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US Green Card doesn't assure permanent residency; you can still be deported

Even documented immigrants may be deported if they misuse state schemes that provide them public benefits; they can be expelled if they've been outside US for over 180 days without special permission

Ajay Sharma 

Green card

With coming to power in the United States, things have become harder for those seeking to move permanently to the US, and even for those living in there with a valid Permanent Resident Visa.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will make the Department of Homeland Security's controls tighter on immigrants, in the process affecting not only unlisted outsiders, but lawful immigrants as well. The latter stand to lose their immigration welfare and status.

In the Trump age, a Green Card is no more a guarantee that an immigrant will not be exiled from the country. As per the information that we have on the subject, even documented immigrants may be deported in case they infringe the laws of the federal and state schemes, which provide public benefits to immigrants. Whenever you re-enter the country, if a border agent finds that you are inadmissible, you may not be allowed in. Permanent residents who've been outside the US for over 180 days without getting special permission may be inadmissible.

If you have obtained a Green Card through marriage, you may be deported if the marriage is terminated or is found to be a fake. If you enter the US under the business investor visa program, you risk being deported if you do not meet terms of your investment within the stipulated time. As per the latest guidelines implemented by the USCIS, immigrants who misuse any plan involving the reception of public benefits will have to face an immigration court.

Immigrants will be subjected to the removal processes in case there is any proof of scam or deliberate falsification related to any official issue or petition before another administrative organization.

In such situations, the US immigration authorities will have the expanded power to issue Notices to Appear (NTA), for an enlarged number of cases, like fraud, criminal acts, or when a candidate has been deprived of an immigration benefit. NTAs are basically documents that signal the beginning of the expulsion process.

As per the USCIS, the reviewed rule will enable its agents to more refer cases to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency much more easily or issue NTA summonses. The reviewed plan, however, will not affect those under protection through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA).

New Classes for Issuing NTAs

  • When either fake or wrong representation is validated.
  • When immigrants have exploited a few of the public benefits obtainable to them.
  • When immigrants have been blamed or imprisoned of a criminal wrongdoing, even if criminal activity was not the basis for the rejection.
  • The USCIS will have the permission to refer the cases, involving grave criminal activity, to the ICE before adjudication of an immigration benefit request pending before the USCIS, minus slapping an NTA.
  • When the USCIS rejects an Application for Naturalization on good moral character grounds because of a criminal wrongdoing.
  • When, even post the rejection of a petition, a candidate is illegitimately living in the country.

Reacting to the latest rules, some experts have reportedly issued a warning that the legal arrangement for processing the immigration cases, already embarrassingly sluggish, will slow even further as increased number of cases make their way to the immigration courts.

The author is President, Abhinav Outsourcings Pvt Ltd, an immigration & visa consultation consultancy in Delhi

First Published: Sat, November 17 2018. 18:00 IST