Posts

The Complexity of Immigration Law

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I was recently asked what I'd like non-immigration attorneys to know about the practice of immigration law. The first thing that came to mind is it's complexity.  This is not to say other areas of law are not incredibly complex, but a flavor of what a typical immigration lawyer encounters may be enlightening for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. In a landmark decision expanding rights of noncitizens regarding proper immigration advice before a guilty plea, the U.S. Supreme Court specifically stated, “Immigration law can be complex, and it is a legal specialty of its own.” Padilla v Kentuck y (2010).  The court was right to underscore this, and it’s understandable how many can overlook just how complex immigration law is. For example, different “legal statuses” exist for noncitizens depending on their purpose of entry. There are temporary entries ranging from visitor or student, to refugee and myriad of narrowly defined occupations.  Then there is Legal Permanent Residency, or &quo

How It Started, How It's Going: Biden On Immigration?

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I think most immigration advocates agree it's been a mixed bag.  There were immediate reversals of SOME of President Trump's most anti-immigration executive orders, but not all.  Suprising, given President Biden's pro-immigrant rhetoric. One example is the refugee moratorium, which the administration declined to lift until there was a public outcry.  Another is the many months it took the AG to recind the onerous Castro-Tum decision, which imposed procedural restrictions on immigration judges.   I myself had a client who grew up in the US but was deported under Castro-Tum rule, even though the immigration judge HERSELF ruled he was eligible for a U Visa. Before Castro-Tum, he could have stayed in America waiting for its approval. Under Castro-Tum, he was deported to a life in Mexico he's never known.  How many countless noncitizens were unfairly deported while Merrick Garland delayed this no-brainer move? Castro-Tum should have been rescinded the day he was confirmed.  

Biden Issues Day-One Immigration Changes

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The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, has issued  immigration changes on his inaugural day .  His transition organization issued a fact sheet laying out many executive orders to sign as he steps into the White House for the first time as U.S. President, including several immigration policies.  UPDATE 01/21/21: Those executive orders and actions are now in effect and their language can be found on the White House web page or this link . Day-1 executive orders orders are commonly prepared and signed by all modern U.S. Presidents.  Some are meant to reinforce the new President's priorities, and some are to temporarily suspend the previous President's orders, especially prior agency regulations that have not yet been finalized and may be cancelled by the President/agency heads. President Biden's inaugural schedule includes primarily ceremonial visits.  But once he arrives at his new abode for the next four years, he will step into the oval office and take his fir

BREAKING (AGAIN): H1B and L Visa Ban

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BREAKING: President Trump has just signed an executive order suspending all new, out of country, H1B visas (tech workers and some doctors), as well as H2B visas (seasonal agricultural workers), L visas (intracompany transfers, mainly tech), and J visas (doctors and hospitality/exchange students). At the moment it expires at the end of 2020, but will certainly go to court as with the prior refugee and “Muslim” bans. https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/

Corona Virus Immigration Impacts

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UPDATE06/17/2020:  BREAKING: US government denial of COVID relief to noncitizen students has been blocked by a judge. Check with your DSO! In a letter to colleges last April, the Education Department advised colleges to only give relief funds to students who typically qualify for federal financial aid, excluding international students and beneficiaries of DACA. The letter was not binding at the time. In May, the California community college system filed a lawsuit against the DOE alleging that DeVos exceeded her authority in barring colleges to give aid to whom they please. U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted an injunction blocking the Department of Education from enforcing their CARES Act guidance on June 17, 2020. The proposed rule will be up for public comment for 30-days until July 17. During this time period, anyone from the public can file a comment on regulations.gov for the agency to consider. Once the rule is finalized, it will be binding on colleg

BREAKING: Supreme Court Preserves DACA—For Now.

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BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court has denied the government’s attempt to eliminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (#DACA).  I do believe the decision requires a “but,” because the (slim) majority decision does affirm USCIS’s legal ability to eliminate it, just that it failed to provide the legal rationale required by the Administrative Procedures Act.  Further analysis is needed as to whether the government could even realistically offer such rationale in the future.  Initial conclusion is that #DACA is good for now, but still not 100% safe. Here is the decision for further details:  Supreme Court DACA Decison

New Employer Handbook

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This week USCIS released a new Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9.  Many people don’t realize the I-9 form, filled out by new employees—citizens and noncitizens alike—is actually an immigration form.  All businesses with employees should carefully review the changes in this handbook. The new I-9 form itself began Jan. 31, 2020. https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/handbook-employers-m-274