Immigration has many aspects. That is: There are many laws that could determine a person’s ability to immigrate to and stay in the United States.
This is also a highly political issue. There are economic, political and social debates that all tie into legislation regarding immigrants’ rights.
Protecting immigrants and society at large
One common discussion point is how lawmakers might protect immigrants while protecting society as a whole. Many people who are strong advocates of civil liberty argue that protecting immigrants’ rights is what is most desirable to protect a free, open society.
There are various manifestations of this viewpoint. For example, jurisdictions might have defenses against deportation for immigrants with previous criminal records on the basis that people should not receive punishment twice for the same crime.
Other examples might include attempts to loosen penalties against immigrants, with or without proper documentation. In fact, the laws that allow for deportation defense are themselves examples of civil rights protections.
Changes happen at all levels
Changes to immigration law could happen at many different levels of government. For example, local law might limit the power of law enforcement agencies in the interest of protecting the constitutional rights of immigrants. Alternatively, federal law and policy might — and often does — change with regard to various aspects of immigration.
Even if people have had challenges in the past with immigrating to the United States, that is not a guarantee that the current climate will present the same challenges. As always, it is important to consider the exact details of a case within the context of current, applicable law.