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Immigration Law Update

June 2018

ICE Escalates Workplace Enforcement Activities in Ohio

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stepped up its enforcement activities in the past month, focusing on Ohio businesses. In early June, ICE raided Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia, arresting 114 individuals. This was followed by another raid on meat supplier Fresh Mark in Salem, Ohio. In this second raid 146 individuals were arrested; it is notable, in particular, because Fresh Mark uses E-Verify and was the first company in Ohio to sign up for ICE’s IMAGE program, designed to improve immigration compliance by working cooperatively between the employer and ICE. In light of this cooperation, it is notable that the company was raided and that Steve Francis, ICE’s Special Agent in Charge issued the following statement: “Unlawful employment is one of the key magnets drawing illegal aliens across our borders. Businesses who knowingly harbor and hire illegal aliens as a business model must be held accountable for their actions.”

These two raids – with 260 arrests – send a clear signal to all Ohio businesses that ICE is coming, and coming soon. Are you ready? If you’re not sure, or have questions about your company’s employment policies, contact Karen Moss or Brad Ortman.

Trump Administration Under Fire For Separating Migrant Children From Parents at the Southern Border

Earlier this month the Trump administration announced that it has separated more than 2,300 migrant children from their parents at the Southern Border from May 5 to June 9. These actions have occurred as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which requires criminal prosecution for illegal entry of every single person apprehended between ports of entry. The vast majority of these migrants are people who are seeking asylum from persecution in the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. As the public outcry about the inhumanity of this policy mounted, President Trump issued an Executive Order to discontinue separating families and instead detain the families indefinitely while their immigration cases work through the system. The administration now faces the gargantuan task of reuniting families that it has forcibly separated. Additionally, it faces legal challenges to the new Executive Order, which runs contrary to a judicial consent decree that requires children to be released after twenty days in custody.

Trump’s Third Travel Ban is Upheld by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s September 24, 2017 Proclamation, known as Travel Ban 3.0, excluding nationals from six countries – Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen – from entering the United States. The Court stated that the proclamation was “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority.” With some exceptions (including for permanent residents and students), Travel Ban 3.0 imposes blanket travel restrictions on nationals from the six designated countries. It is notable that this version of the Travel Ban withstood a challenge on First Amendment grounds when two non-Muslim countries were added. The original versions of the Travel Ban nearly exclusively targeted Muslim countries. As a practical matter, the decision affirms the status quo, as the Trump administration has been implementing the policy since December. There are a limited amount of waivers that are available. Should you or a family member need assistance in obtaining a waiver, Karen Moss or Brad Ortman can assist in preparing.

Volunteering May Pose a Problem for Certain F-1 Students on OPT

ICE issued a memorandum in the past month to clarify that volunteer positions not directly related to an F-1 student’s course of study do not qualify as OPT (Optional Practical Training). Students who report such non-qualifying volunteer opportunities as OPT employment will be deemed to have violated their status, and will be subject to removal.

Processing Time Slowdowns for Form I-751, Applicants to Remove Conditions on Residence

As a result of processing slowdowns, USCIS is now revising Form I-797 receipt notices for Conditional Permanent Residents who file Form I-751 to indicate that these receipt notices are evidence of continued status for a period of 18 months past the expiration date of their Permanent Residence Card. Previously such notices were issued for a 12-month period. This change reflects the fact that processing times for I-751 Petitions have increased dramatically over the past year. Most of these filings are currently taking 12-18 months to be processed.

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If you have questions concerning your company’s handling of its I-9 obligations or any of the other items above, please contact Karen Moss or Brad Ortman of the Immigration Law Group at Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper, (216) 621-7227.  Click here to sign up for our Immigration Law Update E-Newsletter

Bradley L. Ortman and Karen Gabriel Moss
Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC

This Immigration Law Update contains general information that should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion concerning individual situations. Legal counsel should be consulted for specific advice.

Copyright 2018 by Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC