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It's time to seek immigration assistance in Rhode Island

This is a difficult time to be an immigrant in the United States -- the incoming presidential administration built part of its platform on a promise to curb undocumented immigration. This has many undocumented immigrants who have been quietly living, studying, working and paying taxes in the United States for years concerned about their immediate future. Many are afraid that once the new president takes office, they'll be rapidly shipped back to a country that they hardly remember and no longer fit into.

However, many people are also questioning exactly how aggressive state and local law enforcement officials will be about enforcing laws against undocumented immigrants. In many cities, the undocumented immigrants are a vital part of the local economy -- strictly enforcing policies that would lead to mass deportations could destroy the local workforce and financial climate.

For example, Newport, Rhode Island, officials recently met with some of the undocumented immigrants who make up the city's workforce about declaring Newport a "sanctuary city." Sanctuary cities are those that have adopted a policy of essentially protecting undocumented immigrants who are living quietly and not violating the law in any other way. Policies may be explicit or simply understood -- either way, the city simply declines to use municipal funds to enforce national immigration laws and often instruct city employees not to inquire about an individual's immigration status.

Unfortunately for the immigrants in Newport, officials declined to declare the city a sanctuary, saying that it could put the city in danger of losing federal funds. Republicans in Congress have discussed introducing bills that would cut off federal funds to sanctuary cities that openly refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.

City officials insist that making Newport an official sanctuary city isn't necessary because the entire state of Rhode Island operates like a sanctuary. Local officials also insist that they are committed to representing everyone in the community -- regardless of immigration status.

Just the same, if you or members of your family are undocumented immigrants living in Newport or the surrounding areas, the assistance of an attorney can help you understand more about immigration law. We also have information available on our web pages.

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