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South Fla Immigration Lawyers Advice Patience But Anxiety Persists Among Those Waiting For Papers

A new citizen holds a package of documents during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony on the campus of Florida International University, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Miami.
Associated Press
A new citizen holds a package of documents during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony on the campus of Florida International University, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Miami.

When it comes to fear of being deported, immigration attorney Mayra Joli, gives her clients a checklist: Do they have an order of removal? Have they committed any crimes? Are they working on their case?

“If your answers are two no’s and one yes, you have nothing to worry about,” Joli says. “Just go back to sleep. And let me sleep.”

But concerns have risen since the Trump administration released more plans to crack down on illegal immigration this week, in a move that includes adding thousands of enforcement agents and border patrol officers, as well as setting up more detention centers and immigration courts.

Joli says this can benefit law-abiding non-citizens.

“We are American, we want immigrants, but we need to have it in an orderly fashion,” Joli said. “If not, we’re never going to be able to see the purity of the immigrants who are coming to the U.S. to work.”

But not everyone agrees with Joli. Instead, some say the new rules are concerning. 

Kiwami Livinston is a green card holder who lives in Brickell. He was visiting Puerto Rico when we interviewed him.

“The green card seems to have been downgraded in the last couple of weeks. I travel pretty often, as you can kind of see on my social media, but I am pretty scared to leave the country,” Livinston said. “I’m not going anywhere until I get my U.S. passport.”

Livenston’s home country is Jamaica, but he has lived in the U.S. for most of his life.

Jennifer Barreto-Leyva, from Miramar, is a Latin-American writer, lawyer and plus-size super model. She said she’s seen her family from Venezuela go through the process of becoming legal citizens.

But her sister was less successful. She’s in the states temporarily for work, under the right to asylum.

“It’s not a secret what’s going on in my country Venezuela. My sister’s safety was in danger,” Barreto-Leyva said. “It’s been stressful because there’s no such thing as a safe place for someone with political asylum.”

Under Trump’s new set of immigration rules, anyone who has a criminal history may be subject to deportation.

This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their insights with the Miami Herald and WLRN. Become a source here

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Amanda Rabines is a senior at Florida International University pursuing a degree in Journalism and a minor in Digital Media. She is expecting to graduate in Fall 2016 but her curious nature makes her an eternal student at heart. In 2013, she spent a year volunteering every Wednesday at Radio Lollipop, a radio station at Miami Children’s Hospital, where she helped broadcast shows, create events and design crafts for children while simultaneously interacting with patients and families. The experience taught her how to talk to family members who were going through tough medical circumstances. That was the year Amanda had to learn how to be a great listener and emotionally stronger, two traits she now carries as an aspiring journalist. Amanda was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and is a strong activist for feminism. Some women who inspire her include leaders like Maya Angelou and her mother, a dental hygienist for Sunset Dentistry, who came to Miami from Cuba when she was 11 years old. Her mother endured leaving her home country, and has worked since she was 15. It’s because of her that Amanda believes in hard work and the power of Cuban coffee. Amanda has written content, shot photos and has produced videos that have been published in the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel.
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