Some San Diegans impacted by President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order have the legal right to be in the United States, but they are still facing challenges when re-entering the country.
According to one local attorney, some green card holders have been pressured into forfeiting their residency.
After more than 30 years of practicing immigration law, Jan Bejar says this is unlike anything he has seen before.
“A lot of people from the seven countries that are being singled out are permanent residents," Bejar said.
A permanent resident is able to leave and re-enter the United States and can retain their legal residence status as long as they do not commit a crime.
“What is being reported, is that several of these people are being coerced into signing I-407 forms,” he said.
An I-407 form is an immigration form permanent residents fill out and sign when they abandon their permanent residence.
But Bejar said, that form should be filled out voluntarily.
“You can’t come up to somebody at an airport or port of entry and say 'I am not letting you in unless you sign this'," Bejar added.
The L.A. Times has documented at least one case in which a woman says she was held and forced to void her visa.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency refused to comment on this issue and referred us to their website, where the Immigration Executive Order is explained.