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Immigration Law Update

January 22, 2018

H-1B filing time nears

We stand just two and one-half months away from the submission date for cap-subject H-1B petitions for the upcoming fiscal year. If you are considering hiring anyone who requires H-1B sponsorship subject to the quota, or “cap,” now is the time to provide us with their information, so we can do the necessary preparatory work to make a complete and timely filing. You may consider the following types of workers for potential H-1B sponsorship:

  • F-1 students/recent graduates working in optional practical training who require a change of status to H-1B;
  • Professionals whom you would like to hire who are currently outside the United States;
  • Foreign nationals who are currently in another visa status in danger of maxing out their allowable time (i.e. L-1);
  • Foreign nationals currently in TN (Treaty NAFTA) status who would benefit from a change to H-1B; and
  • Foreign nationals who are currently in H-1B status working for a cap-exempt employer and who require a cap-subject H-1B to work for you.
Termination of TPS for Salvadorans continues a trend

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from El Salvador after granting this status to them for the past 17 years. This will affect roughly 200,000 Salvadorans in the United States. This continues a trend of the Trump administration discontinuing TPS status. Previous discontinuation announcements involved Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.

If you are affected by this notice or have employees who are, you may wish to take stock as to whether a pathway exists to obtain permanent residence for those affected. The law is unsettled in this regard with geographical variations across the United States. For example, those in Ohio, Michigan and California have a more viable path to permanent residence via employment or family relationship.

DACA reinstated for now by federal court

At least for now, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has resumed accepting requests to renew grants of deferred action under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The about-face by the government results directly from a decision by Judge William H. Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. USCIS will now revert to the policy that existed before DACA was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.

USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. The order only applies to those who have previously received a grant of DACA, even if it has expired in the interim. USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

This situation may not last for long, however. The Justice Department has appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn this decision.

7-Eleven targeted in high-profile I-9 raid: A harbinger of things to come?

Federal immigration agents raided dozens of 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country, arresting undocumented workers and demanding I-9 documentation from managers. The Jan. 10 raid was the largest enforcement operation against employers so far in the Trump administration, and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) indicates that more such efforts are likely to happen.

“Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of the agency, said in a statement. Homan, the nation’s top immigration-enforcement official, has promised more scrutiny of businesses that knowingly violate federal laws requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their workers.

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.