Fourth Circuit Upholds Nationwide Injunction on President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

Posted in Executive Order, President Trump's Administration, Travel

On Thursday, May 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in an en banc decision, affirmed a nationwide preliminary injunction on President Trump’s revised travel ban that was issued March 16, 2017, by a U.S. District Court judge in Maryland. President Trump’s new executive order (EO), “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which would have gone into effect March 16, 2017, temporarily bans U.S. entry for nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

In a 10-3 ruling, the Fourth Circuit upheld the lower court’s preliminary injunction barring the administration from suspending visa issuance and preventing entry for nationals from the six countries. The Appellate Court opined that the revised EO served more to effectuate the president’s agenda of religious discrimination against Muslims rather than its stated purpose to protect national security and prevent possible terrorist attacks. The opinion also stated that a “reasonable observer” could find that the primary goal of the revised EO “appears to be religious, rather than secular.” Furthermore, the Fourth Circuit held that while the president does have “broad power to deny entry” to immigrants, such power is not absolute.

On May 15, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments on the travel ban in a similar appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Its ruling is expected within the next several weeks. However, as long as the Fourth Circuit’s nationwide injunction remains in effect, President Trump’s revised travel ban for nationals of the six countries will remain blocked regardless of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor developments and provide updates in connection with President Trump’s revised EO.

Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Attend Ayuda’s 44th Anniversary Celebration

Posted in Immigration Law

Michael Sklaire (Litigation), Martha Schoonover (Immigration), Rebecca Schechter (Immigration), Kristen Ng (Immigration) and Tom McKee (Litigation) attended Ayuda’s 44th Anniversary Celebration at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in downtown Washington, D.C. This year, Michael Sklaire sits on the board. Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Maryland State Delegate David Moon, D.C. Councilmembers David Grosso and Brianne Nadeau, and Takoma Park Councilmember Peter Kovar, among others, were also in attendance to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of immigrants in the community. Ayuda has helped support immigrants from 104 countries who reside in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. GT was proud to be a Silver sponsor. For a full overview of the celebration, please click here.

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Guidance for Employers in Age of Increased Immigration Enforcement

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Law, Immigration Reform

Greenberg Traurig’s Nataliya Rymer, of counsel, and Jordi Bayer, associate, recently authored a New Jersey Law Journal (NJLJ) article, “Guidance for Employers in Age of Increased Immigration Enforcement,” which discusses the uptick in immigration enforcement activity by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This uptick includes worksite visits, which are in line with the stated policy of increased enforcement by the current administration. To review the full article, click here.

June 2017 Visa Bulletin Update: EB-1 Final Action Dates Retrogression for China and India

Posted in China, EB-3, EB-5 Program, Immigrant Visa, India, Philippines, Regional Center, USCIS, Visa Bulletin, Visas

According to the June 2017 Visa Bulletin released by Department of State and effective June 1, there will be significant retrogression in the EB-1 category for individuals born in mainland China and India. While the current cutoff date for worldwide chargeability in the EB-1 category will remain current, the final action dates for Chinese and Indian nationals will retrogress to Jan. 1, 2012.

The cutoff date for worldwide chargeability in the EB-2 category will be current but for mainland China and India. There is slight movement for mainland China in the EB-2 category which will move from Feb. 8, 2013, to March 1, 2013, and for India, which will move from June 22, 2008, to July 1, 2008.

In the EB-3 category, the cutoff date for worldwide chargeability, as well as for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will move up one month from March 15, 2017, to April 15, 2017.  The cutoff date for mainland China is stalled at Oct. 1, 2014. There will be slight movement for India, with the cutoff date advancing seven (7) weeks from March 25, 2005, to May 15, 2005. The cutoff date for the Philippines will advance four (4) months from Jan. 1, 2013, to May 1, 2013.

For those in the EB-5 category, the priority date will remain current for all applicants other than those born in mainland China, which will move merely one week from June 1, 2014, to June 8, 2014. While the cutoff dates for Regional Center program were unavailable in May due to the anticipated program expiration date, the cutoff dates will be available again in June due to the extension of the Regional Center program, and is set at June 8, 2014, for mainland China-born applicants.

For those seeking to adjust status, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website indicates that the Department’s Application Final Action Dates chart must be used for filing Form I-485 in April and May 2017. While USCIS has yet to announce whether it will accept I-485 applications based on the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart in June 2017, based on recent trends where Dates for Filing Visa Applications has been consistently disregarded, we anticipate that USCIS will continue to follow Application Final Action Dates for June as well.

Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases

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Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications

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Greenberg Traurig’s Kate Kalmykov Quoted in The Jerusalem Post

Posted in Technology, Visas

KALMYKOVKGreenberg Traurig Shareholder Kate Kalmykov was recently quoted in The Jerusalem Post’s article, “Trumps Visa Policy May Harm Israeli Hi-Tech Innovators.”  In the article, Kalmykov addresses Israeli hi-tech companies options for visas when looking to relocate employees to the United States.  To read the full article, click here.

USCIS to Begin Issuing Redesigned ‘Green Cards’ Starting May 1, 2017

Posted in Employment Authorization, Green Card, USCIS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 19, 2017 that the agency will begin issuing revamped Permanent Resident Cards (commonly referred to as “green cards”) and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD Cards) as a part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project,  a multi-agency initiative aimed at modernizing security measures through advanced biometrics technologies.

shutterstock_171174860_778x360The new designs, which use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features, will be less susceptible to tampering and counterfeiting than the current cards. This update is indicative of a larger trend throughout the immigration agencies to crack-down on fraud and to take a tougher stance on vetting and security issues across the board.

USCIS states that the redesigned cards will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images;
  • No longer display the individual’s signature; and
  • Green cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

Importantly, the agency will continue to issue cards in their existing format even after May 1, 2017, stating that it intends to deplete current supplies before transitioning to the new versions. All versions of green cards and EAD cards will remain valid until the expiration date listed on the document. Do note, however, that certain EAD card holders have had their validity automatically extended beyond the listed expiration date. If you are unsure as to whether you are affected, you should contact your immigration lawyer for guidance.

Foreign nationals currently in possession of older green cards not bearing an expiration date—which will remain valid—should nevertheless consider applying for an updated replacement card in order to reduce the likelihood of fraud or issues with document verification and interacting with the government.

Foreign nationals may continue to present any valid green card or EAD card for I-9 verification purposes. Therefore, employers and HR representatives should familiarize themselves with the appearance and features of the redesigned documents so as to be able to navigate the employment eligibility process when onboarding new hires.

For more information about green cards and the green card process, you can visit USCIS’ designated web portal and visit our prior blog posts on the subject.

President Trump Signs New Executive Order: “Buy American and Hire American”

Posted in Executive Order, H-1B, Non-Immigrant Visas

On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled “Buy American and Hire American.” The stated purpose of this EO is to protect the American economy by having the U.S. government and agencies focus on purchasing goods made in America, and to also protect American workers. The first part of the EO includes text that focuses on conducting studies and putting forth plans for federal agencies to immediately maximize the use and procurement of materials and products made in the United States—or “Buy American.”

The second part of the EO includes text that focuses on “Hire American,” that is, reviewing current U.S. immigration laws, specifically as they relate to nonimmigrant visa categories. A summary of the second part of the EO is below:

Ensuring the Integrity of the Immigration System in Order to “Hire American”:

  • The Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security are tasked with proposing new rules and issuing new guidance with the intent of protecting U.S. workers and eliminating fraud or abuse.
  • In addition, the text of the EO directs that reforms should be focused on ensuring that H-1B status is only granted to those who are the “most-skilled” or the “highest-paid.”

This EO comes only a few weeks after various U.S. federal agencies tasked with administering immigration law issued guidance and decisions with the intent of preventing fraud and abuse in the immigration system, specifically the H-1B program. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor all released statements and/or policy with regard to the H-1B program.  To see a summary regarding these statements and/or policies, please visit our previous post.

As this EO is general in nature and does not dictate any specific timelines for the “Hire American” portion, Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the conditions and changes. To receive updates, please subscribe to our blog.

2017 Chambers Global Guide Recognizes Greenberg Traurig Immigration Practice

Posted in Awards & Recognitions

Greenberg Traurig’s Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and two of the group’s attorneys were included in the 2017 Chambers Global Guide. The 2017 guide includes 37 Greenberg Traurig attorneys and 23 practice areas.

According to its website, Chambers and Partners selects attorneys and practices for inclusion based on thousands of interviews with practicing lawyers and clients around the world. The Business Immigration & Compliance Practice received recognition by region in the United States. Immigration attorneys Laura Foote Reiff and Martha Schoonover were ranked in the Immigration category by region.

To read the full press release and view the full Greenberg Traurig 2017 Chambers Global Guide rankings, click here.

Greenberg Traurig’s Seth Entin Featured in WealthBriefing/ClearView Financial Media on Pre-Immigration Tax Planning

Posted in Awards & Recognitions, Tax

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Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Seth Entin was recently published in WealthBriefing/ClearView Financial Media for an article on pre-immigration tax planning. The article explains the importance of timely pre-immigration U.S. tax planning for high net worth foreigners who are considering moving to the United States and how the failure to plan may have costly consequences. To read the full article, click here.

USCIS Announces 2018 H-1B Cap Met

Posted in H-1B, U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services

USCIS  announced April 7 that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year FY2018. After today, USCIS will not accept H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap or the advanced degree exemption. The announcement did not provide details about the total number of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons to be counted against the regular H-1B cap or against the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. We anticipate that USCIS will have received a number that is close to or exceeds the 236,000 petitions filed in FY 2017.

A computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) will be used for all FY2018 cap-subject petitions received through April 7, 2017. The agency will conduct the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. USCIS has yet to announce the exact day of the lottery.

Petitions that are otherwise exempt from cap, such as H-1B extensions, H-1B ports to new employers or H-1Bs filed for exempt employers,  will continue to be accepted and processed by the agency. However, as previously reported premium processing service for all H-1B petitions, including those exempt from cap, remains suspended for up to six months as of April 3, 2017. GT will continue to monitor any announcements made by USCIS.

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