Beware – your electronic device may be searched and seized by immigration upon entry into the U.S. U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that in the first six months of fiscal year 2017 (October 2016-March 2017), it searched the electronic devices of 14,993 arriving international travelers, affecting 0.008 percent of the approximately 189.6 million travelers arriving in the United States. The statistics include a month-to-month comparison chart of FY2016 and FY2017, which shows that customs officers at the border and at airports nearly doubled their searches of electronic devices of people entering the United States in the last six months.
U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has distributed the document below (in italics) on the authority to search electronic devices, why the agency might subject an electronic device to an inspection, and what happens with the return or seizure of detained electronic devices.
Why You May Be Chosen for an Inspection
You may be subject to an inspection for a variety of reasons, some of which include: your travel documents are incomplete or you do not have the proper documents or visa; you have previously violated one of the laws CBP enforces; you have a name that matches a person of interest in one of the government’s enforcement databases; or you have been selected for a random search. (more…)
The H-1B Visa has received a lot of attention this year. It is considered a “Specialty Occupation”, non-immigrant visa that is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals in the USA for a set period of time.
An H-1B Visa allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to legally live and work in the United States for as many as 6 consecutive years. The program also allows the H-1B Visa holder’s spouse and minor children to accompany him/her and legally live in the USA on an H-4 visa.
Specialty occupations that qualify for H-1B visas include: IT, Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Scientific Research, Social Science, Biotechnology, HealthCare/Medicine, Education, Law, Accounting, Business, Theology, Arts, Computing, Finance, Accounting, Banking, Marketing, Sales, Recruiting, and Telecommunication, among others. (more…)
A federal judge in Hawaii just issued a nationwide temporary restraining order to block the revised version of President Trump Travel Ban of Muslims from six countries and a refugee ban. Both judges cited Trump’s statements about Muslims during the presidential campaign as part of their rulings.
The federal court in Hawaii and Maryland have now spoken not once, not twice, (more…)
Hiring a US immigration attorney is the single most important step you can take to ensure you meet all of the legal requirements of entering the United States. Given today’s political climate, taking this all-important step can mean the difference between being granted entry to the US and being denied entry.
Gail Seeram is a Florida immigration attorney who has been helping clients all over the world enter the US legally for over 17 years. She focuses exclusively on immigration law, handling cases of all kinds. Click here for a full list of law services.
Starting April 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions in an effort to reduce overall H-1B processing times. This suspension may last up to six months. (more…)
On Monday, March 6, 2017, the Trump administration announced his second attempt at crafting a travel ban that would bar entry of individuals from predominantly muslim countries. Trump travel ban signed on January 27, 2017 was blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. The new Trump travel ban goes into effect on March 16, 2017 and has the following major provisions:
- Iraq removed from the list.
- Targeted countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
- Current visa holders no longer affected.
- Syrian refugees barred temporarily, not indefinitely and refugees of minority religions no longer favored.
- Refugees already granted asylum will be allowed.
The new Trump travel ban only applies to people from the six countries without current immigrant or non-immigrant visas. Students with valid F, M or J visas will be allowed admission into the U.S. The new order explicitly says that green card holders from the targeted countries will still be allowed. (more…)
President Barack Obama was the champion of deportation as he deported or removed the most legal and illegal immigrants than any other President before him. A total 2.4 million were deported under the Obama administration from fiscal 2009 to 2014, including a record 435,000 in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the data. However, President Trump has promised mass deportation under his presidency and deportation lawyer Gail Seeram can help you avoid removal from the U.S.
For fiscal year 2015, ICE apprehended 406,595 individuals nationwide and conducted a total of 462,463 removals (compared to year 414,481 in 2014). U.S. Border Patrol reported 337,117 apprehensions nationwide in 2015, compared to 486,651 in FY 2014.
Deportation lawyer Gail Seeram recommends (more…)
YES! Foreign travelers who are not U.S. citizens trying to enter the United States are not guarantee entry into the United States. Instead, foreign travelers (including green card holders) apply for entry into the United States and everything on them is subject to search when they present their visa or green card at the airport (or port of entry). Since Trump presidency, we’ve seen U.S. Immigration unlock cell phone of many legal immigrants and visitors before allowing admission into the U.S.
The New York Times has reported that in 2015, U.S. Immigration Border Agents inspected 4,444 cell phones and 320 other electronic devices – 2016 statistics is unavailable. Recently, many foreign travelers have reported that immigration and security inspections at the border/port of entry and airport have extended to digital devices (including laptops and cell phones). In this day in age, inspecting a digital device can be more intrusive than inspecting a suitcase. Most digital devices have access to personal emails, social media accounts, photos, videos, text, web browsing history, etc.
How can foreign travelers prepare digital devices for inspection? (more…)
“Effective immediately,” DHS shall faithfully execute U.S. immigration laws against “all removable aliens” and will no longer “exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” – this directive is from the policy memorandum implemented on February 17, 2017 based on Trump’s Executive Order signed on January 25, 2017. Additionally, it directs DHS personnel to arrest, apprehend, and initiate enforcement actions against “any alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe” has violated the immigration laws. This language makes clear that everyone is a priority and amounts to a widespread deportation plan. The Memorandum calls for a massive expansion in detention by requiring DHS to detain nearly everyone it apprehends including those with no criminal convictions.
Many illegal immigrants and green card holders are in a state of panic and fear as Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has started to apprehend and detained individuals with final order of removals, green card holders convicted of deportable criminal offenses, green card holders charged (not convicted) with a criminal offense, illegal immigrants parole into U.S. with an order of supervisions, and illegal immigrants who entered within the past two years.
What is your safety plan? We recommend a safety plan (more…)
The U.S. Court of Appeals blocked Trump’s travel ban but immigrants and non-immigrants remained worried about deportation under Trump from the United States. Trump signed three immigration executive orders. The travel ban executive order has been getting most of the media attention, however the executive order entitled, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” signed on January 25, 2017 has already been implemented by Immigration and Custom Enforcement in the U.S.
What can we expect to see immediately (more…)