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Orange County Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

HEIGHTENED SCRUTINY OF BUSINESS VISAS

In immigration news, the rescission of DACA and building a wall has dominated the headlines. Thankfully, heightened scrutiny in the adjudication of business visas has been prevalent. We believe this is a result of the "Buy American and Hire American" executive order issued on April 18, 2017. This executive order seeks to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers by rigorously enforcing and administering immigration laws. We also believe that while strict enforcement and adjudication are necessary, officers should take their time, when possible, to differentiate good cases from bad ones.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS, STUDENTS, AND OTHER NON-IMMIGRANTS

In today's climate, it is hard to go without a day where immigration law is not in the spotlight. However, even in 2017, some immigration regulations and policies can change quietly and without much fanfare. The case in point is the September 1, 2017, Department of State's new guidance as to misrepresentation based on conduct. Specifically, the new guidance applies to individuals who are present in the United States as tourists, students, and other non-immigrants, but engage in behavior "inconsistent with representations they made to consular officers concerning their intentions at the time of visa application or to DHS when applying for admission or for an immigration benefit." See 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3).

Alternative to DACA Advance Parole

As of September 5, 2017, United States, Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA"). Please see this article for more details. Due to this recent change, USCIS will also stop adjudicating advance parole requests that are associated with DACA.

DACA ANNOUNCEMENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMETHING BETTER

In an effort to motivate Congress to finally enact major immigration reform President Trump has officially decided to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") The announcement calls for a "rolling back" of DACA, phasing it out within the next six months. The program will officially end on March 15, 2018. This does not mean, however, that people should panic. Instead, this could result in a very positive situation for those who have benefited from DACA and perhaps others as well.

DACA ANUNCIO UNA OPORTUNIDAD PARA ALGO MEJOR

En un esfuerzo por motivar al Congreso para que finalmente promulgue una reforma migratoria importante, el Presidente Trump decidio oficialmente cancelar la Acción Diferida para las Llegadas de la Niñez ("DACA") El anuncio llama a un "retroceso" de DACA, eliminándolo en los próximos seis meses. El programa terminará oficialmente el 15 de marzo de 2018. Esto no significa, sin embargo, que la gente debe entrar en pánico. En cambio, esto podría resultar en una situación muy positiva para aquellos que se han beneficiado de DACA y tal vez otros también.

The R.A.I.S.E. Act - A Proposed "Points-Based" Immigration System

Achieving immigration reform at the congressional level is extremely difficult. As such, most action geared towards immigration reform has been done via Executive Order. President Trump has long expressed his interests in reforming our immigration policies to a more merit-based system. With the signing of his Executive Order earlier this year, he tasked four federal agencies with the review and recommendation of changes pertaining to employment-based worker programs. The ultimate stated goals were: to prevent fraud and abuse and to safeguard American jobs.

Immigration Bond Hearings: What You Need to Know

Earlier this year in January, President Trump signed executive orders designed to place greater focus on removal of certain immigrants that are in the country without permission. In February, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, issued memos detailing on how the President's executive orders would be enforced. The memos expand the categories of people classified as "priorities for removal."

Recent Developments Following President Trump's Executive Order - USCIS to Narrow Targets for Site Visits and DOL To Increase Enforcement of Visa Programs

Following the signing of President Trump's Executive order on April 18th, four federal agencies were tasked with reviewing and recommending changes pertaining to employment-based foreign worker programs in order to prevent fraud and abuse and to ensure that visas were being awarded to the most skilled and highest-paid individuals. Naturally, companies known for using these employment-based visa worker programs were concerned.

President Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order

On April 18th, President Trump signed an executive order which focused on two areas of the administration's policy: protection of American jobs ("Hire American") and preference for U.S.-manufactured goods ("Buy American"). With regards to the protection of U.S. jobs, the order includes a section directed to the H-1B visa program.

NEW IMMIGRATION AVENUE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

On January 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") published its final adaptation of the International Entrepreneur Rule ("Rule"). The Rule authorizes DHS to exercise its discretion to grant parole to foreign entrepreneurs who would provide a significant public benefit to the United States. Significant public benefit includes enhancing innovation, generating capital investments, and creating jobs. The parole period is valid for up to 30 months and may be extended for an additional 30 months.

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