On Jan. 10, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President, Tom Donohue, delivered the widely-anticipated State of American Business address in Washington D.C. Much of his remarks focused on policies and opportunities for continuing economic growth in the United States under the social media hashtag of #Jobs2018. Mr. Donohue applauded the regulatory reforms and tax reforms of the Trump Administration and stated that our country must continue such common-sense reforms to free American job creators and to reset American jobs for the future.
Last night, House Appropriations Chairman, Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), filed a Continuing Resolution to extend government funding and to provide extension of authorities for programs, such as EB-5, on the House Appropriations website. The Continuing Resolution, or CR, would extend government operations and the EB-5 program through Feb. 16.
The debate on the CR will be under active discussion in the Congress with House floor action likely this week prior to the expiration of the current CR at 11:59:59 Friday night.
For more information on the Continuing Resolution, click here.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced a three-prong approach to ensuring U.S. employers are hiring legally authorized workers. ICE’s strategy focuses on:
- Compliance, through increased I-9 inspections, civil fines and referrals for debarment from immigration benefit programs like Labor Condition Applications and PERM Labor Certifications;
- Enforcement, through arrests of not only of workers employed without proper authorization but also of the employers who hire them; and
- Outreach, through the Ice Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program.
Law360 recently published an article by Rebecca B. Schechter and Courtney B. Noce titled, “The New Normal For Business Immigration in 2018.” The article discusses the year ahead and what employers can expect in terms of immigration. Schechter and Noce provide insights on “Buy American, Hire American” (BAHA), including increased scrutiny and stricter requirements. Additionally, the authors address the disappearance of non-merit-based temporary work authorizations as well as compliance issues facing employers. To read the entire article, please click here.
The Department of Homeland Security announced the cessation of Temporary Protected Status of citizens from El Salvador. This decision follows recent TPS decisions for Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Today’s decision will impact more than 200,000 Salvadorans in the United States for more than 15 – 20 years. DHS has announced a transition period through Sept. 9, 2019. During this period, TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador will be permitted to obtain employment authorization and will be expected to find alternative immigration benefits or to be making arrangements to transition back to El Salvador.
In today’s announcement, DHS Secretary Nielsen opened the door for Congressional action on El Salvadorian TPS: “Only Congress can legislate a permanent solution addressing the lack of an enduring lawful immigration status of those currently protected by TPS who have lived and worked in the United States for many years. The 18-month delayed termination will allow Congress time to craft a potential legislative solution.”
We will continue to provide updates on information related to this decision.
For more information on immigration matters related to TPS, please click here.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) automatically extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Honduras for six months through a notice published in the Federal Register. This was an automatic extension given that DHS did not make a decision on Honduras’ designation that was set to expire.
Current beneficiaries of TPS under Honduras’ designation who want to maintain that status through the current expiration date of July 5, 2018, must re-register between Dec. 15, 2017, and Feb. 13, 2018.
For Hondurans here in TPS, this means the following:
- Only the country’s TPS designation has been automatically extended, but the individual’s TPS will still need to be re-registered. The filing period ends on Feb. 13, 2018.
- Even though the EADs designated with the categories (a)(12) and (c)(19) that expires Jan. 5, 2018, will be automatically extended through July 4, 2018, the individual may file Form I-765 to obtain a new card reflecting the new date. This would mean that if there is another automatic extension (such as in the present situation), the EADs would be automatically extended as well.
GT will continue to monitor the status over the next six months.
Greenberg Traurig Laura Reiff, co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Immigration and Compliance practice, was recently quoted in the Bloomberg Law article, “Trump Stretches Meaning of Deregulation in Touting Achievements.” The article reviews a list of the administration’s deregulation achievements in 2017, including the H-2B visa program regulation. Reiff highlights the additional requirements placed on businesses that wanted to participate in the visa program based on the new regulation. To read the full article, please click here.
Greenberg Traurig’s Business Immigration and Compliance team thanks our clients, colleagues and fellow industry members for a successful 2017 and look forward to the new year ahead. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
Since the introduction of the Executive Order “Buy American, Hire American” (BAHA), federal agencies, including DHS and USCIS, are following the directive to focus on protecting U.S. workers and U.S. resources. The USCIS website was updated as of Dec. 20, 2017 regarding BAHA and below are key highlights from this update, which is essentially a recap of all USCIS’ activity this year under the BAHA directive:
- USCIS is taking direction from its July 26, 2017, stakeholder call to make some changes. During the call, individuals expressed the need to continue improving the integrity of the immigration system to protect both U.S. workers and foreign workers.
- E-Verify: USCIS stresses that E-Verify is strongly encouraged for all employers
- Reporting Fraud: USCIS reiterates resources and programs for the public to report fraud-designated email addresses specifically for H-1B and H-2B fraud. USCIS will also enhance their site visit programs, and will specifically focus on employers who petition for L-1B employees working at a third party worksite. Lastly, USCIS will be enhancing information sharing with the Department of State, Department of Labor, and Department of Justice to improve the immigration system and combat fraud.
- H-1B data: As we have seen recently, USCIS has been publishing reports on the H-1B visa, including types of workers, trends, and approval/denial rates. EAD reports have also been issued.
- Lastly, USCIS summarizes policy memorandum that have been issued this year. These include:
- Memo on how to classify TN nonimmigrant Economists under NAFTA.
- Memo that all nonimmigrant petitions, including H-1B, will be adjudicated as new and deference will not be given for extensions.
- Memo on the definition of “affiliate” or “subsidiary” for determining the ACWIA fee- this fee is important as it pays for U.S. workers to attend job training and receive low-income scholarships.
GT will continue to monitor any updates from USCIS as well as any activity resulting from BAHA.
For more information on USCIS activities, click here.
Greenberg Traurig Laura Reiff, Co-Chair Business Immigration and Compliance, was recently quoted in the Bloomberg Law article, “Immigration Attorneys on Their toes in the Age of Trump.” The article discusses the developments in immigration in 2017 and how attorneys are handling the new environment. Reiff expresses the need to be more proactive as immigration attorneys anticipate the changes. To read the full article, please click here.