Articles Posted in Customs Enforcement

Today, we are going to talk about a new comedy on NBC called “Sunnyside”!  It stars Kal Penn (the tall guy from the Harold and Kumar movies) as Garrett Modi, a down-on-his-luck former city council member who is booted out of office.  Somehow, he is hired by a motley crew of immigrants to be their “citizenship test tutor.”

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Before we go any further, I know that some of you might be wondering about my qualifications to critique a show about immigrants in Sunnyside, Queens.  Well, I have watched “Coming to America” at least twenty times and 90% of that movie happens in Queens.  (Fun factoid:  Not only is Queens the largest of the five boroughs, it is also the most ethnically diverse.)  Also, when I first moved to New York City, I lived in Woodside, which is two stops away on the illustrious 7 line from Sunnyside.  (I lived near the 61st Street stop, which is an express station.  When I first moved in, I thought “This is great!  I will be in Manhattan in ten minutes!”  Then, during my first week of work, I learned that the express train was very full by the time it reached Woodside.  Which then forced me to discover the benefits of the local.  Like how my commute to work would take an extra 30 minutes.) 

ABOUT THAT CITIZENSHIP TEST

Within his first 100 days in office, President Trump has signed more executive orders than his three most recent predecessors.  For immigrants, the executive order that should cause the highest level of concern was signed on January 25, 2017 and titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”

alessio-lin-167186-300x200Under the previous administration, immigration enforcement was guided by the “Priority Enforcement Program” (PEP), which focused limited resources toward the apprehension and deportation of individuals with convictions involving violence or drugs, individuals who were a security threat, and individuals who had recently entered the United States.  The PEP allowed some discretion towards individuals who had lived in the United States for a long period of time, had extensive family ties, and who did not pose a threat to the community.

The PEP has since been rescinded.  Trump has delineated a new set of enforcement standards.  If one still has doubts about the administration’s plans to make life more difficult for immigrants, all one would need to do is take a look at the whiteboard behind Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon.   An expansive reading of the executive order suggests that all persons who have no legal status inside the United States are subject to deportation.  The executive order targets any individual who might “otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security” (even if not specifically mentioned in the executive order) to be detained by immigration officers.

Business tricks

Business tricks

Over many years of practicing immigration and nationality law, the attorneys at Fong & Aquino have met all kinds of immigration officers and border guards.  These are unique individuals who receive government training to get at and spot what they believe to be the truth.  They are trained to use certain techniques in their interrogations.  Clients at both our Pasadena and Palm Springs offices have asked us about some of these tactics. Even tourist visa and C-visa holders have been interrogated this way.

Make an accusation.  I have often heard clients say that the border guard just barked out, “we know you’re lying!”  They know no such thing.  Border guards love to use this one.  First of all, it insults you, because they are calling you a liar.  Second, it makes you angry, and if you are angry, your judgment is often compromised.  If you are telling the truth — and of course, you should never lie to any government official — then control your anger, look the officer straight in the eye, and say, “I am sorry you feel that way officer, but I am telling you the truth.”  Don’t let them trap you into saying that you are lying.