Trump H-1B Executive Order

Below is a brief analysis of Trump H-1B Executive Order titled, “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order, signed by President Trump on 4/18/17.

  • On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order, “Buy American and Hire American.” In the “Hire American” portion of the order, Trump announced he was directing DOL, DOJ, DHS, and DOS to review the current laws governing the H-1B program and suggest changes to prioritize the most skilled and highest paid positions. The President also indicated he was directing federal agencies to review all visa programs and take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse in order to protect U.S. workers.
  • Although it was signed with ceremonial flair, the Executive Order will have no immediate impact on H-1Bs. Many of the changes to the H-1B program contemplated by the Administration would require legislative action or rulemaking and would take time to go through the necessary processes.
  • Though additional measures to combat fraud could be implemented more quickly, documented instances of fraud in the H-1B and other temporary visa programs are actually quite low. Most employers that utilize the H-1B program do so honestly and because they need the skills and talent of a particular worker, and those who don’t can be rooted out by the current anti-fraud provisions and programs.
  • In addition, contrary to recent rhetoric, H-1B visas do not generally act as a mechanism to replace American workers. Instead, U.S. businesses use the H-1B to gain access to the sought-after skills of foreign professionals, many of whom graduate from U.S. universities, to complement the U.S. workforce. These foreign professional workers greatly benefit U.S. businesses, U.S. workers, and the economy.
  • H-1B visas do not drive down wages for American workers. In fact, some studies show a positive impact on overall wages. On average, H-1B workers actually earn higher wages than similarly employed U.S workers.
  • H-1B workers do not reduce U.S. employment rates; rather, they fill employment gaps and expand opportunities for all U.S. workers. Additionally, the unemployment rate for occupations that use H-1B visas is very low as compared to the national unemployment rate.
  • U.S. businesses do not seek H-1B workers in order to save money; the fees and costs associated with filing a successful petition are high enough that most employers use the H-1B because they cannot locate a qualified U.S. worker to fill the position.
  • Our immigration system is critical to all geographic and industry sectors, not just Silicon Valley. H-1B workers help transform state and local economies across the nation, from B (more…)

DACA recipients are now being targeted for deportation

Washington Post reports that attorneys on behalf of Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, a 23-year-old DACA recipient, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act on Tuesday demanding that the federal government turn over all information about his sudden removal from the United States in February 2017. Montes was stopped by a Border Patrol agent while walking to a taxi station in Calexico, California; having accidentally left his wallet in a friend’s car, he had no identification on him. Hours later, immigration officials walked Montes across the border, leaving him in Mexico. The case heightens existing concerns that DACA recipients are now being targeted for deportation, despite President Trump’s pledges to “show great heart” toward them.

Juan was brought to the United States by his family when he was 9 years old. He had graduated from high school and was working while finishing community college at the time he was picked up. He was nearly finished with his welding degree.

DACA recipients come forward, file paperwork, receive background checks, and pay fees. In exchange, they receive work authorization and a promise that the federal government will not summarily deport them. We don’t know what happened to Juan Manuel, but we are deeply concerned that his basic rights have been violated.   (more…)

Green Card New Design – Effective May 1, 2017

The Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has been redesigned as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. The new cards will be issued on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns green card use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

The new green card designs demonstrate immigration’s commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back. (more…)

Immigrants Facing Deportation in NY will have Access to Free Counsel

Undocumented immigrants in New York who can’t afford a lawyer and are facing deportation will soon have access to free legal counsel.  The New York governor’s office said last week that it is allocating $10 million in its fiscal 2018 budget toward creating a legal defense fund “to ensure all immigrants, regardless of residency status, have access to representation.”

 Unlike U.S. citizens, undocumented immigrants facing deportation don’t have the right to free legal counsel.

Called the Liberty Defense Project, the funding is part of a public-private partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. So far, the non-profit organizations have contributed $1.5 million, making the total funds available $11.5 million. (more…)

Electronic Devices Subject to Search by Immigration

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…)

What Is An H-1B Visa And Why Should I Hire An Immigration Attorney To Handle My Case?

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…)

Trump Travel Ban #2 Blocked by Federal Court

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…)

7 Reasons To Hire Orlando Immigration Attorney Gail Seeram

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.

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Trump Travel Ban #2 – Who is barred from entering the U.S.?

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…)