek counsel from a qualified immigration attorney.”