Editorial: Vulnerable to Fraud

It is incorrect to believe that staying in this country for 10 years and having children who are citizens will qualify you to obtain a green card o or a work permit.
Editorial: Vulnerable to Fraud
Foto: Archivo / Getty Images

The advent of Donald Trump’s government has made undocumented people uneasy and feeling the threat of an aggressive deportation policy. The fear of being separated from their families and losing everything they have worked hard for leads to confusion regarding immigration law and a sense of desperation that begets false hopes, but also to unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of the situation to line their pockets.

That is the case with asylum applications.

In order for these requests to be successful, they must be made within a year of arrival, otherwise they are rejected. Threat of imminent death in the country of origin must be demonstrated, which is not as easy as some may think.

If an asylum petition is denied, the applicant enters a “deportation process,” in which the person will appeal to obtain a “cancellation,” which is rarely granted, save for exceptions in which there is a strong reason, such as disability or a health condition suffered by a third person close to the petitioner. If this is denied as well, deportation is unavoidable.

The long wait associated with this process, which takes several years due to the high number of applications submitted to immigration courts, is often confused with something that does not exist. It is incorrect to believe that staying in this country for 10 years and having children who are citizens will qualify you to obtain a green card o or a work permit.

Some “paperwork-fillers” and lawyers falsely characterize the process of requesting asylum as a sure-fire path to obtaining permanent residency. This is a recourse that delays deportation if a person is already identified by the authorities for expulsion.

For undocumented people who are off the radar of immigration authorities, the process is calamitous. The only thing it does is expose undocumented people to a sure deportation because they are reporting themselves to the authorities, in addition to making them lose thousands of dollars in a process that works against them.

There are lawyers who say that they have to present this option to their clients among other alternatives. Some of them do so without explaining the seriousness of a possible denial or the dangers associated with it, all with the intention of selling a false sense of security.

It is important to be vigilant and not take hasty decisions. It is best to consult with community organizations who offer free counseling on these matters and with the lawyers these groups recommend. Do not set yourself up for an ugly surprise.