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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.
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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