Category: Immigration law

Dreamers Held Hostage
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Dreamers Held Hostage | Mitchell Zwaik

{1:54 minutes to read} No one should have been surprised when the Trump administration announced that it would require massive new immigration restrictions in exchange for agreeing to extend benefits for 800,000 Dreamers.

Most expected that the price for the Dreamers would be paid for in a wall along the southern border, but many hoped the payoff would stop there. It has not. Instead, the administration is pushing its entire anti-immigrant agenda, pitting the Dreamers against virtually every other immigrant group.

How Can Illegal Immigrants Become Legal?
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How Can Illegal Immigrants Become Legal? | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:54 minutes to read} President Trump and many others in this country have been upset about the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States and the fact that few of them are obtaining permanent residency through the normal processing mechanisms. Although their grievance is understandable, it is also necessary to understand that the present system makes it impossible for most undocumented immigrants to “get legal.” It's because the current legal structure prevents them from becoming permanent residents.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

DACA and the Sacrificial Lambs
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DACA and the Sacrificial Lambs | Mitchell Zwaik

{1:30 minutes to read} The reported discussions between President Trump and the Democratic leadership to extend protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients was welcome news but hardly cause for celebration. As always, the devil is in the details.
Most importantly, it leaves unanswered the issue of the other 10 million undocumented immigrants. Are they to be sacrificed to obtain status for Dreamers?

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

The Demise of DAPA Wasn’t Enough?
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The Demise of DAPA Wasn’t Enough? | Mitchell Zwaik

{1:54 minutes to read} The decision by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a nasty, mean-spirited act that does nothing to:
  • Increase US security;
  • Support the rule of law; or
  • Help the US economy.
And the fact that the Attorney General mentioned in his announcement that these Dreamers were taking jobs away from US workers was the vilest lie of all.
So, let's be clear. That's what it is. A lie. It’s not a difference of opinion or a mistaken interpretation. It’s a lie by people who want to curtail immigration for racial and social reasons.

The RAISE Act: Misleading and Bad for America
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The RAISE Act: Misleading and Bad for America | Laraine Burks

In August, President Trump promoted the RAISE Act. The Republican-sponsored Act would cut the number of green cards by 50%, adversely affect families presently in the US, and limit refugee status to 50,000 people.

The bill faced united opposition from the Democrats. It was officially doomed when seven Republican senators opposed it, making passage even by a simple majority unattainable.

Even though the Act is considered dead for 2017, I think it is worthwhile to examine some of the false claims made by its sponsors (Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia), the president, and other supporters.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

H-2B Visas: Too Little, Too Late?
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H-2B Visas: Too Little, Too Late? | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:54 minutes to read} The administration finally issued its regulations regarding the process for allocating additional H-2B visas during the late summer and early fall. H-2B visas are visas for seasonal or peak workers in the New York metropolitan area. They're most commonly used on Long Island and the East End for hotels or pool companies, for example, that do all or most of their business during the summer months. These workers come up, usually from the Caribbean or Central South America, work for up to 10 months, and then go back once the season is over. It's a win-win. The employers fill a need during the busy season and the workers are legal, paying taxes, and return home when the season is over.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

300,000 Legal Immigrants Fear End of TPS
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300,000 Legal Immigrants Fear End of TPS | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:24 minutes to read} Over 300,000 individuals from Haiti and Central America, living legally in the U.S. under TPS, are fearful of losing their status under the Trump Administration. U.S. immigration law provides for a special program called Temporary Protected Status also known as TPS. This program allows the DHS Secretary to provide temporary legal status and work authorization to citizens of a country, or countries, suffering through the devastation caused by a political or natural disaster. Currently, people from Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are benefiting from this program. These are people who were in the U.S. when these disasters occurred.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

The Demise of DAPA
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The Demise of DAPA | Mitchell C. Zwaik

{3:18 minutes to read} Thursday, June 22, the President issued a policy directive that essentially extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is the program that granted safe status for young people who had entered the United States as children. At the same time, he terminated Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which is the executive action President Obama had announced that extended safe status for parents of US citizens.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

The Supreme Court Allows a Limited Portion of the President’s Travel Ban
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The Supreme Court Allows a Limited Portion of the President’s Travel Ban | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:24 minutes to read} The Supreme Court recently allowed certain parts of the President's travel ban to go into effect. That travel ban had been halted or stayed by lower federal courts that claimed it was discriminatory and unconstitutional. What the Supreme Court has said in effect is that they will deal with that issue in the fall, but over the summer, they are going to let a small part of the travel ban go into effect.

The Court didn't permit the entire executive order to be implemented.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

Revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
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Revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification | Jeff Margolis

By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016 . Until then, they can continue to use the version dated 03/08/2013  or the new version.  Overview Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.

Click here to read Jeff Margolis's full article

Why is DHS Delaying the Additional H-2B Visas Authorized by Congress?
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Why is DHS Delaying the Additional H-2B Visas Authorized by Congress? | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:06 minutes to read} A recent article in the New York Times has highlighted the fact that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet extended, or increased, the number of H-2B visas, despite the fact that Congress authorized an increase. It seems logical that Congress would not have authorized it if they did not intend for DHS to issue these visas.  These visas are for seasonal workers who typically come into the United States for periods of 6, 8, or 10 months in order to work for companies that have a high need for employees during certain periods of time. Here on the east end of Long Island, traffic in the Hamptons explodes during the summertime. If you travel to the Hamptons at this time of year, you will see "Help Wanted" signs everywhere you go.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

Recent Executive Orders – Report to Clients: Be Prepared
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Recent Executive Orders – Report to Clients: Be Prepared by Jeff Margolis

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The following is an explanation of the executive order and how it may affect you, your employees, or your family. This report attempts to explain who is affected by the ban, the effects on travelling outside the US based on advance parole, and the steps you can take to secure your status in the United States.

Click here to read Jeffrey Margolis's full article...

Winning the H-1B Lottery — Part 2
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{3:42 minutes to read} In Part 1 of this series, we covered the basics of the H-1B visa and the lottery used to randomly pick the 85,000 “winners.” In Part 2, we look at some of the controversy surrounding the H-1B.

Unfortunately, there are abuses in the system. These abuses generally focus on a relatively small number of companies that file thousands of visa applications in the hope that a certain number of those will be picked. These businesses are generally computer consulting companies who function largely out of India and provide computer programmers for US employers.

Temporary Protective Status for Haitians
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On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing 300,000 people. Because of the devastation, 50,000 Haitians residing in the United States were provided Temporary Protective Status (TPS)—a designation that comes with certain privileges granted by the United States Customs and Immigrations Service (USCIS).   The new administration is considering allowing Haiti’s TPS to expire, supposedly to cut costs. However, the amount of potential savings is minimal compared to the economic impact of disrupting the lives of thousands of people and their place in the United States workforce.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

Winning the H-1B Lottery — Part 1
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Winning the H-1B Lottery — Part 1 | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:42 minutes to read} The H-1B program provides temporary work visas for professionals, largely in the computer programming field. IT professionals are the largest number of H-1B visas, but all professionals are covered by the H-1B, meaning people who have a bachelor’s degree or better; engineers, architects, et cetera. There are 85,000 visas allotted to the H-1B category, divided into two distinct groups: 65,000 for those with bachelor’s degrees and 20,000 for those with master’s degrees.

The Budget Reconciliation Bill Significantly Increases H-2B Visas
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The Budget Reconciliation Bill Significantly Increases H-2B Visas |  Mitchell Zwaik

{2:12 minutes to read} The budget reconciliation bill that was recently passed through Congress has an important immigration provision in it, which allows for significantly increased H-2B visas for this fiscal year.

An H-2B is a visa that allows people to enter the United States legally in order to perform work for seasonal businesses. A perfect example in Long Island is people who work in the restaurants, hotels, motels, pool companies, coffee shops, et cetera on the Eastern End and South Shore of Long Island during the holiday/summer season.

AILA Lobby Day 2017
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It was with a heavy heart that I had to miss the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Lobby Day this year. Having attended for two years in a row, I know the impact my colleagues at AILA have when meeting with representatives and senators—and how fulfilling the day can be to all the participants. With the new administration has come new enforcement policies that have captured the attention of the world. But while Americans with foreign ties were grappling to understand the hastily put together travel ban and its successor, the problem of unaccompanied minors, or unaccompanied alien children (UAC) as referred to by Immigration, continues to grow.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

American Immigration Lawyers Association — National Day of Action 2017
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American Immigration Lawyers Association — National Day of Action 2017 | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:18 minutes to read} On April 6th, I was in Washington DC as part of a contingent of immigration lawyers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). This was our National Day of Action, the purpose of which is to meet with members of the House and the Senate, in order to work with or at least discuss the issues in immigration law that we feel are most important. Attendance this year numbered over 550 members, which is far and away the largest group that's ever appeared for the National Day of Action.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

Are You in One of Immigration’s Targeted Groups?
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Are You in One of Immigration’s Targeted Groups? | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:54 minutes to read} Among the many “hot topics” surrounding immigration these days, one is about people being rounded up and detained. There is an old cliché: When everybody's a priority, nobody's a priority. There are a lot of people who are priorities, but within that priority system, there are certain people in particular who are being targeted by immigration and need to be careful. People with a Criminal Record

Anybody who has any kind of a criminal record is a target. The Administration talks about deporting drug dealers, gang members, rapists and child molesters, but the people they are picking up are people who have relatively minor offenses, such as DUIs or driving without a license.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

What to Do If ICE (Immigration Agents) Comes to Your Home
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What to Do If ICE (Immigration Agents) Comes to Your Home | Laraine Schwartz

Frequently, and most recently, immigrants have been relating that they are fearful about what to do if ICE goes to their home. In this blog, I share advice from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about what to do if ICE knocks on your door.

  • If any officers come to your door, keep the door closed and ask if they are from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or if they are immigration agents. If they are, ask them why they are there. Although opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, it still is safer to speak to ICE through the door. If the agents do not speak your language, you can ask for an interpreter.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

Bar or Ban: The Impact Could Be Devastating
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Bar or Ban: The Impact Could Be Devastating | Mitchell Zwaik

Note: Since we created this article there have been numerous developments. Last week, President Trump issued his “reworked” Executive Order effective March 16. This order is substantially the same as the first one. Its legality is being challenged by a number of states.
{4:30 minutes to read} Although there is currently a nationwide stay in effect that blocks President Trump's Executive Order of Friday, January 27, the administration is said to be considering a reworking of the legislation that would allow individuals from the seven “banned countries” to enter the US if they had visas that were issued before the ban went into effect.

Is the H-1B in Danger From the Trump Administration?
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Is the H-1B in Danger From the Trump Administration? | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:48 minutes to read} H-1B season is upon us. H-1Bs are visas for professional workers. They are used primarily for high-tech companies bringing in computer programmers, engineers, etc.
The start date for the new visas is October 1st, the beginning of the government's fiscal year. You can apply for the visas six months before the start date, which is April 1st.
The limit on H-1B visas is 65,000 for people with bachelor's degrees, plus 20,000 for people with master's degrees. This limit is exhausted every year. Last year there were about 240,000 applications filed on April 1st for the 85,000 visas.

Will the Actions of the President be Counterproductive to His Goals?
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Will the Actions of the President be Counterproductive to His Goals? | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:00 minutes to read} Within a few days of his inauguration, the new President threw more than sixty years of US immigration policy into the shredder. He began with a war of words with Mexico and ended with a Muslim ban he later claimed was neither a ban nor directed at Muslims. This offensive is not only counterproductive in terms of cooperation with other countries in the general sense of the word, but it may very well become counterproductive in terms of his immigration policies. It sent a signal to the rest of the world that the US no longer welcomes immigrants.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

The Unfolding Story of Immigration in the U.S.
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The Unfolding Story of Immigration in the U.S. | Mitchell Zwaik

{3:00 minutes to read} What is going to happen with regard to immigration when the new administration takes office on January 20th? The simple answer is, we don’t know. Many immigrants in the United States, including some who have green cards, are experiencing a feeling of angst and fear. This is particularly true with undocumented Hispanics and many Muslims, including those in legal status in the US. The level of fear and concern is the highest I've ever seen. In many respects, it's worse than immediately after 9/11 when Muslims living in this country, legally and illegally, were terrified of what was going to happen.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

H1-B Visas in the Crosshairs
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H1-B Visas in the Crosshairs | Laraine Schwartz

With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the Immigration community is left wondering which, if any, of his proposed policy changes will come to fruition. One issue that has the support of several key congressional leaders is restricting H1-B visas. The H1-B visa is specifically for foreign workers in “specialty occupations” which require “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.”

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

Immigration: 2 Things to Do Before the New Administration Takes Office
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Immigration: 2 Things to Do Before the New Administration Takes Office | Mitchell Zwaik

{3:36 minutes to read} What is going to happen with regard to immigration when the new administration takes office on January 20th? The simple answer is, we don’t know. There are 2 things I’m recommending that people do ASAP. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) There's a bill pending in the Senate, which would extend DACA. DACA is the Obama Executive Order that provides employment authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. under the age of 16, have lived here since June of 2007, and graduated or are attending school in this country.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

Can Your Business Investment Bring You to the United States?
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Can Your Business Investment Bring You to the United States? | Steve Maggi

{3:00 minutes to read} Business owners and investors are using Treaty Investor visa, also known as the  E-2 visa, to set up shop in the US. The E-2 visa allows passport holders from any of the 80 E-2 countries that have treaties with the US to set up businesses in the US. Those businesses can be franchises or operations that the foreign national purchased.

Click here to read Steve Maggi's full article...

DHS Takes First Step Towards Using Social Media to Investigate Applicants for Entry to U.S.
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DHS Takes First Step Towards Using Social Media to Investigate Applicants for Entry to U.S. | Claudia Slovinsky

{7 minutes to read} The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a regulation aimed at broadening its authority to gather information about immigrants’ social media presence. The proposal is to add the following question to the I-94W (Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record) and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), both of which are required to be completed by travelers under the Visa Waiver Program prior to being admitted into the US. (The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens or nationals of 38 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business stays of 90 days or less, without first obtaining a visa.)

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

When Don’t You Need an Affidavit of Support to Get a Green Card?
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When Don’t You Need an Affidavit of Support to Get a Green Card? | Claudia Slovinsky

{5:36 minutes to read} The Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is a requirement for most family-based green card cases and some employment based green card applications. It is a legally enforceable contract to ensure that the green card applicant—the family member applying for his/her green card—will have adequate means of financial support and is unlikely to become a “public charge” after entering the United States. A “public charge” refers to a person who becomes reliant on the government for certain public assistance or benefits. An applicant for a green card must prove that he or she is not likely to become a public charge, otherwise he or she will be found to be inadmissible to the United States.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article..