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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:

  1. 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Orders:  President Barack Obama’s Executive Order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will likely be repealed.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  If DACA is repealed, the work authorization is no longer valid, and the question remains as to whether any further actions will be taken for these individuals.
  2. Mandatory E-Verify:  It is likely that legislation will be proposed that makes E-Verify mandatory for employers.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff ‡ Laura Foote Reiff ‡

Laura Foote Reiff has more than 32 years of experience representing businesses and organizations in the business immigration and compliance field. She is also a business immigration advocate and has long chaired prominent business immigration coalitions. Laura is Co-Founder of GT’s Business and

Laura Foote Reiff has more than 32 years of experience representing businesses and organizations in the business immigration and compliance field. She is also a business immigration advocate and has long chaired prominent business immigration coalitions. Laura is Co-Founder of GT’s Business and Immigration and Compliance Group which she co-led since 1999. She currently chairs the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. Immigration and Compliance Practice. Laura is also Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office of GT, a position she has held since 2010. As a global leader in the business immigration community, Laura has served on the Boards of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Forum and is currently the Chair of the America is Better Board.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.

 Admitted in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.

Photo of Martha Schoonover‡ Martha Schoonover‡

Martha J. Schoonover focuses her practice on business immigration matters and assists employers in obtaining temporary, nonimmigrant visas for business persons, managers and executives, treaty investors and traders, professionals (including researchers and scientists, engineers, computer professionals, and business professionals), exchange visitors, students, and…

Martha J. Schoonover focuses her practice on business immigration matters and assists employers in obtaining temporary, nonimmigrant visas for business persons, managers and executives, treaty investors and traders, professionals (including researchers and scientists, engineers, computer professionals, and business professionals), exchange visitors, students, and crew members working on the Outer Continental Shelf. In addition, Martha assists in obtaining labor certifications and permanent resident status for professionals, researchers, multinational managers and executives and other priority workers and in obtaining and relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

Martha represents companies facing U.S. government investigations or audits for immigration violations and prepares immigration and visa compliance programs for clients. She counsels employers on the employer sanctions and anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and represents employers being audited by the U.S. Government. In addition, she assists foreign companies in obtaining vessel exemptions from the U.S. manning requirements of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and in obtaining determinations from the Coast Guard that persons are not a part of the regular complement of the crew. Her practice involves appearances before and filing petitions/applications with the U.S. Department of State and its overseas posts, The U.S. Department of Labor, and the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Coast Guard. Martha has been a frequent lecturer and author for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) American Bar Association and ALI-ABA. She headed AILA’s Labor Certification Task Force from 1993 to 1995 and has served on its State Department and INS/CIS General Counsel Liaison Committees.

Admitted in the District of Columbia. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.
Photo of Rebecca B. Schechter ‡ Rebecca B. Schechter ‡

Rebecca Schechter focuses her practice on business immigration and compliance, representing multi-national corporations midsized companies, and startups, as well as individual clients. She has experience with all areas of employment-based immigration, particularly H-1B, L-1, O-1 and E-2 petitions, as well as outstanding researcher…

Rebecca Schechter focuses her practice on business immigration and compliance, representing multi-national corporations midsized companies, and startups, as well as individual clients. She has experience with all areas of employment-based immigration, particularly H-1B, L-1, O-1 and E-2 petitions, as well as outstanding researcher petitions and labor certification applications. Rebecca regularly assists GT clients with global immigration matters, including business and work visas to countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. She also works on state and federal I-9 and E-Verify audits. Rebecca has a thorough understanding of third party contractor issues and experience handling complex naturalization, deportation defense, family and employment-based adjustment applications.

Admitted in Maryland and Connecticut. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.
Photo of Robert Y. Maples˘ Robert Y. Maples˘

Robert Y. Maples is experienced in the Washington, D.C. federal, state and public affairs arenas. He has also been an advocate for building pragmatic alliances to resolve major social issues and has pioneered strategies for addressing complex public affairs crises in collaborative versus…

Robert Y. Maples is experienced in the Washington, D.C. federal, state and public affairs arenas. He has also been an advocate for building pragmatic alliances to resolve major social issues and has pioneered strategies for addressing complex public affairs crises in collaborative versus confrontational contexts. He continues his advocacy of pragmatic alliances in furtherance of client/government collaborations among the Congress and federal agencies, and serves as state counsel on complex client public policy matters. He is experienced in complex problem solving in regulatory and legislative environments and his client interests have led to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) activities and cybersecurity representation.

˘ Not admitted to practice law.