What should I do if I am asked to give up my green card when returning to the United States now that President Trump has issued his immigration-related executive orders?

Government officials can always ask a lawful permanent resident to give up his or her permanent residency and green card, but it is also lawful for you to say no and not surrender your permanent residency or green card.

Normally, a government official only requests that a person voluntarily sign a form, the I-407-Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, when the official believes the permanent resident has abandoned his or her residency by word or action.

Three days ago, in an abnormal way, President Trump made an executive order that prohibited the US entry of nationals from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. At first it was unclear if permanent residents from these countries would be allowed back to their homes in the US. As of this writing, it seems permanent residents from these countries will be allowed back into the country but it is still unclear if the presidential administration will change its mind again.

To emphasize the point, any US lawful permanent resident who is a citizen or national of any other country can legally decline to voluntarily give up his or her permanent residency.

An immigration lawyer can more easily help you if you refuse to voluntarily give up your residency.

If you refuse to give up your permanent residency, the government official has the option of issuing you a Notice to Appear in immigration court so a judge can decide if you have said anything or done anything to show you voluntarily abandoned your residency. While this is highly inconvenient to you, it is preferable to go to court than it is to give up your residency without discussion.

If the government official takes away your green card and issues you the Notice to Appear in immigration court, the official must give you other evidence of your lawful permanent residency, such as a stamp in your passport saying it is evidence of temporary residence or the official could give you a Form I-94 which states your lawful status on it.

As a permanent resident, the government had already vetted you and decided you met the legal requirements of residency. The burden to show you were eligible for residency was on you when you applied.

If the government now wants to take away your permanent residency, the legal burden is on the government to prove to a judge you voluntarily gave up your residency or that there is another valid and legal reason to take away your residency.

If you are asked to voluntarily give up your permanent residency or green card, and you do not wish to do so, tell the official you will not give up your residency and that you refuse to sign any statement giving up your residency. Then speak with an immigration lawyer as soon as your encounter with the official is over.

Sometimes there are permanent residents who do wish to voluntarily give up permanent residency. I would still recommend you speak with an immigration lawyer before you make that decision so that you know the consequences of your choice before you make that choice.

If you have any questions regarding immigration, please feel free to call me, immigration attorney Shawn Mesa at (813) 679-5780.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on this information is taken at your own risk.

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