Last Friday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new policy for immigration courts that requires judges to go through more cases in a day than they are currently. The new quota requiring judges to complete 700 cases a year is a direct threat to due process and fundamental fairness because immigrants facing deportation, including those seeking asylum in the immigration courts, will have less time to get a lawyer and immigration judges will be unnecessarily rushed in the consideration and adjudication of each case. This is clearly a violation of due process. Read more here.
Trump and anti-immigrant zealots in the GOP love to confuse the immigration debate by labelling lawful family-based immigration laws and procedures with the ominous-sounding pejorative of “chain migration”. Don’t fall for it! The bottom line is that the law allows certain, not all, individuals who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to petition for family members in the name of family reunification. This is a good thing. Read The New York Times' take here.
Timothy R. Bakken
A series of articles nicely describes the current state of the employment-based immigration environment in the U.S., the outlook for 2018, and responses from U.S. high tech businesses and employees.
First, requests for additional evidence and denials of H-1B Petition are at an all-time high. In fact, the CIS denied more than twice as many H-1B petitions in November 2017 compared to the same time last year. Second, Bloomberg summarizes expected trends in employment-based immigration in 2018, including increased enforcement and increased scrutiny of all immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions filed by U.S. employers. Finally, U.S. tech companies are increasingly looking to Canada as a base of operations due to Canada’s more welcoming and more easily navigable employment-based immigration system.
Timothy R. Bakken
This article describes what I am seeing in my direct experience in the world of U.S. business immigration. The CIS is issuing excessive requests for additional evidence even where an applicant is seeking an extension of an existing status with no changes in the underlying job duties, job location, or conditions of employment. Granted, the law properly requires petitioning companies and applicants to establish eligibility for the requested status. But, the current administration has issued guidelines that encourage CIS officers to demand more and more evidence of obvious facts (and give more leeway to deny petitions). One particularly egregious and comical example from my own practice: The CIS asked my client, a huge, well-known airline, to prove it was an existing business as part of its H-1B petition for a financial analyst. The petition was approved but only after unnecessary expense and time spent proving facts that are common knowledge to any living, breathing person. These new interpretations of existing law and regulations are inefficient and wasteful and contradict any professed goal of streamlining government bureaucracy. And, to be clear, I wholeheartedly support a crackdown on unscrupulous companies that abuse the H-1B program or any visa program. The current administration’s new rules and unreasonable interpretations of existing laws and regulations do not effectively address visa fraud because they treat law-abiding companies with long histories of closely following immigration law the same as companies that abuse the system.
Timothy R. Bakken
Following are updated links to some Department of State web pages. The old links will no longer work.
· U.S. Visa website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html
· Visa Appointment & Processing Wait Times: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html