Birthright citizenship: Included in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. It cannot be revoked without a constitutional amendment. The president has no constitutional role in the amendment process. 

Immigration figures: In 2016 the total for all classes of immigrants residing in the US was 43.7 million, which is equal to 13.5 percent of the total population. Roughly 76 percent were legal, authorized immigrants, with the remaining 24 percent being illegal or unauthorized. In 2016 this 24 percent translated to 11.3 million, down from the peak of 12.2 million in 2007. This decline in the unauthorized immigrant population is due largely to a fall in numbers from Mexico.

Visa overstays: Center for Migration Studies (CMS) said in a recent report that two-thirds of those who joined the undocumented population did so by entering with a valid visa and then overstaying their period of admission. According to the report, in 2014, 42 percent of all undocumented persons in the US were “overstays.”

Refugees: President Trump halved the Obama administration’s FY 2017 admissions ceiling from 110,000 to 50,000, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, and limited admissions of refugees from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The administration also set the refugee ceiling at 45,000 for FY 2018, the lowest level since the program began in 1980. A total of 53,716 refugees were resettled in FY 2017, a 37 percent drop compared to the 84,994 resettled in 2016. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Myanmar (also known as Burma) were the primary countries of nationality, accounting for 63 percent (34,028) of all refugees resettled in 2017. 

DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is administrative relief from deportation, authorized by President Obama in 2012. Its purpose is to protect from deportation eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: protection from deportation and a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal. The Trump administration announced last year its plan to phase out the program, but a federal appeals court ruled against the proposal in early November, declaring that the government couldn’t immediately end the program. The fate of the program rests on lawsuits and congressional action.

Lesley Frost, Advocacy Chair

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