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Trump immigration ban brings fear to those with pending applications for residency

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 25, 2017

By Jim Camden and Rachel Alexander The Spokesman-Review

The expected ban on people from several countries from entering the United States for a period of time is causing uncertainty and fear among people who have pending immigration applications for residency or legal status.

President Donald Trump’s proposed order, which was reported by several media outlets on Wednesday, would ban people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States and halt all refugee admissions for several months.

World Relief resettled 597 refugees in Spokane last year. Iraq, Syria and Somalia were among the top countries of origin, with 106, 64 and 48 refugees, respectively. Bans on admissions from those countries could cut resettlement numbers significantly.

Greg Cunningham, senior paralegal for Quiroga Law Office, an immigration firm in Spokane Valley, said green cards and naturalization are largely governed by laws, so Trump won’t be able to make sweeping changes alone.

“There shouldn’t be any impact because of Trump’s presidency” on pending cases, he said.

But Trump has promised to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by President Barack Obama via executive order. That program grants immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children protection from deportation and permission to work or attend school.

About 200 students without legal status attend Eastern Washington University, and DACA students also attend other Inland Northwest universities.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the orders and referencing the DACA program.

“They are dreamers and we will not allow this order, or any order, to keep them from their dreams,” the statement said.

Inslee said Washington state would “resist any attempt to reduce our nation’s already small contribution to aiding people and families who fall victim to global humanitarian crises.” He he did not specify how.

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