On January 11, 2017, representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) gathered to answer questions from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) on the agency's implementation of U.S. immigration law and policy. The panel included agents from Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE), as well as immigration judges and government attorneys. The head of Cohen Forman Barone’s Global Immigration and Removal Defense Legal Division, Cory Forman, moderated the discussion and helped facilitate questions between AILA members and the government participants.
As expected, many of the questions focused on the incoming Trump administration. Attorneys expressed concerns over what is expected to be the incoming administration’s hard-line policy on immigration enforcement and the potential consequences for their clients. All panelists reported that there have yet to be any announcements or guidance issued that deviates from the Obama administration's directives on issues related to deportation and detention, deferred action requests, and waiver issuance. While changes are certainly expected, one panelist asserted that considering the complexities of the issues such changes could take as long as one year to actually implement.