These are uncertain times for immigrants in Chicago and across the country. Many of them are looking to start new lives and benefit from living in the land of opportunity. However, for them to remain in the country, they must not be here illegally. Recent changes to immigration laws under President Trump’s presidency is making the path to sponsorship and citizenship more challenging for some immigrants. 

Many immigrants and citizens are unaware that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is in danger of extinction. Individuals view it as a trade deal, not realizing that it could cost millions of immigrants the right to live and work in the country. Currently, NAFTA visas allow Canadians and Mexicans to remain in the United States while they work. It also allows Americans to live in and travel to Canada for employment and housing opportunities. The NAFTA agreement is a bargaining tool President Trump is using to justify increasing border security to prevent the flow of illegal drugs and immigrants into the United States. To take advantage of NAFTA, workers must apply and be approved for TN visas, while investors and treaty traders must be approved for E visas. 

The economy could receive a devastating blow if President Trump ends NAFTA. Many of the agreement’s benefits would be lost. The NAFTA agreement does not solely affect immigrants. Many American citizens could end up out of work. Also, millions of Canadian and Mexican immigrants could lose their TN and E visas. Currently, the NAFTA agreement is still active. 

Source: Forbes.com, “If NAFTA Goes Away, Treaty’s Immigration Benefits Will Disappear,”Stuart Anderson, March 6, 2018