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Now Is a Good Time to Seek Pardons for Immigrants

In his farewell speech, President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke of a military-industrial complex -- an informal alliance whereby the nation's military feeds the arms industry.

With his inaugural speech, President Donald Trump spoke of a battle against immigrants. It also has created a complex relationship between federal, state, and private parties in an evolving industry.

Immigration attorneys have seen a dramatic increase in business, and new developments are bringing more opportunities. It's the worst of times for immigrants, but the best of times for lawyers to seek pardons for them.

New York to California

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently pardoned 18 immigrants who faced deportation over prior convictions. With the pardons, they have a chance of staying in the United States.

Earlier in California, Gov. Jerry Brown made the first move by granting pardons to two men who also faced deportation. In each case -- from coast to coast -- the pardons effectively defied Trump's policies and orders against immigrants.

The legal battle has spilled over from city to city, as sanctuary cities have refused to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The federal government has fought back in court and with threats of withholding money.

Meanwhile, immigration attorneys have rallied to aid clients caught in the crosshairs. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, for example, launched an initiative to combat deportations.

Immigration Battle Rages

Even before his election, Trump promised to reverse Obama-era laws that allowed illegal immigrants to stay in America. That caused a rush to the offices of immigration attorneys.

Claudia Slovinsky, an immigration attorney in New York, said she saw a tenfold increase in calls, emails and inquires to her firm since then. She told the Atlantic, "everything changed overnight."

The New York governor's actions spared the immigrants from action by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Trump has directed the agency to prioritize the deportation of immigrants with criminal convictions.

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