Follow Us:

Archive for the ‘Immigration Legislation’ Category

Judge Rules that Foreign Entrepreneurs can come to USA to Build and Grow Innovative Businesses

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Breaking News_iStock_000029532972Large (2)Foreign entrepreneurs who want to build innovative companies in the United States received good news on Friday, when federal judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), entrepreneurs, and startup companies on September 19, 2017.

DHS must now cease the delay and begin accepting applications of foreign entrepreneurs who wish to grow their companies in the United States. This will no doubt provide a significant boost to the U.S. economy, as it has long thrived on the contributions and innovations of foreign entrepreneurs.

We link to the International Entrepreneur Final Rule

Our office is available to assist you should you be interested in exploring this opportunity.

 

 

DACA Update and Advisory for Employees and Employers

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Immigration Rally in Washington(From ILW.com) On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced via a statement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he is winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program, including associated travel and work benefits, will not terminate immediately. The attached advisory will help you determine how your being in the DACA program is affected by this news.

What if Congress Doesn’t Act?

If Congress does not pass a measure protecting DACA recipients in the next 6 months, nearly 300,000 people could begin to lose their status and be at risk for deportation in 2018. And more than 320,000 would lose their status from January to August 2019. President Trump indicated that he would revisit the issue if Congress does not pass DACA legislation. Here is a review of three Bills under consideration that address DACA Legislation.

The ILW Advisory states:  Employers need to be cautious about taking adverse actions against DACA recipients. In general, employers are not permitted to “look behind” a valid work card and while an employee has a valid employment authorization document, an employer cannot terminate them or otherwise discriminate against them based on assumptions regarding the ability to continue working for the employer for the long term. Employers who have been told by their employees already that they are in the DACA program should be able to talk to them about subjects like helping the employee with green card sponsorship, transfers abroad, helping with getting access to an immigration lawyer, etc.

Here is a statement from USCIS  DACA Has Changed!

  • We are no longer accepting initial requests for DACA, but we will adjudicate initial requests for DACA accepted by Sept. 5, 2017.
  • We will no longer approve advance parole requests associated with DACA.
  • We are only adjudicating DACA renewal requests received by Oct. 5, 2017, from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.

USCIS 09/05/2017 Announcement

How  to inquire about a pending DACA Case

 

BREAKING NEWS ——Those who were blocked from entering US in 1st Travel Ban, can now reapply for visas to enter the USA

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

USA_shutterstock_modified_worldandflags(2)The legal challenge that helped to free scores of travelers who were detained at airports around the country in the confusing early days of President Trump’s travel ban, prompting thousands of demonstrators to demand their release, was quietly settled on Thursday in a Brooklyn courtroom. Those who were   blocked from entering the United States can now reapply for visas to enter the US, according to a settlement reached in the case that temporarily blocked the travel ban back in January.

About 2,000 people were detained during the almost 24-hour time period from when the first travel ban went into effect to when the temporary stay blocked the travel ban from being implemented. Roughly 140 people were denied entry and sent back to their country of origin in that time period based on documents the ACLU obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request.

Under the settlement, the government is required to send letters to notify those who were denied entry under the first travel ban that they are now eligible to reapply for a visa — using the most current information from their visa applications.  Approval is not guaranteed, but the government agreed to process their applications in good faith.

The agreement did not provide any damages or monetary compensation for those affected by the ban, nor any award of legal fees to the groups who fought it in court. People who never reached an American airport because they were kept from boarding flights are not covered by the settlement.

For more on this refer here:  CNN:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/31/politics/trump-travel-ban-settlement/index.html and the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/31/us/trump-travel-ban-lawsuit-settlement.html?mcubz=0

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

I-9/E-Verify: Q&A – AILA Verification Committee Mtg w/USCIS Verification & ICE Homeland Security Investigation

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-questions-answers-image5665970

Clarification between Hiring site and worksite (page 5 at link)
E-Verify defines a “hiring site” as “the location where employees are hired and where they complete Form I-9.”

E-Verify further states that a “participating hiring site means that an employer will create an E-Verify case for every newly hired employee who is hired and
completes a Form I-9 at that site.”

Lastly, when an employee is hired remotely and visits a third party employer agent to complete Form I-9, for E-Verify purposes, the “hiring site” is the location of the third party employer agent where the Form I-9 was completed, not the home of the employee.

For all Q&A, refer here

 

Penalties for I-9 Violations: What you need to know

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

One group of customers standing on a red target bullseye, with magnifying glass hovering above it

The DOJ announced in August 2016 that it was making significant increases to the schedule of fines imposed for various violations including those associated with compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) imposed sanctions on employers; namely:

Form I-9 Paperwork Violations:
Previous fine per Form I-9 violation: $110 to $1,100
Fine effective August 1, 2016 per Form I-9 Violation: $216 to $2,126

Unlawful Employment of Unauthorized Workers:
First Offense
Previous fine, per worker: $375 to $3,200
Fine effective August 1,2016 per worker: $539 to $4,313
Second Offense
Previous fine per worker: $3,200 to $6,500
Fine effective August 1, 2016, per worker: $4,313 to $10,781
Subsequent Offenses
Previous fine, per worker: $4,300 to $16,000
Fine effective August 1, 2016, per worker: $6,469 to $21,563

Unfair Immigration-Related Practices
First Order
Previous fine, per worker: $375 to $3,200
Fine effective August 1, 2016, per worker: $445 to $3,563 (however repeat offenders could face new maximum penalty of $21,563 per worker.)

These fines also increase per subsequent order and frequent offenders may face a maximum fine of $17,816 per worker.

As reported in one of our previous blog posts concerning employment verification under a Trump Administration:

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.

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.

 

USCIS Proposes Rule to Welcome International Entrepreneurs

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

USCIS is proposing a new rule, which would allow certain international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) so that they may start or scale their businesses here in the United States.  Breaking News_iStock_000029532972Large (2)

Read the advance version of the notice of proposed rulemaking: International Entrepreneur Rule. Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 45 days from the date of publication to comment. To submit comments, follow the instructions in the notice.

The proposed rule would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use its existing discretionary statutory parole authority for entrepreneurs of startup entities whose stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.  Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startup enterprises:

  • Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have  an active and central role to its operations;
  • Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
  • Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
    • Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
    • An applicant who partially meets one or both of the above criteria can be considered if he or she provides “additional reliable and compelling evidence” that his or her entry would provide a “significant public benefit to the United States” and which would validate the entity’s “substantial validation of the entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States.  A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.  If an applicant meets these criteria, the applicant, as well as his or her spouse and minor, unmarried children may be considered under this rule for a discretionary grant of parole for up to two years.  Spouses will receive open-market (unrestricted) work authorization.  Applicants will be allowed to be considered for re-parole for an additional period of up to three years if they can show that the start-up has shown signs of “significant growth” since the initial grant of parole and the start-up continues to have substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.  The grant of additional parole will be to work with the same start-up for 3 additional years, for a total maximum period of parole of five years. No more than three entrepreneurs may receive parole per start-up, including their spouses and children. As with initial parole, the grant is discretionary and may be revoked for the same reasons as an initial grant.

Applicants for this type of parole benefit will file a new type of application form specifically tailored for entrepreneurs along with a proposed application fee of $1200. Applicants would also provide biometrics.  Entrepreneur parolees will be authorized to work incident to status and will be able to work with an I-94 and a passport. The Form I-9 regulations are being changed to recognize this.

More details here

Breaking News! Obama’s DAPA Appeal to Take Center Stage in Supreme Court

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Supreme Court_dreamstime_xs_7835804The Obama administration took the battle over immigration to the Supreme Court on Friday, formally asking the justices to review a federal court decision that left in place a nationwide injunction against President Barack Obama’s sweeping initiative to grant quasi-legal status and work permits to millions of immigrants here illegally.

DAPA would grant deferred action status to those who have lived in the United States for at least 5 years and have not committed felonies or repeated misdemeanors, and have children who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents. Deferred action is not full legal status, but in this case would come with a three-year, renewable work permit and exemption from deportation. The Court will hear arguments in April and rule by June.

Read more here    From Politico here