Many Muslim Lawful Permanent Residents are fearful that their futures in the United States are in danger. President Trump has promised a ban on Muslims entering the United States and they are afraid that if they leave the country to visit family, they might not be allowed to return here.
Trump’s “Muslim Ban” has taken several different forms over the last 16 months, some stricter and some more limited, but the “Ban” is a legitimate fear. Even if it is only temporary, it could keep a Muslim out of the country long enough that he or she loses permanent residence.
While we don’t know the form that a Muslim ban might take or exactly who will be affected, we do know how a Permanent Resident can avoid being barred-by becoming a citizen.
Under current legal precedent, Congress could pass a law which bars non-citizens, including Permanent Residents, from entering the United States based on their religion or race. We did it to the Chinese 130 years ago and that precedent has never been overturned even though the law itself was repealed. In fact, the Supreme Court did not just say that people could be refused entry to America based on their religion, it even said that long-time Permanent Residents could be deported on that basis.
What Congress cannot do is pass a law barring the entry of U.S. Citizens who are Muslims. Foreign-born immigrants who become citizens cannot be barred from coming into the U.S. nor can they be deported.
What Trump could do in the future is make it more difficult for Muslims to become citizens.
Right now, it is taking fewer than six months for most Long Islanders who apply for citizenship to go through the process. This is about as short a time as imaginable. My advice to Muslims is to apply for citizenship as soon as possible.
You can get free help in applying for citizenship at CARECEN. In Nassau call 516-489-8330 and in Suffolk call 631-273-8721.