On November 10, 2016, Laura Foote Reiff, Bob Maples, and Rebecca Schechter presented an Immigration Post-Election Update webinar highlighting some of the anticipated key changes to U.S. immigration policy (click here to listen to the webinar). President-elect Donald Trump will likely begin the change on current U.S. immigration policy as soon as he takes office. Laura Reiff and Rebecca Schechter highlight below what to expect:
- Repealing Executive Orders: President Barack Obama’s Executive Order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will likely be repealed. DACA is not a status, but rather, it allowed certain undocumented persons apply for work authorization. If DACA is repealed, the work authorization is no longer valid, and the question remains as to whether any further actions will be taken for these individuals.
- Mandatory E-Verify: It is likely that legislation will be proposed that makes E-Verify mandatory for employers.
- Increased Enforcement: With President-elect Trump’s stance on immigration, employers will likely see more audits from USCIS and the Department of Labor, as well as more raids. The enforcement will focus on ensuring that employers are not hiring undocumented workers, and that jobs are not taken away from qualified U.S. workers.
- Building the Wall: A constant promise of President-elect Trump’s campaign has focused on building a wall on the U.S.- Mexico border. The wall is part of a larger plan for enforcement and border security, and it remains to be seen how this project will be financed.
- Extreme Vetting for Visitors into the U.S.: President-elect Trump has stated that he will temporarily suspend immigration for those who come from countries deemed dangerous and considered dangerous and volatile. “Extreme vetting” will most likely mean more intense scrutiny of citizens from countries that are considered “high-risk” and a deeper security review.
- H-1B and L-1 Nonimmigrant Visas: Another of President-elect Trump’s focuses during his campaign was on preserving jobs for American workers. To do so, it is anticipated that there will be more vetting and more requirements an employer must meet in order to petition for a foreign worker to work in H-1B or L visa status in the United States. This will most likely include additional scrutiny of the staffing industry’s placement of H-1B and L visa holder’s at third party sites.
- Treaty Visas: President-elect Trump has stated that he will renegotiate a number of treaties, one of which is the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). One provision of NAFTA allows for the movement of Mexican and Canadian citizens, who qualify under certain requirements in specific job categories, to lawfully work in the United States.
- Expiration of Four Immigration Programs: We are currently in a “lame duck” session, and the four programs – E-Verify, the “Conrad Waiver” for Rural Doctors, Religious Workers, and EB-5 Regional Center Program – have been temporarily extended in the Continuing Resolution until December 9, 2016. It is anticipated that there will be another short-term extension into February or March 2017.
Bob Maples, a federal lobbyist for the firm, commented that “for those businesses that have depended on Washington gridlock to protect you, it is time to make new plans as a Republican controlled Administration and Congress have the opportunity to get things done.” These are statements President-elect Trump made during his campaign. His policies and his ability to implement his statements may be different.
Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the transition period as well as President-elect Trump’s first 100 days in the White House and will continuously update on important developments.