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Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

New Administration Indicates Trump is Placing DACA on Backburner for Now

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Jobs_iStock_000016785771XSmall (2)By:  Allison McDonnell, Content Coordinator

Despite repeated campaign promises to take immediate action upon taking office, the new administration has now indicated that Present Donald Trump will not be immediately dismantling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by Barack Obama in 2012.

The administration has been tight-lipped about their intentions with DACA since Trump took office a short time ago.  When asked about when Trump will take action on DACA at a recent press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sidestepped the question and placed little emphasis on DACA as an action item.  Spicer went on to state that the President and administration’s main focus and priority is on immigrants with criminal records and will “prioritize the areas of dealing with the immigration system — both building the wall and making sure that we address people who are in this country illegally.”

Similarly, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus failed to clearly expound on the President’s intentions for DACA recipients, known as DREAMers.  Although during the presidential campaign Trump vehemently claimed that he would immediately overturn Obama’s executive action on DACA, Priebus indicated that DACA might not be addressed with a quick fix.  While Priebus failed to make any exacting commitments on the topic, he strongly indicated that Trump will not be signing any executive actions on DACA in the week following his inauguration.

Instead, Trump seems to have pledged to work with Congress to assist DREAMers.  Chief of Staff Priebus has suggested that the administration will work with the House and Senate leaders to build a long-term solution.  This seems to match a statement Trump made late last year during a Time Magazine interview that, while he does intend to overturn Obama’s executive action, he will also be looking for a compromise that will not disadvantage young immigrants.

On a similar positive note, a resolution for immigration reform was approved last week by The United States Conference of Mayors.  This resolution calls for the continuation of programs protecting DREAMers and the need to adopt an approach that welcome immigrants, stating “…we stand united as mayors through the United States Conference of Mayors in calling on Congress to fix our broken immigration system and immediately begin working toward the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has articulated enforcement priorities that mirror what Spicer and Priebus have stated – that national security threats and criminals will be priority number one for the time being. And, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to process DACA applications without change.  For now, over 741,500 DREAMers who benefit from the DACA program will have to continue to wait to see what their future may hold.

 

 

 

 

 

Billions of Dollars Will Be Lost if Trump Ends DACA

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

DACABy:  Allison McConnell:  Content Coordinator

President-elect Donald Trump is currently preparing to take office on January 20, 2017.  A prominent campaign promise of Trump’s has been to end President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which includes the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative.  The DACA program allows young immigrants who were brought to the United States as a child and who do not hold legal immigration status to apply for deferred deportation and remain in the U.S.  It also allows these individuals to receive work authorization permits.  The end of DACA will mean billions of dollars lost for the U.S.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center, an organization that seeks to improve immigration law and policy, expand the capacity of legal service providers, and advance immigrant rights, released a report on December 13, 2016 showing that the cancellation of the DACA program will cause immediate job losses for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who are currently employed by businesses in the U.S., which will cause losses to the U.S. in the billions of dollars.  DACA benefits have been granted to 741,546 immigrants.  Of those, 645,145 DACA benefits recipients are currently employed by U.S. businesses.  These employees have substantially helped increase payroll taxes, along with Social Security and Medicare contributions.

Ending the DACA program will cause a reduction in Medicare and Social Security tax contributions totaling $24.6 billion by DACA employers and employees over the next ten years.  Specifically, Social Security contributions will reduce by $19.9 billion and Medicare contributions will decrease by $4.6 billion.  In addition, the ending of DACA will cause U.S. employers to sustain needless employee turnover costs in the amount of $3.4 billion.

In total, billions of dollars of revenues will be left on the table, creating a threat to the health of the American economy.  This is in addition to the loss of professional and educational backgrounds and experience that these young immigrants contribute to the community and the industries in which they are employed.  Numerous immigrants who receive DACA benefits have taken advantage of the opportunity, obtaining their driver’s license and first job, contributing additional local, state, and federal taxes, continuing their education, and assisting their family members and communities.

Make your voices heard and contact your local representatives and senators and tell them to leave DACA alone and reference the above information.

Changes to Business-related Immigration Under Trump’s Administration

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

By:  Allison McDonnell, ICG Content Coordinator

The US President's home at 1600 Pennsylvania Av, Washington DC.

President-elect, Donald Trump, will take office as the United State’s 45th president on January 20, 2017.  Trump ran his presidential campaign from a clear anti-immigration platform.  His ten-point plan, which includes limiting legal immigration, could have substantial effects on business immigration in the U.S.  However, it is still too soon to tell exactly which stances Trump’s administration will, or will be able to, follow through on.  Changes on the business-related immigration side are likely to come in incremental stages and later on, as his first priority will be undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

H-1B Visa Program

Throughout his campaign, Trump spoke out against the H-1B visa program, arguing that it is an abused process used to replace American workers with cheap labor.  He claimed several times that his intentions are to end the program completely.  However, experts say that the program will more than likely not be eradicated, but simply reformed.  For one, Trump, himself, understands the value of high tech global talent.  In addition, the fact that he desires a strong relationship with India, whose tech workers are among the largest group of beneficiaries of the H-1B program, will likely keep him from abolishing the program all together.  With popularity of reform from several congressmen and Trump’s base, it is likely that smaller caps and more stringent qualifications will be imposed.

E-1 and E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas

Trump has been less vocal about planned changes to employment-based visas outside of the H-1B visa.  While it is likely that Trump will make major reforms to the H-1B program, we could also see some changes to the E-1 and E-2 visa classifications, given that they are increasingly the second-best option behind the H-1B visa for many immigrants.  For one, a tougher application of legal standards in immigration court and in consular processing may be applied to all visa categories.  In addition, caps could be implemented, which may be country-specific.  However, since a key part of the E-2 visa program is job creation, it could quite possibly go the other way, with the category growing in number.

Employment Eligibility Verification:  I-9 and E-Verify Programs

Considering employment draws immigrants to the United States, it is likely that we will see stricter enforcement of the Form I-9 verification process under Trump’s presidency.  Starting next year, there will likely be more ICE officers and immigration judges hired to expedite cases.  This increase in staff may lead to an increase in the number of worksite inspections for I-9 compliance.  It is also possible that there will be an increase in penalties and fines for any violations uncovered.  Therefore, it is important for employer’s to ensure that their paperwork, policies, and practices are in order in case of an audit.  Given that Trump may overturn President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), employers also need to be aware of which of their current foreign-born employees may become immediately undocumented and take proper action.

Trump has consistently applauded the E-Verify process for its systematic ability to filter out unauthorized employment.  In his position paper on immigration, he would mandate that the E-Verify process be used across the U.S.  Although, Trump will likely meet the same resistance as Congress has in the past, when it tried and failed several times to implement mandatory E-Verify.  That being true, Trump may still be able to strengthen or increase the program through unilateral executive orders.

In Closing

Although it is still too soon to tell precisely which of Trump’s campaign promises he will have the time, resources, or support to follow through on, it is a good idea to be informed and alert to the timing and the next steps required concerning your immigration matters and remain proactive, both as an employer and employee.  If you haven’t moved forward on a viable case, we would recommend that you meet with immigration counsel to prepare for the upcoming months under the new administration.  You can contact our office here.

 

Voice of Latino Voters on Univision – Jorge Ramos

Monday, January 26th, 2015

America’s Voice reports; we quote…

The New York Times  has released a profile of journalist Jorge Ramos that underscores the political dangers Republicans have created by embracing anti-immigrant policies.  Ramos explains the reasons why immigration is such a salient issue for him and many other Latino voters.  As he tells Jackie Calmes of the Times:

“immigration is personal.  Immigration is the issue that tells us who is with us and who is against us; there’s no question about it.  And it’s very simple to understand why — half of all Latinos over 18 years of age were born outside the United States.  It really makes no sense to attack them and criticize them if you want their vote.”

As former George W. Bush campaign advisor Matthew Dowd states:

Remember what L.B.J. said, ‘When you lose Walter Cronkite, you’ve lost the war’?  [Ramos is] not only a journalist, he’s become the voice of the Latino constituency.  And that’s where Republicans have to worry — you don’t want to lose Jorge Ramos.

 

Obama, High-Skilled Visa Immigration and Silicon Valley

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The U.S. technology industry might finally get the immigration reform that it wants. Bipartisan Senate groups introduced two tech-focused bills this month.  The Immigration Innovation Act – which increases the cap on H-1B Visas from 65,000 to 115,000, eliminates per-country limits on visa petitioners and lets spouses of H-1B visa holders work – came out of conversations with corporate tech leaders.

The Startup Act, which already has been introduced on three earlier occasions, creates a new visa category for foreign entrepreneurs.

Jobs_iStock_000016785771XSmall (2)For more:  http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-01-22/obama-immigration-reform-h-b1-visas-and-silicon-valley

 

Executive Actions on Immigration

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Passport immigration stamp

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced efforts to retool critical aspects of the immigration system—how we enforce immigration laws, how we process immigration benefits, how we encourage further business innovation, and how we welcome immigrants to this nation.

Following the address, executive agencies made available intra-agency memoranda and fact sheets detailing specific actions that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future in ten areas within the confines of the law. These actions generally involve border security, the current unlawfully present population, or future legal immigration.

Below we link to Fact Sheets that address the details that we are aware of at this time of the 10 Executive Action Initiatives with links to the memoranda. Additional guidance will be forthcoming.

The expansion of the DACA program that has now removed the age restriction and increases employment authorization from 2 year to 3-year increments, is expected to go into effect on or about February 20, 2015. The implementation of DAPA, the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, that allows parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010 to request deferred action and employment authorization, is expected to roll out approximately mid-May 2015.

Resources:

http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-action

http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/guide-immigration-accountability-executive-action

Should you have questions at this time or would like to retain our office to assist you or your employees with their immigration matters, please contact us at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

 

The Facts: Fixing a Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Breaking News_iStock_000029532972Large (2)

 

 

 

 

 

We applaud President Obama’s announcement of  broad executive action to offer temporary relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants, stating that the separation of families or the oppression of low-wage immigrant workers is “not who we are as Americans.”

Concurrent with the televised nationwide presidential address last night, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary issued a series of memoranda outlining the various facets of the programs and policies which would constitute, in total, “executive action” relating to immigration matters such as:  Revising Removal Priorities, ending Secure Communities and replacing it with a New Priority Enforcement Program, expanding DACA, extending DACA to Parents of US citizens and Permanent Residents, revising parole rules, expanding Provisional Waivers to spouses and children, modernizing high-skilled business-related immigration, and more.  We link to this information above.

Additional specific information on the initiatives contained in the Executive Action taken by President Obama can be found here

 

 

 

Lawmakers Across Both Parties Blast Obama for Delaying Immigration Reform

Monday, September 15th, 2014

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10852118

“The decision to simply delay this deeply controversial and possibly unconstitutional unilateral action until after the election — instead of abandoning the idea altogether — smacks of raw politics,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement which is a total surprise considering the House’s refusal to do anything on immigration reform; is he being sarcastic or untruthful?!   Even members from within Obama’s own party scoffed at the decision.  Despite this,  the White House just last week assured anxious Hispanic lawmakers on Capitol Hill that President Obama will use executive action before the holiday season closes to reform U.S. immigration law, after breaking his pledge to make changes by the end of summer.  The message was delivered in a meeting Thursday with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other administration officials, including domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz, a key player for Obama on the issue, according to Politico.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez said Obama’s decision to “play it safe” could end up harming his good standing among many Latino voters in the midterms.  He further stated, “While we wait until November … there’s going to be another 60,000 people deported,” he said. “There is pain and suffering in the community, and there is a lot of anguish and anger.”

Other resources:

 

  1. Latin Post
  2. Los Angeles Times
  3. 7 Big Items Congress Won’t Get to this Fall 

GOP Speaker Boehner Says They’re Ready to Write Principles for Immigration Overhaul

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The Los Angeles Times reported that Boehner’s leadership team was drafting “principles” for overhauling immigration laws that will be presented in coming weeks. His remarks were made Wednesday (Jan. 8, 2013) during the first private meeting of House Republicans in the new  year.         

“We are working on a standards or principles document,” Boehner said, according to a person in the room granted anonymity to discuss the private session. The document is being drafted by Boehner, his leadership team, including House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), as well as other members interested in the issue.

House Republican leaders believe that the GOP needs to support an immigration overhaul to woo Latino voters in advance of the 2016 presidential election – if that’s even possible with the rampant obstructionism that has plagued the House.  In any event, we all sit waiting to hear about this step-by-step approach that he’s been talking about for months.

The small team of GOP members and staff has been working to draft a statement of basic principles on immigration policy for several weeks. The effort is being coordinated by Rebecca Tallent, former immigration advisor to Arizona Sen. John McCain and a veteran of the previous effort to pass immigration reform during the second term of President George W. Bush. Boehner hired Tallent in December.

It was reported that the goal is to present the document — which could serve as an outline for future legislative action — before the House GOP retreat at a resort on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on Jan. 29th.

It is likely that Boehner will wait until the filings for Republican primaries are past before things really get moving in order to protect Republican incumbents from having to vote on immigration bills that could be used against them by far right candidates.

We will continue to keep you posted.

For more reading:  LA TimesWashington Post

 

 

 

Immigration Reform – Will it Cross the Finish Line in 2014?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10852118Back in October of this year, President Obama stated “Immigration reform may not pass, but that’s no reason to give up the fight.”

The pro-immigration reform movement has united in a strong front and is the most broad and diverse that we’ve ever observed. The strategic and impassioned outcry from immigration activists are being heard in the hallways of Congress, in state offices across the country, groups fasting for immigration reform, holding prayer vigils, outbursts taking place in the middle of President Obama’s speeches, protestors chaining themselves to gates of federal buildings, and more –  a full court press on the GOP. “The immigration reform movement has emerged as a relentless force that is prepared to hold all parties accountable in 2014,” states Julia Preston in her NY Times article

The Background

In June 2013, the Senate passed their version of Comprehensive Immigration that doesn’t please everyone, but its passage was a victory for those who have been working on the issue for years and watched immigration reform fail many times over. It addresses undocumented immigrants, legal immigration, border security, employer hiring and an entry-exit system so the government knows if foreign nationals leave the country when their visa expires. The path to citizenship is long — 13 years or more — and arduous, but advocates are pleased that it would exist at all, given opposition from many Republicans and the failure of bills to carve out such a path in the past. Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, would be able to earn green cards in five years, as would some agricultural workers. The bill adds huge increases in border security that catered to unsure Democrats and Republicans.

Although 3 out of 4 Americans want Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship, Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican Leadership are using stalling tactics and excuses to block reform from getting a vote on the House floor. There’s been no progress – total gridlock in the House of Representatives, while we’re told repeatedly that they are approaching CIR in a piecemeal manner and that all the individual bills will eventually be rolled into one comprehensive bill.  The president recently commented, If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don’t care what it looks like.”  We ask, when will his happen?  Sadly, not this year. 

The question is will the Tea Party continue to set the agenda for the House GOP?   Mounting frustration with the Tea Party may lead mainstream Republicans to move forward on immigration reform without them.  In order for the GOP to win Hispanic and Asian voters, it is mandatory that they address the broken immigration system. There has been little to no (and at times incredibly awkward, contradictory and antagonistic) outreach and messaging to the immigrant community by the Republican Party. At this point in time, there is fear that if 11 million are granted citizenship, they’ll vote Democratic.  We will have to see how this continues to play out moving into 2014.

Recently, On December 3, 2013, Speaker John Boehner announced the hiring of Rebecca Tallent to serve as immigration advisor in his office. Tallent worked as a staffer and later as Chief of Staff for Sen. John McCain. She left McCain’s office earlier this year to become the immigration policy director for the Bipartisan Policy Center where she also chaired the organization’s immigration task force.  She’s helped draft amnesty bills for Sen. McCain in the mid-2000s and, in her role at the Bipartisan Policy Center, helped develop an immigration framework that includes amnesty for illegal aliens and massive increases in legal immigration. Her new appointment in Speaker Boehner’s office does send a positive signal that he’s laying the ground work to pass massive immigration reforms in 2014.  However, NumbersUSA President Roy Beck said. “His new hire has done almost nothing the last decade except work for giant increases in foreign labor. But Boehner still has to persuade at least 118 Republican House Members that their constituents would be okay with an expansion of immigration.  We are hopeful that the appointment of Rebecca Tallent will play an essential role in lifting immigration reform over the finish line in early 2014.

More reading…

Video:  “Congress Fails to Tackle Immigration Reform”

Immigration Reform Advocates Descent on Capitol HIll; visiting 200 Offices

Other Articles on Immigration Reform