So much for immigration reform. It has been nearly two years since the Obama administration began its aggressive strategy of rounding up and deporting immigrants deemed to be illegally present in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reported a plan to begin an aggressive nationwide surge in these efforts over the next thirty days. This surge will focus on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States. The operation will also target minors who entered the country without a guardian and are now 18 years old. According to the Obama administration, this is consistent with their enforcement priorities, which include not just criminal aliens but also recent border crossers.
A New Nonimmigrant Visa Revocation Policy is creating significant concerns and potential problems for nonimmigrants lawfully present in the United States. On November 5, 2015 the U.S. Department of State Visa Office notified consular officers to begin prudential revocation nonimmigrant visas previously issued to individuals who have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Why? Because a DUI is indicative of possible visa ineligibility under INA 212(a)(1)(A)(iii) due to physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior. Conviction is NOT required! REALLY?!? Aren't you innocent until proven guilty? Nope! Not in the never, never land of 212(a)(1)(A)(iii). Wow!
Immigrants come to the United States to build a better life for themselves. Sometimes they are fleeing dangerous situations. Unfortunately, many arrive in this country only to find that they are faced with an entirely new set of threats. A pair of recent news releases from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) detail some of the unique schemes that have been used to defraud immigrants.
When it comes to immigration law matters, misconceptions abound. K-1 visas, also referred to as fiancé visas, are complex. However, matters may become unnecessarily challenging when petitioners and fiancés fall prey to myths about the process. Here are five important myths to be aware of if you are petitioning for a fiancé visa:
From the very start of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants have been controversial.
Upon announcing his run for the White House, he made statements that implied that most immigrants from Mexico are involved in drugs and criminal activity. In the following months, he has continued to make statements about building a border wall, among other actions to curb immigration. Has this led to a surge in legal Mexican immigrants seeking naturalization to vote against Trump? A recent article in the New York Times speculates that it has.
Immigration, counterterrorism and social media. We all knew this was coming. Social media is, well, social. Anything we put out on social media stays there and is available for the world to view. That view can be by good guys or by bad guys. In his February 11th State of Homeland Security remarks, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson addressed DHS' renewed efforts to ensure that counterterrorism will remain the cornerstone of the DHS mission.
Justice Scalia - His Surprising Impact on Immigration Cases
This past Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Texas v. USA, a case that could be the most important case of 2016 - and not because this case comes in an election year.
In November 2014, President Obama issued an executive order to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was intended to impact millions of individuals that are in the country without authorization. The purpose behind the order was the recognition that the Federal government does not have the money and other resources to hunt down, arrest and then deport everyone in the country that is here without authorization (even if the government wanted to). Consequently, Obama ordered the DHS to focus its enforcement efforts against certain groups of people, such as those with serious criminal backgrounds. In other words, since DHS can't arrest and deport everyone, they should go after those people that everyone agrees shouldn't be in our country. Makes sense!
Despite what is being spewed from conservatives and other right-wing organizations, Obama's order does not let everyone else "off the hook." For practical purposes, for everyone else, the order essentially means the DHS will come looking for them later - they're just not a priority right now. As a result, understanding that this order would mean that there will be millions of undocumented people in the country that the DHS is not targeting at this time, the order allows these people to come out of the shadows and apply for permission to work legally. Of course being granted permission to work does not give these millions of people any lawful status, but it does create several huge benefits both for the individual and our country.
You would not think that immigration reform and terrorism would be part of a major appropriations bill. However, yesterday, Congress released the 2016 omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year (through September 30, 2016). The attorneys at Miley & Brown join with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in applauding Congress for passing a bill that, among other things, largely rejects efforts that would force through anti-immigrant or anti-refugee proposals that have been offered by some members of Congress. Such proposals arise largely from over reaction and fear. That is exactly what the terrorists would want us to do. I think we should take a cue from the British (and the French), "keep a stiff upper lip and carry on." Miley & Brown also joins with AILA to voice our deep disappointment that Congress included changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which discriminate against nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan, as well as people who travel to those countries. We believe that targeting a group of people based upon their religion only serves to alienate those persons and that this, in turn, makes our country less safe and secure. We are living in a time when engaging with and working with our Muslim friends (and our friends of all religions) is necessary in our fight against terrorism. Let us remember that there are ties between all men and women living on this earth.
Most immigrants coming to the United States on a work visa do not expect life to be easy, but few expect mistreatment and exploitation. Unfortunately, that is what some immigrant workers face thanks to unscrupulous employers and challenging immigration laws.
A recent article in The Nation details the story of Shellion Parris, a Jamaican immigrant who came to the US on an H-2B visa to participate in the guestworker program. She spent what little money she had on a one-way flight and on fees to a recruitment organization tied to a company that provides cleaning services to luxury hotels.