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Possible changes ahead to immigration policies

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Immigrants in Maryland might be concerned about news concerning more than 600 immigrants being detained in five cities throughout the country. According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's actions were routine and aimed at people in gangs, with criminal records and who had previous immigration violations. However, both immigrants and those who employ them have expressed concern about what appears to be increasing enforcement.

President Donald Trump's Executive Order has prioritized the deportation of most immigrants who are in the country illegally and also proposes withholding federal funding from sanctuary cities. Boston and San Francisco, both sanctuary cities, have responded with a lawsuit, and three senators have introduced a bill that will nullify the order. There is concern that the Order will damage community policing and discourage people from coming forward with information about crimes because they are worried about their immigration status.

According to Kelly, 75 percent of the people detained were criminals. On Feb. 17, he signed a memorandum relating to the use of state employees and officers to act as immigration officers. However, the administration has denied reports that there are plans to use the National Guard to enforce immigration laws or for detainment.

People who are seeking asylum or are concerned about deportation might want to discuss the situation with an attorney. The law is complex and constantly changing, so individuals may want to find out whether their statuses or those of their family members have been amended. Some organizations may file lawsuits that could halt new policies, or representatives like these senators might introduce additional legislation that could change laws. A lawyer may be able to keep individuals abreast of these changes and determine if they pertain to their situations.

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