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What proposed changes in immigration law could mean for America

The United States was built on the blood, sweat and tears of those who risked everything to come here. It may be hard to believe that immigration law as we know it only came about around 1965. Since then, many more people have entered this country and prospered, many of them here in New Orleans. The proposed changes to the current system could have prevented around 57 percent of those who entered the country since that time and 2016 from entering the country.

That's somewhere around 23 million people who entered the country via family members, the visa lottery and asylum or refugee status, among other legal avenues to citizenship. That includes millions of people who helped change the culture and makeup of the country. Many of the family members that sponsored those immigrants were permanent residents and not yet U.S. citizens.

The current administration proposes to prevent that as part of its immigration reform, along with eliminating the other avenues of legal entry. If all of the administration's changes occur, it could change the face of the country over the foreseeable future. Even providing an avenue for citizenship to those currently participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) might not keep millions of people from being unable to enter the country legally.

No one knows what will happen with immigration law over the next few months. It is possible that certain doors to citizenship could be closing. Immigration attorneys around the country, including those here in New Orleans, are watching the situation closely. Whatever decisions are made, changes are probably coming, and everyone needs to be ready for them.

Source: Newsweek, "How America Would Look If Trump's Immigration Ban Was in Force Since 1965", David Bier, Feb. 9, 2018

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