As a result of living in a border state, many Arizona residents are aware of immigration issues, and a new era of aggressive enforcement appears to have dawned. Even holders of special immigration visas, who have sometimes undergone years of vetting and background checks, cannot know for certain if they can enter the United States. The director of the International Refugee Assistance Project said that people in possession of an SIV had not been detained or deported by border agents until recently.
For example, a man from Afghanistan whose life was at risk because he worked for U.S. development authorities in Kabul obtained an SIV to move to the United States with his wife and four young children. Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained him at the airport. Only after five hours of questioning did agents allow him to proceed.
Another man from Afghanistan with an SIV encountered greater difficulty. Agents at the airport where he arrived placed him in detention. According to an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union, agents questioned the man without an attorney present and forced him to sign papers. The ACLU fought his deportation. One federal judge ruled against the immigrant, but the ACLU managed to halt the deportation after an emergency hearing before a federal appeals court.
In this atmosphere of uncertainty, a person wishing to enter the country or help a relative do so might benefit from the representation of an attorney. U.S. immigration law is constantly changing, and the atmosphere that has been created as a result of the Trump administration hard line stance has resulted in the closing of avenues that once provided a pathway.