Applying For Permanent Residence While On An H-1B Visa

If you are an immigrant who is here in the United States on a temporary work visa, in most cases, you may not apply for permanent residence in the U.S. However, the H-1B temporary nonimmigrant work visa is an exception. How do H-1B temporary employees apply for lawful permanent residence, and what is the role of the employer who originally acquired the visa? Keep reading – you’ll learn those answers and more.

But first, a brief explanation of the H-1B visa. U.S.-based businesses use H-1B visas to hire scientists, engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and other international workers with highly specialized skills and knowledge. Every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B visa petitions from U.S.-based employers during a short filing period that begins on April 1st.

At the present time, 85,000 H-1B visas are made available to U.S.-based employers every year, and the demand for those visas far exceeds the supply. Of the 85,000 H-1B visas offered annually, 20,000 are reserved for immigrants who hold advanced degrees from U.S.-based institutions.

WHEN DO H-1B VISAS EXPIRE?

The remaining 65,000 H-1B visas go to employers hiring international workers who possess (at least) a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The H-1B visa is good for three years and may be renewed once for a maximum of six years. H-1B visas are quite difficult – but not impossible – for employers to acquire.

In fact, scores of employers across the United States are right now determining their H-1B visa needs for the filing period which will begin on April 1, 2018. If you are a U.S.-based employer and you need to acquire H-1B visas for international employees, you must understand that the competition among employers for these visas is intense.

There are no guarantees, but an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney can help an employer avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes might keep a company from obtaining the H-1B visas it needs. A good immigration lawyer can also help an employer complete and file the Form ETA 9089 as well as the Form I-140 – explained below – and can put an employer in the best possible position to acquire H-1B visas.

IF YOU ARE SEEKING A GREEN CARD, CAN AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP?

For the international employee/visa holder, your application for an H-1B work visa permits you to indicate your intention to seek lawful permanent resident status as one of the reasons you are requesting an H-1B visa and entry into the United States. An experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney can guide you through the application process and help you understand the terms and conditions of a temporary H-1B work visa.

When you arrive in the United States with an H-1B visa, you may begin the process of seeking permanent residence status. What’s the first step? Your employer must apply for Permanent Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). After the Permanent Labor Certification application (Form ETA 9089) is submitted, the procedure usually takes from 120 to 180 days.

A labor certification from the DOL verifies that there are not enough qualified and available U.S. workers for the position that is being filled by the international employee, and it additionally confirms that hiring an international employee will not negatively impact the working conditions or wages of U.S. workers in comparable positions.

WHAT IS FORM I-140?

After approval of Form ETA 9089, the employer must file Form I-140 (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”). Form I-140 establishes that the international employee qualifies for an immigrant visa based on employment and that the U.S.-based employer has the funds and assets necessary to pay the worker the wage confirmed in the labor certification process.

Most employers will need the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney through the labor certification process. If you are the employee, however, and the company goes out of business while the labor certification is pending, you’ll either have to leave the U.S., immediately find another employer and transfer your H-1B work visa, or apply for a tourist visa to legally remain in the United States.

If you are a U.S.-based employer or an H-1B specialized international employee with concerns or questions about permanent labor certification, let an experienced immigration lawyer help. For example, your attorney can review or help you fill out the Form ETA 9089 to ensure your compliance with the DOL’s many permanent labor certification regulations.

WHAT IS ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS?

“Adjustment of Status” is the process of applying for permanent resident status in the United States; it’s the final step of the H-1B visa-to-lawful permanent resident process. To apply for Adjustment of Status, the H-1B visa holder must submit Form I-485 (“Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”).

Lawful permanent residents – “green card” holders – may live, work, and attend school in the United States and may travel abroad at will. However, they may not vote or hold certain federal jobs, and when lawful permanent residents are convicted of crimes or otherwise abuse their status, they may be subject to deportation.

WHAT SHOULD THOSE WHO SEEK GREEN CARDS KEEP IN MIND?

If you are an international employee who is in the United States on an H-1B visa and you are ready to seek a green card, or if you are not ready but you want to learn more about lawful permanent resident status, speak personally with an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney, and take seriously these suggestions:

Don’t become a victim. No one legally sells visas, green cards, or other immigration documents. Steer clear of the con artists and always have the advice of a good immigration lawyer.

Fill out every form and document accurately and completely. Otherwise, your application could be delayed or even rejected. A good immigration lawyer will see to its that your forms are complete and accurate and that all deadlines are met.

Make and keep copies of all immigration-related forms, documents, and other papers. Whenever you send an immigration document through the U.S. Postal Service, send it by certified mail and ask for a return receipt that will confirm the delivery.

Whether you are the employer or the employee, a good immigration attorney will be able to answer your immigration-related questions and address your concerns. And because acquiring an H-1B visa isn’t something that can be guaranteed, an experienced immigration lawyer also will explain your other visa options and help you obtain the visas – or the green card – that you need.

Five Things Business Owners Should Know About DACA

The fate of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – will be determined by Congress, but since the Trump Administration rescinded the program in September, many business owners are concerned about their employees who have been working legally under DACA. Will employers be able to keep these employees, or will they be lost? What consequences will they face? If you’re an employer or a “Dreamer,” keep reading, and you’ll learn some answers.

The end of the DACA program, at least for now, will impact more than 700,000 Dreamers – the undocumented immigrants who were minors when they were brought to the U.S. by their parents – who have been protected from deportation by the program. Beginning with the announcement of the DACA program’s cancellation on September 5th, Congress has six months to renew the program or to implement an alternative.

If no Congressional action is forthcoming, the Dreamers who have been protected by DACA may lose their ability to live, attend school, and hold a job in the United States. Thus, the concerns of employers are real and understandable according to Sara Itucas, who’s a client solution specialist with TriNet, a California-based human resources agency.

WILL U.S. EMPLOYERS BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR DACA EMPLOYEES?

TriNet serves approximately 14,000 companies with staffing and payroll services. Many of those companies have hired employees who were protected by DACA, and several of the businesses are actually owned by Dreamers. Most employers she speaks with “want to find out how to keep them,” Ms. Itucas told CNN.

“From an employer’s standpoint,” she said, “they are qualified workers and valuable members of the team.” Ms. Itucas said that since September 5th, employers have been asking TriNet five key questions about the DACA program and the Dreamers. What is it that employers want – and need – to know?

Listed below are the five questions and the best current answers – so keep reading if you are an employer or a Dreamer – but until Congress takes action, some of the answers must be tentative rather than final. If you are an employer who hired workers under DACA – or a Dreamer who’s worked or attended school in the U.S. under DACA – consult an experienced Ohio immigration attorney for the sound and specific legal advice that applies to your own situation.

1. DO DACA EMPLOYEES NO LONGER HAVE WORK AUTHORIZATION?

If Congress takes no action, the DACA program itself is set to end on March 5, 2018, but a Dreamer’s work authorization will remain in effect until its expiration date. If the DACA program is not renewed or replaced, when a Dreamer’s work authorization expires, he or she will not be legally allowed to seek or hold employment in the U.S.

If you are a Dreamer and you are currently employed in the United States under DACA, you can find the date when your work permit will expire by checking your I-795 Approval Notice and by looking at the bottom of your Employment Authorization Document.

2. IF AN EMPLOYEE HAS NOT APPLIED FOR DACA PROTECTION OR A WORK PERMIT, IS IT TOO LATE?

It’s now too late for anyone to take advantage of the current DACA Program. The final applications were accepted by the Department of Homeland Security in September, when the tentative end of the DACA program was announced.

3. IF AN EMPLOYEE’S DACA ELIGIBILITY EXPIRES, IS RENEWAL STILL ALLOWED?

No. While the DACA program was operative, Dreamers had to requalify for DACA status every two years, but with the announcement of the program’s cancellation, the last day that DACA work permits could be renewed was October 5th.

4. CAN MY COMPANY SAFELY SEND A DACA EMPLOYEE OUTSIDE OF THE U.S.?

Sara Itucas at TriNet says the answer to this one is tricky. The right to travel internationally was allowed under the DACA program, but to assure reentry into the United States, Dreamers were required to obtain special permission to travel called “advance parole.” Advance parole is simply a permit issued – to allow reentry into the U.S. after travel abroad – to a non-citizen who does not have a valid immigrant visa.

At TriNet, “Generally, we are cautioning against travel,” Ms. Itucas tells CNN. Since September 5th, the United States is no longer approving advance parole for DACA Dreamers, and applications that were still pending on September 5th are no longer being processed. The Department of Homeland Security will refund any related fees that have already been paid.

While Dreamers with an advance parole document should still have no problem departing the United States and reentering, advance parole gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection the discretion to allow or block reentry of non-citizens who hold an advance parole document. Sara Itucas warns that if your employee has not already been granted advance parole, he or she should probably not travel abroad at this time.

5. WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO TO HELP THEIR DACA EMPLOYEES?

Employers can help their DACA employees by consulting an experienced immigration lawyer. An immigration attorney can probably identify some helpful visa options for a DACA employee and also help with the paperwork necessary to obtain an appropriate visa. An immigration lawyer can also identify particular immigration difficulties that an individual employee may need to have resolved.

Thus, those are the answers to the five questions that, according to TriNet, are being asked by so many employers about DACA. The Dreamers themselves, of course, are asking their own questions, but their most important question clearly is this: Can my employer in the United States fire me?

Generally speaking, without a union contract or some other work contract, employment in all fifty U.S. states is “at will,” meaning that an employer may terminate an employee at any time, provided that the employer is not illegally retaliating or discriminating against the employee. Even with valid work authorization, in most cases, an employer may legally fire you.

Most employers won’t do that – at least until Congress acts or fails to act on the future, if any, of the DACA program. An employer may agree to place an employee on a leave of absence until that employee can be authorized to work again, but that is the employer’s choice.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD THOSE WHO EMPLOY IMMIGRANTS KNOW?

However, employers should know that when any employee’s work authorization expires, that employee may no longer legally work for your business. Increasingly, businesses that hire immigrants are coming under scrutiny, and the current focus in Washington is on employer compliance. An experienced Ohio immigration attorney can help employers understand and remain compliant with the applicable immigration laws and regulations.

A number of proposals that will impact Dreamers are currently being considered by Congress, along with several proposals for a comprehensive overhaul of the entire immigration system. However, Congress is also dealing with other pressing issues – like hurricane relief and the potential threat from North Korea – so it may be months before Dreamers and their employers can have any final assurances regarding the future.

How To Get U.S. Residency Through Investment

For a number of years, obtaining a “green card” (that is, becoming a lawful permanent resident) through investment in the United States has required an investment of one million dollars in a U.S. business. The minimum investment amount can be reduced to $500,000 if the business is set in a rural location or in an area with high unemployment, a “Targeted Employment Area” or “TEA” where unemployment is at 150 percent or more of the national average. To acquire a TEA designation, a prospective EB-5 investor must invest in a project located in a rural area or a high unemployment area.

In September, President Trump signed into law H.R. 601, a continuing resolution which extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program through at least December. Some changes to the EB-5 Program may be expected at that time, and the $500,000 minimum investment amount may increase to $800,000.

Nevertheless, by providing green cards to qualified international investors, the EB-5 Investor Visa Program has created thousands of new jobs and scores of new businesses in every part of the U.S. Changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program are likely, but the passage of H.R. 601 ensures that no changes will be made prior to December of this year.

At the present time, as many as 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered each year to foreign investors who invest in projects that create a minimum of ten full-time positions for workers in the U.S. Developers in the U.S. are coming to depend more often on the investment funds that the EB-5 program provides to finance projects that include luxury hotels, new stadiums, and posh vacation resorts.

The program has provided over $6.5 billion to development projects throughout the U.S. over the last decade, and it has created more than 130,000 jobs. If you are an investor looking for a good investment in the U.S., the EB-5 Investor Visa Program might be right for you.

WHO MAY APPLY FOR AN EB-5 VISA?

Every qualified investor may apply for an EB-5 visa – it doesn’t matter what nation you are from. Through the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, international investors may reside in the United States along with immediate family members. As the terms of the EB-5 program are met over a period of months, the investors and their family members become eligible for lawful permanent residence.

Obtaining an EB-5 visa and finding the right investment opportunity is time-consuming and complicated, but scores of investors have discovered that the benefits of the EB-5 Program are well worth their patience and efforts.

Investors who have any concerns or questions about the EB-5 program should consult an experienced immigration attorney here in the United States. In fact, from anywhere in the world, you can arrange by telephone or by email to speak with an experienced Columbus immigration attorney, learn more regarding the EB-5 and your other visa options, and start the complicated visa application process.

The EB-5 Investor Visa Program offers the American Dream to those who qualify. It provides business owners and developers with an additional option for obtaining the resources they need to start up new ventures and to return prosperity to struggling businesses and communities. The usual return on an EB-5 investment is about eight percent, but the truth is that many investors are more concerned with acquiring green cards and good educations for their sons and daughters.

HOW DOES A REGION BECOME A TARGETED EMPLOYMENT AREA?

Putting an EB-5 investment in a Targeted Employment Area or TEA lowers the minimum investment requirement from $1 million to $500,000. An EB-5 investment has to be located in a rural region or in an area with a high unemployment rate in order to receive the TEA designation. To qualify as a Targeted Employment Area, the location must have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average.

To obtain a TEA designation, an EB-5 visa applicant must produce evidence that the project is located in a rural or a high unemployment area. Several types of evidence are acceptable, and a Columbus immigration lawyer can help investors compile that evidence and provide additional insights and advice. Nineteen states provide a list of the TEAs they have designated, but certifications are still issued to investors on an individual basis.

EB-5 is the sole immigration category allowing international investors entrance into the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. The EB-5 Program grew slowly after its launch in 1990, but in more recent years, the program has grown to be overwhelmingly popular. Since 2008, the visas issued through the EB-5 Program have more than quadrupled. In a single year – 2014 – EB-5 investments totaled over $2.6 billion and created over 16,000 jobs.

WHAT DO EB-5 “REGIONAL CENTERS” DO?

To attract investors, EB-5 “Regional Centers” are in rural and high-unemployment areas. Regional centers are designated by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), but they are operated privately and promote local economies through rising sales, higher regional productivity, the creation of jobs, and increased investment. Investors in regional centers do not have to prove that they themselves created the new jobs; they only have to prove that the regional center itself created ten or more new jobs, directly or indirectly, for U.S. workers.

With a December deadline approaching, investors may choose to take action immediately. The EB-5 Regional Center Program will probably be changed. The minimum investment figure – $500,000 – will probably rise, the definition of a “TEA” will likely be amended, and additional requirements for prospective investors will perhaps be required. This, investors may want to reach out to an immigration lawyer now and begin the EB-5 visa application process before Congress takes action in December.

As you read this, large development projects across the U.S. are relying on EB-5 funds. Most reform proposals would raise the minimum investment amount while reducing opportunities fraud and for misappropriation of EB-5 monies. Investors who want to take advantage of the EB-5 program should work from the start with a U.S. immigration attorney who regularly helps and represents international investors.

The EB-5 visa is a superlative path to permanent residence – and eventual citizenship – in the U.S. Investors can learn more or begin the application process by consulting an experienced Columbus immigration attorney. The time to do that is now.

Temporary Worker Visas Are On The Rise

Employers in a number of industries across the U.S. rely on the H-2B visa program. The H-2B visa program allows thousands of foreign laborers from sixty-two nations to enter the U.S. temporarily every year to work in sectors of the economy that include construction, hospitality, landscaping, and food services. While the Trump Administration has targeted a number of high-profile immigration programs, the H-2B visa program has remained untouched.

In fact, the H-2B program was expanded in July when the Department of Homeland Security announced a one-time increase of 15,000 additional visas for low-wage seasonal workers for the remainder of this fiscal year. The increase is a 45 percent jump over the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, senior Homeland Security officials told the Washington Post. Employers in the United States who want to begin taking advantage of the H-2B visa program should contact an experienced Columbus immigration attorney as quickly as possible to begin the process.

WHY IS THE H-2B VISA PROGRAM EXPANSION SO IMPORTANT?

According to Joe Savarise, speaking for the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, the expansion is a big boost to U.S.-based employers who rely on international workers to help their businesses expand and flourish. “H-2B is critically important for the hotel and lodging industry,” Savarise told the Columbus Dispatch. Some employers, however, are saying that this summer’s H-2B expansion is not enough. Kerry Scott, a program director with Más Labor, an employment agency in Lovingston, Virginia, told the Dispatch, “There’s more need for (workers) than there are visas.”

Many of the thousands of laborers who enter the United States temporarily with H-2B visas do not do want to stay in this nation permanently. One of those laborers is 30-year-old Ricardo Martinez Nolasco, who has been employed seasonally as a landscaper in Ohio, from February through November, each year for the last five years. Mr. Nolasco then returns each year to Queretaro, Mexico, where he supports his wife and two children.

In Ohio, Mr. Nolasco works for Hidden Creek Landscaping in Columbus, which uses seasonal employees and typically struggles to find local landscaping workers in the Columbus area. Gail Reinhart, Hidden Creek Landscaping’s human resources manager, constantly recruits. She works the regional job fairs, and she partners with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to post recruitment ads for candidates. Still, the company cannot find enough local employees, so Hidden Creek Landscaping relies on the H-2B visa program.

AREN’T H-2B VISAS ABOUT “CHEAP” LABOR?

Many in the United States remain uninformed regarding the details of the H-2B visa program. It’s a myth that U.S. employers use H-2B visas to obtain “cheap” labor. In fact, Ms. Reinhart told the Dispatch that the H-2B visa program is “not an easy program to use.” Companies must pay the visa filing application fees and sometimes even pay for a worker’s transportation to the United States. If a company uses an employment agency to help locate prospective employees, that’s an additional cost.

However, if you are an employer in the United States and you need employees that you can’t find locally, you should first discuss your situation with an experienced Columbus immigration attorney who can explain the H-2B visa program and help you get started.

If you are a temporary foreign worker in the United States with any questions about your employment rights, your visa, or your legal status, an experienced Columbus immigration attorney can address your questions and concerns. Immigration laws are constantly changing and evolving, so you must work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who stays abreast of current developments.

Foreign workers like Ricardo Martinez Nolasco help companies like Hidden Creek Landscaping in Columbus and scores of other employers across the United States to stay in business and prosper. Foreign employees pay income taxes, sales taxes, and rents for seasonal housing. And without the help of those international workers, Hidden Creek Landscaping’s dozens of local employees in the Columbus area would be looking for other jobs, or else the company would have to shrink and turn away customers.

WHY IS THE H-2B VISA PROGRAM SO POPULAR?

The H-2B visa program is good for business, and business people know it. Even Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach employs H-2B visa holders. “We’re talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don’t get additional H-2B workers, so we do think that fits into the ‘America First’ focus of the administration,” Homeland Security’s David Lapan told USA Today regarding the recent expansion of the H-2B program.

The H-2B visa program typically draws strong political support from both parties because lawmakers want to promote and please industries in their home states, whether it’s seafood in Maryland, skiing in Colorado, or logging in Washington State. Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said the H-2B program “is vital for businesses that desperately need temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed.”

Employers who hire foreign workers in the United States must be in compliance at all times with all immigration and employment laws. If your business hires foreign employees, do it only with the advice and help of a good immigration lawyer who routinely works on behalf of U.S. employers. When a U.S. company has international workers on the job, a number of federal laws, rules, and regulations come into play, so your business must be advised and represented by an immigration lawyer who knows the system thoroughly.

The federal government may examine an employer’s records to verify the employer’s compliance with federal law. Compliance investigations may be conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or by the U.S. State Department. An immigration lawyer can advise employers regarding E-Verify, I-9 audits, work authorization documents, and all other immigration-related concerns.

Almost every U.S.-based employer in the 21st century’s international marketplace needs the sound advice and legal services that an experienced immigration attorney can offer. If you employ international workers in the United States, or if you are an international worker yourself, you can learn more about your immigration-related legal rights, obligations, and options by speaking with an experienced and trustworthy Columbus immigration attorney.

Can a Revoked Visa be Reinstated?

If you hold a U.S. visa, you should understand that your visa can be revoked or canceled at any time and for a variety of reasons. Visa holders must adhere to the terms and conditions of the visa, and they must exit the United States when their stay expires. If you have any questions about obtaining a visa, or if you are a visa holder with any questions about the terms and conditions of your visa, have those questions answered by an experienced Ohio immigration attorney.

The United States issues two types of visas: A “nonimmigrant” visa is issued to those who have been approved for temporary stays in the United States as visitors, students, or employees. An “immigrant” visa is issued to immigrants who have been approved for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. According to CNN, in the fiscal year 2016, the United States issued more than ten million nonimmigrant visas and over 600,000 immigrant visas.

Every visa spells out the activities that are and are not permitted to the visa holder. For example, someone who holds a B-2 tourist visa cannot work or accept employment in the United States. That person would have to apply for a change of status and obtain a work visa – an H-1B visa, for example – in order to work or accept employment in the U.S.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A VISA IS REVOKED?

Visa holders who are outside of the United States should know that a consular officer is authorized to revoke both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas at any time, at his or her discretion. A revoked visa is no longer valid for entry or reentry into the United States. It is not uncommon for a consular officer to approve a visa, and after new information emerges, to revoke that same visa.

A visa can be revoked if the visa holder is deemed inadmissible to the U.S. on security, criminal, medical, financial, or other grounds, or if the visa holder is ineligible for that particular visa category. A visa might also be reinstated after new information emerges or after an interview with a consular officer, or the officer might simply suggest applying for a new visa. From 2001 through 2015, approximately 122,000 U.S. visas were revoked.

Visa revocations targeting visa holders who are already in the United States are becoming more frequent. For example, a visa may be revoked if the visa holder became involved in a criminal incident in the U.S. A minor criminal incident – even an arrest where the charge is dropped – could potentially result in a visa revocation. Any visa holder in the U.S. facing this kind of situation should contact an experienced immigration lawyer for legal assistance at once.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A VISA IS CANCELLED?

A visa cancellation is usually less serious than a revocation, and a cancellation does not necessarily mean that the visa holder is being accused of doing anything wrong. A visa might be canceled because of a minor paperwork mistake, for example, but that merely means that the mistake must be corrected before the visa can be approved. A U.S. consulate or embassy will mark the visa “Cancelled Without Prejudice,” which means that the cancellation does not impair the individual’s eligibility to obtain a valid visa and enter the United States.

A visa might also be canceled, however, if any evidence emerges that the visa holder may use the visa for a purpose other than those purposes spelled out by the visa’s terms and conditions. And a visa can be revoked if someone applies for a new visa and any evidence emerges that the old visa was misused in some way. One leading reason why visas are revoked is “overstays,” when visa holders remain in the U.S. beyond the time allowed by the visa.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the rate of overstays for business travelers and international tourists was only 0.9 percent in 2015, or about 416,000 out of about 45 million. It’s vital for visa holders to know that the “expiration date” printed on a visa is not the last day that the visa holder is allowed to be in the United States. Instead, that date indicates the last date that the visa can be used as a document for entry into the U.S.

It’s a significant difference and often the source of confusion. A visa holder’s Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is where you will find the actual date when a visa holder must exit the United States. If a visa holder remains in the United States after that date – without a pending application for a change of status or a visa extension – that individual’s visa will be automatically canceled.

IF YOUR VISA IS CANCELLED OR REVOKED, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

When a visa is canceled, the visa holder must leave the U.S. at once – or delay his or her plans to enter the U.S. – until that person has applied for and been approved for a new visa. If you believe that your visa has been unjustly, unfairly, or wrongly canceled or revoked, you should challenge that decision aggressively. In some cases, a visa revocation can result in the visa holder being barred for years – sometimes permanently – from the United States. Even the ability of your family members to obtain visas could potentially be affected.

Individuals should speak with an experienced immigration lawyer if they need legal advice about their visa status, their eligibility for admission to the United States, or any other matter of immigration law. Visa and eligibility matters are sometimes exceedingly complicated. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced Ohio immigration attorney about any questions, problems, or concerns regarding your visa or your immigration status. You’ll receive sound legal guidance.

While these are serious matters, the fact is that most problems with visas can be remedied easily with an attorney’s help, and most of the people who are facing these issues will remain eligible to obtain visas and enter the United States. Just as the government can cancel or revoke a visa, the government can reinstate a visa or issue a new visa. If it’s necessary, a good immigration lawyer can represent you before immigration authorities, protect your legal rights, and advocate on your behalf at a legal proceeding or immigration hearing.

In Some U.S. States, Crime Drops as Immigration Increases

Some of the ideas that some people have about immigration are based on confusion and fear rather than facts. For example, more immigrants inevitably means more crime, right? Think again. That kind of prejudice is being entirely debunked in 2017.

A research study released in June shows that California’s substantial decline in drug overdoses, gun violence, and juvenile crime actually parallels the increase in the state’s immigrant population. What we are learning is that more immigrants actually means less crime. How can that be?

According to a San Francisco-based non-profit, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the rate of violent crimes committed by young people in California dropped substantially in the years from 1980 through 2015, by 72 percent. In the same 35-year period, homicide arrests of urban youths in the state of California have declined by a remarkable 92 percent.

In those same 35 years, millions of immigrants arrived in the nation’s largest state – California – and a population that was two-thirds white non-Hispanic in 1980 has transitioned into a population that was about 60 percent nonwhite by 2015.

EXACTLY HOW HAS IMMIGRATION POPULATION CHANGED?

Since 1995, 3.4 million immigrants have arrived in California from a number of foreign nations. Also since 1995, two million U.S.-born residents, predominantly white, have emigrated out of the state. An estimated 2.6 million undocumented immigrants, mostly from Mexico and nations in Central America, now live in California, which became an all-minority state with no demographic majority in 1998.

The rest of the nation is projected to have no demographic majority by the 2040s. The author of the report, Mike Males, Ph.D., said his findings suggest that as diversity increases, it may be having a benign impact on crime statistics and public safety.

Males is a senior research fellow at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. He writes, “California has demonstrated substantial gains in health and safety as its demographic composition has become more diverse and immigration has increased. The state’s experience shows that racial transition can accompany greater public safety and well-being, a reality that should impact the national discussion over immigration.”

From the 1950s through the 1970s, California was a state with extraordinarily high rates of drug overdoses and violent crime. As the population becomes diversified, states like California have seen a number of genuine improvements in public health and safety.

The state’s immigration experience shows that greater public safety and well-being is one of the lesser-known effects of rising immigration. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice report comes at a moment when the nation is engaged in a contentious political controversy over so-called “sanctuary” cities.

PRECISELY WHAT ARE SANCTUARY CITIES AND HOW CAN THEY HELP IMMIGRANTS?

Sanctuary cities are those cities where police officers do not ask persons about their immigration status and do not hold undocumented immigrants in custody for immigration authorities beyond their scheduled release dates.

The Trump Administration and Attorney General Sessions have announced that they will seek ways to withhold vital federal funding – as much as $4.1 billion in federal resources – from those cities and counties that have proclaimed themselves sanctuaries. Some of the cities have even created legal defense funds to assist those immigrants targeted by the raids now being conducted by immigration officials and the Trump Administration.

A number of police officials in those cities, however, understand that a “crackdown” on sanctuary cities and undocumented immigrants will backfire and eventually result in more crime, not less. Why? Because immigrants without sanctuary protection are often afraid to report crimes committed against them to the police, out of the fear that they will be discovered as undocumented and deported back to their home countries for their lack of documentation. In sanctuary cities, however, no one is afraid to report crimes for that reason. Crimes are routinely reported and investigated, and offenders are taken off the street.

The police officers in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco (as well as other sanctuary cities like Chicago and Detroit) adhere to sanctuary-style policies that build trust and a spirit of cooperation with immigrant communities. When people in a community trust the police, that community is safer for all.

But without the information that immigrants can offer, police investigations can stall out, and crime goes up. The truth is that most undocumented immigrants have no criminal background, and they are statistically less likely to commit crimes than U.S.-born citizens. In its conclusion, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice report says:

“That these sustained declines in crime, violence, and school dropout rates have been concentrated in the groups most impacted by immigration – Californians compared to those in other states, urban residents more than rural ones, younger age groups more than older age groups, and Asian and Latino populations more than populations with a lower proportion of recent immigrants – suggests that immigration may be contributing, in part, to reduced risk” for addiction, crime, and dropping out of school.

HOW DOES IMMIGRATION BENEFIT THE ECONOMY?

Immigrants don’t increase the crime rate in the United States. In fact, as immigrants arrive, crime drops. Immigrants are not a burden on the economy, either – that’s another prejudice that’s being debunked in 2017. Immigrants are vital to the U.S. economy and a key part of the workforce.

Many immigrants have invested in job-creating enterprises in the U.S. In 2010, undocumented immigrants paid over $8 billion in sales taxes, over $1.5 billion in property taxes, and over $1 billion in personal income taxes. Immigrants also contribute to the Social Security fund, and the law prevents undocumented immigrants from obtaining food stamps or other public benefits.

Many immigrants have worked hard and struggled for years to build hope in the United States for themselves and their families. If that hope is threatened in any way, an experienced Ohio immigration lawyer can help. An Ohio immigration lawyer can explain your legal situation and options, protect your rights, and guide you through any necessary legal procedures.

If you are an immigrant in the U.S. and you are dealing with any immigration matter, consult an experienced immigration attorney right away. If you are an immigrant in the United States, do not let a simple technicality or a misunderstanding destroy what you have worked for so long and so diligently.

Bringing A Family Member To The United States Using A Petition For Alien Relative

A top priority for U.S. immigration authorities is keeping families together. When a U.S. citizen submits an I-130 visa petition on behalf of an immediate relative, the system is supposed to let immediate relatives obtain green cards quickly. While the immigration process favors immediate relatives over almost all other immigrants, it still takes far too long to process I-130 visa petitions. An Ohio immigration attorney can help.

If you are a citizen of the United States and you have a spouse and/or children who are not U.S. citizens, and if you want to bring your spouse and/or children to the United States, you’ll need to start the process by completing an I-130 visa petition form with the help of an experienced Ohio immigration attorney. The I-130, known as the “Petition for Alien Relative,” is one of the forms most frequently handled by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

By filing a Petition for Alien Relative, a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident establishes a familial relationship with a non-citizen and indicates an intention to help that person immigrate to the United States. In most cases, approval of a Petition for Alien Relative by USCIS is required before an immigrant can apply for a green card – meaning lawful permanent residence – in the United States.

HOW LONG DOES I-130 PROCESSING TAKE?

After you have completed and filed Form I-130, how long will it take USCIS to review and process the petition? How long will it take until your spouse or child can actually receive a green card? After USCIS receives the Petition for Alien Relative, the petition is reviewed first for completeness. Filing a Form I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the United States.

If anything is missing, USCIS may return the entire package to the petitioner or simply send a letter asking for the missing information. Sometimes items are simply lost at the USCIS processing center, but a good immigration attorney can usually help you avoid any responsibility for this kind of delay by making certain that the paperwork with your Petition for Alien Relative is accurate and complete.

If the lost item is simply a copy of a document, you can recopy it and send it again to USCIS upon their request. However, if USCIS misplaces the check for your I-130 filing fee ($535 as of December 23, 2016), you’ll have to cancel the check and issue a new one. Unfortunately, USCIS makes these kinds of mistakes all too frequently, so you should be prepared and know what to expect.

HOW ARE I-130 PETITIONS REVIEWED?

After USCIS has decided that your I-130 petition is complete, the petition “gets in line” to be reviewed. Processing time for a Form I-130 will hinge on a variety of factors, particularly the number of I-130 petitions in front of yours. A wait of several weeks or months is not atypical. USCIS scrutinizes your petition to ensure, for example, that the immigrant’s birth certificate contains all off the official government information that is expected from the immigrant’s home country.

When a Petition for Alien Relative is approved, USCIS will notify the petitioner with an official I-130 approval notice and transfer the file to begin the next step in the process. What that next step is depends on where the relative is currently located and whether he or she will apply for a green card through the Adjustment of Status process (which takes place in the United States) or through consular processing (which happens at a foreign-based U.S. consulate).

If the relative will be adjusting status in the United States, the petitioner will have to complete more paperwork and file it along with a copy of the approval notice for the Form I-130. A few weeks or possibly several months later, the relative will be contacted and asked to attend an interview with USCIS. A decision to issue or refuse a green card to the relative will be made subsequent to the interview, but unless some irregularity emerges, most relatives are approved at this point for green cards.

On the other hand, if the relative is outside of the United States and his or her green card application will be considered through consular processing, the National Visa Center (NVC) will forward the appropriate paperwork to the relative, who will then be asked to attend an interview at a U.S. consulate in his or her home country. That’s where a decision will be made regarding the approval or denial of the green card.

Provided that all other basic immigration requirements are met, visas are always made available to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. However, merely having an approved Form I-130 does not give an immigrant any right to enter or remain in the United States. Immediate relatives who are already in the United States can file Form I-485, “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” at the same time the petitioner files Form I-130.

IS THERE ANOTHER VISA OPTION FOR THE SPOUSES OF U.S. CITIZENS?

U.S. citizens may also petition USCIS for K visas for their foreign-born fiancés, spouses, and the unmarried, dependent children of those fiancés and spouses. K visas are temporary visas even though they are granted to persons who intend to move permanently to the United States.

A K-3 spouse visa is valid for two years and may be renewed provided the marriage has not been dissolved in the interim. K-4 visas are provided to the qualified children of K-3 visa holders. K-3 and K-4 visa holders are eligible for work authorization in the United States and may travel freely in and out of the country provided their visas remain valid.

Foreign nationals who are the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens by blood or by marriage may apply to become lawful permanent residents by submitting Form I-485, and they may eventually apply to become full naturalized United States citizens.

If you need to obtain any type of U.S. visa, speak directly to an experienced Ohio immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can review your current legal, familial, and employment circumstances, explain your options, help you avoid any unnecessary delays, and if necessary, represent you and advocate for justice on your family’s behalf.

Across The Nation, Police Chiefs Support Sanctuary Cities

A complicated legal battle is about to take place between the Trump Administration and the nation’s “sanctuary” cities, cities that are presumably not in compliance with federal immigration laws. A great deal of the confusion stems from the fact that the term “sanctuary city” was created by the media, so there is no legal doctrine of sanctuary and no legal definition of precisely what constitutes a sanctuary city. Because the term means different things to different people, the legal dispute may be difficult for some to follow and understand.

Some self-proclaimed sanctuary cities have established policies that prevent their law enforcement officers from asking about the immigration status of residents, while other jurisdictions refuse to hold undocumented immigrants in jail for federal authorities beyond their scheduled release dates. Some cities have established legal defense funds to help immigrants who may be targeted in the raids now being ordered and conducted by the Trump Administration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that he will work to withhold federal funds from cities and counties that consider themselves sanctuaries. The Attorney General is threatening sanctuary jurisdictions with the loss of as much as $4.1 billion in federal resources.

However, “The rhetoric doesn’t match the legal authority,” according to Peter L. Markowitz, the director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. Markowitz told the New York Times, “In fact, the president has very limited power to exercise any kind of significant defunding.”

WHAT ARE THE NATION’S MAYORS SAYING ABOUT SANCTUARY CITIES?

With an estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the United States – and perhaps half or more of that eleven million living in sanctuary cities – talk of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants has created tension across the nation. “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared: “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city.” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee added, “We will not give in to threats, or political grandstanding,” while Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh told reporters, “To anyone who feels threatened today, or vulnerable, you are safe in Boston. We will do everything lawful in our power to protect you. If necessary, we will use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who’s targeted unjustly.” If you live in Chicago and need legal help, contact a Chicago immigration attorney.

A group called the Immigrant Legal Resource Center says that at least 39 cities and 364 counties across the United States identify themselves as sanctuary jurisdictions, but those cities and counties vary in the ways that they enforce – or fail to enforce – federal immigration statutes. For many U.S. police departments, calls for a “crackdown” are particularly disturbing.

Police chiefs and commissioners believe that a crackdown will actually mean higher crime rates and more dangerous neighborhoods. Most undocumented immigrants will not report crimes – even when they are the victims – if they fear local police will hand them over to immigration authorities.

WHY DO POLICE CHIEFS SUPPORT SANCTUARY CITIES?

In Tucson recently, an undocumented immigrant recently stopped and struggled with a man who was trying to steal a car that had children inside. The immigrant held the suspect until police could arrive, and the suspect was charged with auto theft, burglary, and kidnapping.

In cities across the U.S., those who are undocumented frequently help police officers with reports, descriptions, and other important information the police need – because, in sanctuary cities, those immigrants feel secure.

Police officials also understand that an unreported violent crime today means more crime and more violence in the future. Police departments in cities like Los Angeles have adopted sanctuary-style enforcement policies – and have invested substantial time, resources, and manpower – toward building trust and a spirit of cooperation with immigrant communities. When the people in a community trust the local police, that community is safer for everyone.

Some people have the mistaken idea that immigrants living in sanctuary cities get a “free pass” to commit crimes. No idea could be more mistaken. All law enforcement agencies and police officers are dedicated to the pursuit and arrest of violent and dangerous criminals without regard to a suspect’s immigration status.

In fact, immigrant communities are happy to help the police capture violent criminals because those communities are often the communities most at risk from such persons. Without the information that immigrant communities provide, investigating crime becomes difficult in many cities, and crime goes up.

The cities of Seattle and San Francisco will argue in federal court that the federal government’s coercion of sanctuary cities violates the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by forcing local governments to enforce federal immigration statutes. Seattle and San Francisco contend that the Department of Justice’s threats to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities constitute a violation of the Tenth Amendment.

HOW CAN IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR FAMILIES OBTAIN SOUND ADVICE?

Several cases will soon be heard in federal courts regarding sanctuary cities, and as rulings are rendered and appealed, the legal situation may change – more than once – over the next few months. Immigration law is always complicated, and in 2017, with a new president setting new policies, the situation is even more complicated and confusing.

Until definitive rulings that resolve the legal questions are handed down by the United States Supreme Court, immigrants, nonimmigrant visa holders, employers of immigrants, and the families of immigrants may need the legal advice and guidance of an experienced Columbus immigration lawyer.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have not announced how many arrests they have made this year, but they did release a statement on February 13th announcing “a series of targeted enforcement actions” around the country. Late in March, CNN reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has, in fact, stepped up its enforcement operations in several sanctuary cities.

Now more than ever, if you are a foreign national and you are without documentation, or if you are seeking a visa, a change in your immigration status, protection from deportation, or a green card, you must have sound legal advice and experienced representation. A Columbus immigration attorney can help with visa petitions, legal documentation, change-of-status applications, interviews and hearings, and all other aspects of the immigration process.

Will Trump’s Latest Immigration Plans Affect The Economy?

The day after President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, the Dow Industrial Average hit 21,000 for the first time ever. Investors are anticipating substantial tax cuts, especially in corporate taxes, along with massive infrastructure projects and perhaps the largest public works project of all time – “the wall.” It’s certainly good news for investors, but how are the rest of us fairing under President Trump? Will the president’s immigration plans affect the economy positively or negatively – or at all? If you are an employer who hires foreign nationals, how will the administration’s immigration policies impact your business in particular?

A deportation plan that would send hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants out of the country could be a catastrophe for the economy. Undocumented immigrants constitute about five percent of the U.S. workforce, and particular sectors of the economy, like agriculture, are almost entirely dependent on undocumented immigrants. Up to 85 percent of California’s agricultural workers are undocumented, according to Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League. If the administration were to weed out illegal workers, California farmers say their ability to do business would be crippled.

For example, the Trump Administration’s immigration policies could dramatically impact California’s Central Valley, a region of agricultural land extending from Bakersfield to Redding. Agriculture is by far the Central Valley’s largest industry, and more than 6.5 million people live there. Agriculture in the Central Valley brings in about $35 billion a year and provides more of the nation’s food than any other region.

WHAT WOULD BE THE RESULT OF MASS DEPORTATIONS?

The consequences of a serious deportation plan would ripple through the dairies and orchards but other locally owned shops, diners, and also completely different businesses, like insurance and energy. Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg who grows, packs, and ships peaches, plums, and grapes across the United States, told the New York Times, “If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist. If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster.”

California farmers have struggled for years with a labor shortage, partly because of better security along the border and partly due to increased costs of smugglers who assist civilians across. The formerly-endless inflow of workers from rural towns and villages in Mexico has nearly ceased. Growers in California and across the country hope that the Trump Administration will further develop and ease the H-2A visa program, which allows growers to bring in foreign workers for temporary agricultural jobs.

Farmers are also among those concerned about the administration’s trade policies. The president has already pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and President Trump has promised to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well if he is unable to negotiate favorable circumstances for the U.S. Farmers would benefit from more positive terms, but pulling out of NAFTA entirely could trigger economic punishment from Mexico that could potentially damage agriculture in California, which earned $21 billion from trade in 2016.

WHAT OTHER INDUSTRIES ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IMMIGRATION POLICY?

Silicon Valley is also concerned about the administration’s immigration policies. Dozens of tech companies – including Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and PayPal – are opposing Mr. Trump’s executive orders barring immigrants from Middle Eastern and North African nations – and opposing the other immigration crackdowns the administration has promised – because the policies could signal the end of the U.S. as a destination for the world’s best tech inventors.

If that sounds dramatic, consider that more than half of the 87 privately held U.S. start-ups valued at $1 billion or more were founded by one or more people from outside the United States, according to researchers at the National Foundation for American Policy. The Partnership for a New American Economy found in 2011 that more than 40 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants to the United States or by the children of immigrants. For the newest members in the Fortune 500, many of them technology companies, even more were founded by immigrants.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO H-1B VISAS?

And while the Trump Administration’s stance on illegal immigration has been quite clearly articulated, the president has nevertheless sent mixed signals about the H-1B visa program. Tech firms may have to begin settling for the talent they can find here in the U.S., as the president has suggested that he will restrict or abolish the H-1B visas that so many tech companies use to find and employ international workers.

Members of the Trump Administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have characterized the H1-B visa program as a system riddled with fraud and abuse that prioritizes cheaper, foreign labor ahead of U.S. workers. Limiting or eliminating H-1B visas would substantially impact the ability of U.S. companies to hire the most talented workers in the technology sector and related fields.

It’s still too soon to predict how this administration’s immigration policies will impact the domestic and global economic and business environments. Until Congress hashes out some of President Trump’s proposals – and until the Supreme Court issues definitive rulings on the president’s executive orders – employers and immigrants should have no cause for fear. The president has implied on a number of occasions that when he declares a “policy,” it may in fact only be a starting position for negotiations on the issue.

Litigation that may affect immigrants is already pending in several courts around the country. Several legal challenges to President Trump’s “travel ban” have been launched. As various courts render rulings and as those rulings are appealed, the legal situation could change rapidly throughout 2017, and employers, immigrants, nonimmigrant visa holders, and their families may need the legal advice and guidance that an experienced Columbus immigration attorney offers.

Do not hesitate to discuss any of your immigration concerns with an experienced immigration lawyer. If you are a foreign national and you are seeking a visa, a green card, a change in your immigration status, or protection from deportation – or if you are a U.S.-based employer who hires foreign nationals – it’s imperative to have sound immigration advice and experienced legal representation. The right immigration lawyer – a trustworthy Columbus immigration attorney who works right here in the United States – can help with applications, hearings, and all of the additional immigration requirements.

Over 100 Tech Companies Oppose Trump’s Immigration Ban

The famous tech companies of Silicon Valley – and some of the not-so-famous tech companies as well – have lined up in opposition to President Trump’s January 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The executive order bans entry into the United States by travelers from seven predominantly-Muslim North African and Middle Eastern nations. As of February 8th, 127 companies in the tech industry have joined a friend-of-the-court brief that seeks to overturn that executive order.

The friend-of-the-court brief charges that the executive order is “a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years.” The brief also claims, “The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees. It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.”

The friend-of-the-court brief, authored by Washington attorney Andrew Pincus, also includes some remarkable immigration statistics: “Immigrants are leading entrepreneurs. Some of these businesses are large. Immigrants or their children founded more than 200 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list…. Collectively, these companies generate annual revenue of $4.2 trillion, and employ millions of Americans.” The brief also mentions that 18 percent of the business owners in the United States – and 16 percent of the labor force – are immigrants.

WHICH COMPANIES HAVE JOINED THE BRIEF? WHICH HAVEN’T?

The brief was submitted to the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a lawsuit filed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Companies joining the brief include Google, Facebook, Apple, Airbnb, Ancestry.com, LinkedIn, Intel, Lyft, Uber, Mozilla, Microsoft, and PayPal. However, Amazon, Oracle, Qualcomm, and IBM were not among the tech companies that joined the friend-of-the-court brief. IBM told Forbes magazine that its CEO, Ginni Rometty, has already “conveyed the company’s views directly” to the White House.

The friend-of-the-court brief expresses Silicon Valley’s abiding conviction that immigrants are essential and key actors on the U.S. economic scene. Immigration benefits “not just the new immigrants who chose to come to our shores, but American businesses, workers, and consumers, who gain immense advantages from immigrants’ infusion of talents, energy, and opportunity,” according to the brief.

Martin Flaherty, who is a professor of constitutional law at Fordham Law School in New York City, told USA Today that friend-of-the-court briefs allow parties with an interest in a case to offer judges their own conclusions without actual being a party in the case. Judges often appreciate the insights offered by those with special knowledge about a case or a special interest in a case. Particularly controversial and landmark cases often generate scores of friend-of-the-court briefs on each side, Flaherty said.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE EFFECT OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER?

The January 27 executive order suspended the processing of visas for foreign nationals from seven North African and Middle Eastern nations: Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. Some foreign nationals from those nations were prevented from entering the U.S. after arriving at U.S. airports. Others have had their visa applications suspended or revoked prior to their departures for the U.S. The executive order has been met with numerous protests and extensive criticism in both the United States and abroad, and with a number of legal actions.

In Seattle, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a restraining order on February 3rd that temporarily prevents the federal government from enforcing several sections of the executive order. As of February 8th, that restraining order is still in effect. For the moment, the federal government may not enforce the 90-day travel ban on “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from the seven designated countries, the 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, or the indefinite suspension on the admission of Syrian refugees.

The U.S. District Court’s temporary restraining order probably will not be in effect for long, and the case will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the interim, cases pending in several other courts may also have an impact on immigrants and nonimmigrants from the seven designated nations. Until the Supreme Court provides a definitive ruling on the multiple legal issues raised by the January 27 executive order, the situation for immigrants, nonimmigrant visa holders, and families could change very quickly – and more than once.

Immigration attorneys across the nation and around the world are counseling individuals and families impacted by the executive order and are advocating aggressively for justice on their behalf. If you or anyone you love – or anyone you employ – needs legal direction or assistance regarding the January 27 executive order, an experienced Ohio immigration attorney can answer your questions, address your concerns, and if necessary, take the appropriate legal action.

For a number of tech firms and other companies in Silicon Valley and across the United States, the January 27 executive order has reportedly created pandemonium. Google has announced that almost 200 of its employees are being affected, while Microsoft said that more than 75 of its employees are impacted. As mentioned previously, until the United States Supreme Court rules on the matter, the legal situation for immigrants and nonimmigrant visa holders from the seven designated nations – and for their families – will be changing and confusing.

IS IMMIGRATION ALWAYS THIS CONTROVERSIAL AND CONFUSING?

Although the January 27 executive order has triggered controversy and aroused strong passions, what we’re seeing is really nothing new, historically speaking. Immigration law in the United States has always been torturously complex, and immigration practices and policies have always generated contention and acrimony. However, two facts never seem to change – employers need foreign-born employees, and many foreigners strongly desire to work in the United States.

Legal complexities and ever-changing regulations are always an element of the immigration process, but especially at this time, immigrants, non-immigrant visa holders, families, and employers affected by the January 27 executive order may need the legal advice and services of an experienced Ohio immigration attorney. It may be months before the United States Supreme Court finally and definitively resolves the legal questions raised by the January 27 executive order.