Immigrants in the United States who are lawfully seeking new status are feeling anxious over the “Trump Fear,” as the president-elect has vowed to tighten up the border.
Even those who have already applied for permanent residency are looking for ways to speed up the process.
One employee in Downtown L.A.’s jobber market, only identified by his initial A, has also submitted his I-140, which expedites the process of one receiving a green card from six months to just two weeks for a fee of $1,220.
“I doubted Trump’s prospects of winning,” said A. “But it actually happened. I’ll need my green card before he officially takes office in January.”
Working USA, a website sharing employment opportunities for Korean immigrants, has been filled with messages posted by anxious users who are concerned over potential changes under Donald Trump’s regime. Some even fear that renewing a green card or applying for citizenship may now be more difficult.
Some are speculating that Trump’s victory on Nov. 8 has already played a role in slowing down the application process for various immigration statuses.
“It just takes way too long even after the documents are submitted,” said another Korean immigrant who applied for his green card. “I’m worried that Trump winning the election will have an impact on the process.”
In fact, Trump has already appointed Senator Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General. Sessions, who has long been an anti-immigration politician, is adamant that even lawful immigration to the U.S. should be limited. Similarly, Trump has also been advocating limitation on granting work visas (H-1B).
However, immigration lawyers advise that those who are lawfully obtaining their paperwork do not have much to worry, as it is virtually impossible for President-elect Trump to overhaul the immigration policy on his own will.
“There’s not much to worry if you’re already going through the process of obtaining your immigration status through a lawful measure,” said attorney Steve Jang. “It may be that the opportunities in the future could be limited. The screening process could be stricter, so I would advise people to prepare their documents as much as they can.”
Jonathan Park, another Koreatown attorney, said: “Changing the policy of issuing citizenships and green cards requires a collective agreement. It would be better for people to apply for renewal of their work visas or for green cards as soon as they can, as Trump already said that he plans to reform the U.S. immigration policy.”
By Hyoung Jae Kim