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Changes expected for existing immigration programs

Some residents in Florida began their journey to the United States as immigrants. Existing federal programs that manage immigration have long placed importance on reuniting families and allowing employers to sponsor the entry of workers. The Trump administration seeks to alter or eliminate some programs and base admission to the country on education and employment qualifications.

Family-based immigration has traditionally offered spouses, children, siblings and parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents a way to enter the country as lawful permanent residents. Trump has proposed limiting this program to only spouses and minor children.

The federal government has already curtailed refugee admissions. In 2018, no more than 45,000 refugees will gain permission to enter the country. In 2016 and 2017, immigration authorities granted entry to 84,995 and 53,716 refugees, respectively. Trump wants to end entirely the diversity visa program that issues green cards to about 50,000 applicants every year through a lottery system.

People who have temporary permission to live and work in the country through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Temporary Protected Status program face uncertain futures. Protections from DACA remain held up in the courts, and people in the United States under TPS could lose their legal status by 2019. People who gained entry through TPS from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan can expect the federal government not to renew their documents.

A person who wants to help someone enter the country, obtain a green card or renew a visa might want legal representation when approaching immigration authorities. An attorney familiar with U.S. immigration law may be able to recommend which program to pursue and prepare the application. An attorney may attend interviews and hearings and offer advice when a person needs to answer questions. Denials that violate the person's rights might be challenged by an attorney.

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