Many things have been said about Trump’s Wall: that it is expensive, that it is an insult, that it is unnecessary, all these are true; but, there is something that is attributed to him but that shouldn’t be: that the wall is the most damaging thing for immigrants. In reality, a wall of concrete and steel – even one that is deemed impenetrable – would not cause the damage that is caused by an unknown section of U.S. immigration law.
Section 212(a)(9)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act creates what is known as the “permanent bar” for any individual who was in the United States out of status for more than a year and then departed, or who has been deported from the United States, and then tries to re-enter without inspection (through the border). The problem with this bar is that it never ends; ten, twenty or more years and the punishment remains. Worse still, the famous 245(i) that forgave entry without inspection into the U.S. does not forgive this sanction, that is to say that someone who is inadmissible under 212(a)(9)(C) cannot benefit from 245(i).
The only option that exists at this time for people who have the permanent bar is to depart the United States, spend ten years outside the country without attempting to return, and then after those ten years have passed one can apply for permission to the Department of Homeland Security to return. There is no guarantee for obtaining that permission, which means that one might find oneself in a situation in which one cannot return to the US even though one has spent a decade outside the country.
If this is familiar to you, or a friend or relative – before going to immigration – consult with an attorney to determine whether section 212(a)(9)(C) applies to you or whether there is a way to avoid it. The next time that you feel offended due to the disgusting spectacle that Trump wants to build, remember that there is an invisible wall that causes more damage to immigrants than one that is 2,000 miles long.
A note on Citizenship:
The Trump Administration has initiated a systematic attack on what, until recently, was a sanctuary – citizenship. With intentions that are more political than for the sake of national security, the government has started to create a special “force” within Citizenship and Immigration Services to detect cases of fraud that would allow for the revocation of naturalizations.
This is something that we must observe with a lot of care because in the past this mechanism was used to intimidate political groups, one only has to recall the persecution of communists in the 1950s by Senator McCarthy to understand the current dynamic.
It may be that the racist behavior of Trump’s government is intended to frighten naturalized immigrants into not voting; we cannot allow this. If you feel that you could have problems with your naturalization, call an attorney.