If are an immigrant to the United States, what does Donald Trump’s victory mean for you? Specifically, what does a Trump win mean if you have a greencard.
What type of “greencard” do you have?
“Greencard” is not actually a legal term. Meaning that it is not precise and can mean more than one thing. Generally, when people use the term they mean one of three different things.
- Lawful permanent residency.
- A work permit.
- Conditional lawful permanent residency.
Let’s look at each of those separately.
Lawful permanent residency
Usually when people say that they have a “greencard” they mean they have status as a lawful permanent resident. Will President Trump be able to take away your status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR)? Basically, no.
The paths to LPR status are created by congress. This is true you gained LPR status through Adjustment of Status (the I-485) or through an immigrant visa (DS-260). Because congress creates these rights the president cannot simply take them away.
If you have already completed the greencard process and are now an LPR, your status should be safe.
A work permit.
Sometimes when people use the term “greencard” they simply mean that they have some form of authorization to work in the United States. This presents a much broader question about how a Trump Presidency might impact you.
Take Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), for example. As we describe in more detail here, DACA was a program created by the Obama administration, not by congress. Since a president created the program, a Trump administration could choose to take it away. It is likely that President Trump will make it impossible to renew DACA, and he could even try to take work permits away from those who already have them.
If you have an employer-sponsored work permit – such as an H-1B – it is unlikely that a Trump Presidency will impact you in the foreseeable future. These employer-sponsored programs are created by congress, and it would likely take an act of congress to change your rights. It is unlikely that any major immigration bill, changing these or other immigration programs, will be passed anytime soon.
If you went through the marriage-based greencard process, you may have received a two-year conditional residency. This is done if your marriage was less then two years old when you gained status as an LPR. Conditional residents are required to file the I-751 petition in the 90-day window before their conditional status expires. Will a Trump presidency make it harder for you to get your I-751 petition approved? Probably not.
Like other examples above, the I-751 petition program was created by congress. President Trump, acting alone, cannot simply get rid of the program.
As with other programs, however, President Trump could impose stricter standards than are currently used. Because he will control the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of which Citizenship and Immigration Services is a part, Trump could direct DHS to have tougher rules for the I-751 program.
Given Trump’s previous policy statements on immigration, it is unlikely that he would choose to target the conditional residency program. People filing I-751 petitions have gone through the legal marriage-based immigration process. It would be extraordinarily bizarre for Trump clamp down on this particular facet of immigration.
Have more questions? Ask.
If you have general questions about what Trump presidency will mean for immigrants, please use the comment section below or use the “Ask a Question” tool. If you would like an individualized consultation you are welcome to book an appointment – we meet with clients all over the country.