What’s Next For The Supreme Court’s Dapa/Daca Immigration Case?

Back in 2014, when President Obama issued executive orders regarding immigration, no one foresaw the legal battle that would ensue. Now that two lower courts have ruled on the challenge to the president’s executive actions, the Supreme Court has made the case a priority. The justices will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Texas on Monday, April 18th. The court could render a decision as early as June, ruling on several questions concerning the proposed “DAPA” program and the expanded “DACA” program. The decision – certain to be controversial – could be issued just days before this summer’s Republican and Democratic national conventions.

Texas and other states are disputing the authority of the president to allow the issuance of temporary work permits and to offer relief from the possibility of deportation to as many as five million immigrants in the U.S. who are here without documentation. Neither DACA nor DAPA offers a path to citizenship or even legal permanent residence. What the programs do offer to qualifying individuals is temporary authorization to work in the United States and temporary protection from deportation.

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WHAT ARE DACA AND DAPA, AND WHO QUALIFIES?

DACA offers deferred action on immigration to qualified immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors by their parents. DAPA offers deferred action on immigration to qualifying immigrant parents of children with citizenship or lawful permanent residence. The case the Supreme Court will hear does not impact the existing DACA program but only the president’s efforts to expand it. Qualifying immigrants may still request an initial grant or a renewal of DACA according to the original regulations implemented in 2012.

The White House argues that the executive actions are merely prosecutorial discretion – the government cannot possibly pursue five or eleven million people, so the White House believes that DACA and DAPA will free up enforcement resources so that immigration authorities can focus on dangerous criminals. Opponents of the president’s approach say it amounts to amnesty for lawbreakers and sidesteps the normal legislative process.

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Texas represents a coalition of states that oppose the Obama Administration. The president announced the DACA expansion and DAPA programs in executive actions in November 2014, and the dispute has been working its way through the lower courts since that time. The Supreme Court is currently short one justice after the unexpected death of Antonin Scalia in February, so in the case of a 4-4 tie, the lower court ruling – favoring the states and freezing the DACA and DAPA programs – would stand.

HOW WOULD DAPA BENEFIT EVERYONE?

The Center for American Progress says the DAPA program could create more than 20,000 new jobs a year for the next ten years. The Center additionally says DAPA could boost GDP by $164 billion over the next decade and add $88 billion to the personal incomes of working Americans. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), 72 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S., despite their lack of legal status, will participate in the work force this year, and 3.7 million of them would qualify for DAPA. Those workers could pay up to $16.7 billion in taxes in the next five years if the Supreme Court gives DAPA a green light to proceed.

Some observers were surprised to see the court ask both sides in the case to address whether the president’s actions violate the “Take Care” clause of the Constitution, which says a president must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Neither of the lower courts, which heard the case, addressed this legal claim. The Supreme Court’s request suggests that the justices want to resolve all of the issues in the case now, rather than to leave open a constitutional loophole that could be the basis for future litigation.

Alternately, the justices could dismiss the case for the lack of legal standing to bring a challenge. In other words, the Supreme Court may decide that the states may have no legal grounds to stand on. Texas and the other plaintiff states have argued that their legal standing is based on the added costs that states might incur to issue drivers’ licenses to beneficiaries of the deferred action programs.

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It’s likely that the DAPA program will proceed – possibly as early as this summer. Speaking for the Obama Administration last year, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.” Immigrants who qualify for the DACA or DAPA programs should be prepared to act if the Supreme Court rules in their favor.

WHERE CAN YOU TURN TO LEARN MORE?

Some immigrants in the U.S. may be hesitant to speak with an attorney. Don’t be afraid or intimidated. When you obtain the advice of a licensed and practicing Ohio immigration attorney, anything you say or disclose to that attorney will remain confidential. When immigrants seek legal counsel, they’re sometimes surprised to find that they qualify for immigration benefits and that their legal situation was not as dire as they thought.

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If you are an immigrant who qualifies for the DACA or DAPA program, or if you are a U.S.-based employer who hires immigrant workers, right now is the best time to discuss with an immigration attorney how immigration law impacts you. While the final determination regarding the DACA and DAPA programs is being made by the U.S. Supreme Court, this is the best time for immigrants – and the employers who hire them –  to seek legal advice.

WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO BE DONE?

An estimated eleven million immigrants still live “in the shadows,” and honestly, even if the president’s executive actions are approved by the Supreme Court – and the DACA and DAPA programs proceed – much more needs to be done in the way of comprehensive immigration reform. Only Congress has the legal ability to do what ultimately needs to be done to fix immigration.

Until comprehensive immigration reform takes place, immigrants and the employers who hire them will continue to need legal help. A good Ohio immigration attorney, for example, can help employers, investors, and business professionals obtain the visas they need and can also provide legal advice and services to anyone seeking a visa or dealing with immigration issues. The Supreme Court’s ruling this summer in U.S. v. Texas will be vitally important to millions, but whatever the justices decide, plenty of concerns with the immigration system will remain.

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Where Do H-1B Visas Go?

Our H-1B visa lawyers recently learned that in January 2010, the senior executives at Molina Healthcare, located in Long Beach, California, conducted a staff meeting. Dozens of people in Molina’s IT department would have to be laid off, the executives announced, because the company had done so poorly in the preceding quarter. What the laid-off employees did not suspect at the time was that on the day before the staff meeting, the U.S. Department of Labor had approved applications for forty temporary workers from India to replace them at Molina Healthcare. The laid-off workers, all U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, earned an average of $75,000 a year plus benefits. Their replacements would earn $50,000 a year with no benefits.

Big companies have been just as guilty of abusing temporary worker visas as smaller companies. In October 2014, 250 IT employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Florida were told that they would be laid off. Layoffs, of course, are not uncommon, but what made this layoff newsworthy was the sense that the workers had been insulted. They were told that in order to receive their severance pay, they would be obligated to train their own replacements – IT workers from India entering the United States with H-1B visas.

In response, two former Disney tech employees filed federal lawsuits against the company in January 2016, accusing Disney of conspiring to replace the workers with less costly foreign employees using H-1B visas. The lawsuits were filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida by Leo Perrero and Dena Moore, who were among 250 Disney tech workers laid off in October 2014. The lawsuits seek class-action status.

Separately, more than twenty of the laid-off Disney workers have also filed complaints with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). Those complaints remain under EEOC review. The complaints allege employment discrimination by Disney based on nationality, race and age. The incident at Disney also launched another round of contentious debates about the use – and some would charge, the abuse – of H-1B visas. For international workers with a college degree and specialized skills in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), the H-1B is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa that is good for three years and renewable for a second three years.

Ohio immigration attorney

WHY THE CONTROVERSY?

Two competing, conflicting narratives confuse the H-1B visa debate and to some extent the entire question of immigration in the United States. One narrative tells us that immigrants are taking jobs from U.S. workers, and it emphasizes stories like the incidents at Molina and Disney. The other narrative says that attracting talented workers in science, math, engineering, and technology is essential for U.S. economic success and growth in the years ahead. Currently, Congress caps the number of available H-1B visas at 65,000 a year (and another 20,000 for post-graduate degree-holders in STEM fields). Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates are all strong advocates of increasing the number of available H-1B visas as a means of increasing U.S. technical and commercial ingenuity and strength.

The question many are asking about H-1B visas is simply this: Do international workers in the H-1B visa program fill a genuine gap in the labor force, or is the H-1B program being abused by some U.S. corporations simply as a way to save a few dollars at the expense of U.S. workers? Even the most expert economic researchers disagree. A report by the Economic Policy Institute alleges that some U.S. companies exploit the H-1B program merely to cut their labor costs. The Brookings Institution, however, has figures showing that the international workers who hold H-1B visas are actually making more than their comparably-talented American counterparts in similar positions. The H-1B visa program was designed so that U.S. companies could fill gaps in the work force with specialized employees they cannot find in the United States, but some companies apparently try to take advantage of the H-1B program’s technicalities and loopholes.

In fact, one corporation has already been fined for engaging in visa fraud. Infosys paid the government a $34 million penalty in 2013. Exploiting the H-1B visa program to boost the corporate bottom line is something we can all understand, but that is not what H-1B visas are for, and the government is now taking measures to ensure that the program remains fair to U.S.-based workers like those laid off by Disney and Molina. A large number of workers flooding into the United States and displacing U.S.-based workers is not what Congress intended when the H-1B visa program was established, so in 2015, the Department of Labor announced that it is beefing up its enforcement efforts and will be investigating companies that may be taking unfair advantage of the H-1B visa program.

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WHO GETS THE VISAS?

Where do H-1B visas actually go? One-fifth of all H-1B petitions approved in 2012 went to just four companies: Cognizant Technology Solutions, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro. The latter three are among India’s biggest outsourcing giants. Cognizant, based in New Jersey, emerged out of a partnership between Dun & Bradstreet and an Indian firm. Many U.S. companies – Walmart and 7-Eleven, for example – hire these outsourcing firms for their IT needs. When Molina Healthcare fired its IT staff, for example, it did not apply to the government for H-1B workers to replace them. Instead, Molina got its new employees through Cognizant. And Infosys isn’t the only outsourcing company that has been investigated and targeted for legal action. In 2013, Tata Consultancy Services paid $29 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by Indian workers who were being forced by the company to hand over their U.S. income tax refunds.

Of course, when the H-1B visa program was invented by Congress back in 1990, no one thought that Indian outsourcing firms would be the biggest participants and beneficiaries. Does any of this mean that a typical small or midsize U.S.-based business cannot benefit from the H-1B visa program? Not at all. Even with the annual visa cap still set at 65,000, the government is working harder now than ever to ensure that the awarding of visas is conducted fairly and that no U.S.-based employer has an advantage over any other employer in the H-1B competition. Employers across the nation are already preparing for this year’s April 1 filing date, but if you haven’t started preparing, it’s probably too late to begin for this year, although it’s never too early to start preparing for next year’s H-1B filing period. The qualifications for H-1B visas are quite strict, and as you already know, the demand far exceeds the supply for these visas.

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WHERE CAN EMPLOYERS FIND HELP?

If you are an employer in the United States, a good immigration lawyer can help your company meet all of the requirements for obtaining H-1B visas, provide you with precise, comprehensive information, and help you avoid the mistakes and misunderstandings that keep many employers from obtaining the H-1B visas they need. In other words, an experienced immigration attorney can put employers in the best possible position to obtain H-1B visas and can probably also help employers identify appropriate visa alternatives to the H-1B. Employers who need H-1B visas should arrange to speak at once with an experienced Ohio immigration attorney.

Work authorization through the H-1B program is strictly limited to employment offered by a sponsoring U.S.-based employer. H-1B regulations do not compel a visa holder to remain with the sponsoring employer for a specific length of time, provided that a new qualifying employer agrees to sponsor the employee for another H-1B visa. And while a handful of companies still receive quite a large number of H-1B visas, there’s nothing preventing your company from obtaining H-1B visas if the other immigration and employment requirements are met.

U.S.-based companies applying for H-1B visas must prove they are “real” companies by showing the government documents like tax returns, a tax ID number, or financial statements. An H-1B visa petition will be rejected without adequate accompanying documentation. The application may also be denied if the job that’s being offered is not a “specialty” occupation. A good immigration lawyer can tell employers exactly what will be required.

Ohio immigration attorney

U.S.-based companies that hire foreign national employees with H-1B visas should understand from the start that they will have to comply with scores of sometimes confusing immigration laws and related employment regulations. Several federal government agencies may inspect and scrutinize your records and operations to verify your compliance. Investigations of employers are routine, and those investigations may be initiated by USCIS or by the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or the U.S. State Department.

Admittedly, U.S. immigration laws are antiquated, exceedingly complicated, and sometimes just plain impossible to understand. If you are a U.S. employer who is interested in hiring temporary international workers, obtain the legal help you need right away from an experienced Ohio immigration attorney. You may not make this year’s April 1 H-1B deadline, but you can prepare for next year and learn about your other options and the alternatives to the H-1B visa. Employers, hiring managers, and international workers may speak to an experienced Ohio immigration attorney by phone or by e-mail to have your questions answered or to begin the complicated visa petition process.

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If You Hire International Workers

Ohio immigration lawyerEach year, U.S. businesses submit their applications for the 65.000 visas for highly-skilled international workers that are made available each April 1. This year, the demand for H-1B authorization surpassed the 65,000 mark within a week. The 20,000 H-1B visas reserved for advanced degree holders have also been allotted. For U.S-based businesses that still need highly-skilled international workers, you can have help with visa applications, I-9 compliance, and other immigration matters by obtaining the advice and services of an experienced, Columbus-based Ohio immigration lawyer. A good immigration attorney can help you prepare now to apply for H-1B visas for next year. It’s not too early to get started. Many employers may also have a number of visa alternatives available to them; an emigration attorney can explain those alternatives and help employers consider their options.

Plainly, there simply are not enough H-1B authorization being issued to meet the needs of American businesses, so acquiring an H-1B visa cannot be guaranteed to any particular employer. A good immigration attorney can ensure that your visa petitions are accurate and complete, on deadline, and qualified for approval. Alternatives to the H-1B include but are not limited to:

  • E-1 or E-2 visas for investors or traders from certain countries
  • L-1 visas for intracompany transfers
  • O-1 visas for individuals of “extraordinary ability”
  • H-3 visas for individuals participating in a structured training program
  • TN visas for Mexican and Canadian professionals, the E-3 for Australian nationals, or the H-1B1 for nationals of Chile or Singapore

When an employer has international workers on the job, a variety of complicated laws, rules, and regulations apply. If your business employs highly-skilled immigrant workers, have the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney who knows the system and regularly helps employers to acquire the right authorization and stay in compliance with immigration laws. Don’t wait. Protect yourself and your company, and contact an experienced, Columbus-based Ohio immigration lawyer promptly.

Refugee Status For Some

Columbus immigration attorneyThe Obama Administration will give refugee status to a small number of youths from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, according to the Associated Press. Documented immigrants already in the U.S. will now be able to request – for children who are their relatives in those nations – resettlement in the U.S. as refugees. If you are an immigrant in Michigan or Ohio – with or without documentation – and you need to apply for refugee status, asylum, or for DACA, or if you’re seeking to bring a young family member here from Central America, get trustworthy legal help and speak at once with an experienced Columbus immigration attorney.

The new program will determine if a young person is eligible to join relatives in the United States. In a memorandum to the State Department in September, President Obama allocated 4,000 slots for refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean for next year. The number is a fraction of the number of children who are already awaiting deportation proceedings. The program would not provide a path for minors to join undocumented relatives and would not apply to minors who have entered the U.S. without documentation. Instead, it aims to offer an alternative to youths who otherwise might embark on a dangerous journey to join their families in the United States.

Under the new plan, the U.S. would process refugee requests for youths in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Similar programs were set up in East Asia after the Vietnam War and in Haiti in the 1990s. The plan was included in a White House memo to the State Department setting a total 2015 allocation of 70,000 refugees. In addition to specifying El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the memorandum also singled out Cuba, Iraq, Eurasia, and the Baltics as locations where the United States may screen individuals for potential refugee status. If you are an immigrant without documentation in Michigan or Ohio, get help now. You may qualify for DACA, for asylum, or for refugee status. If you need any legal help or advice with any immigration matter, or if you need to bring a family member here to the U.S. from another nation, speak at once with someone you can rely on and trust – an experienced Columbus immigration attorney.

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Not How The Law Should Work

Columbus immigration attorneyThe story of Florida ophthalmologist Ashish Sanon, born in India and trained in Canada, illustrates almost everything that’s wrong with the current immigration system. A respected and otherwise law-abiding eye surgeon, Sanon now finds himself in federal court charged with visa fraud, which could be followed by a deportation battle. If you are having any immigration problems in Michigan or Ohio, get legal help at once by speaking to an experienced Columbus immigration attorney. If someone like Dr. Sanon can get into this kind of legal trouble this easily, it can happen to anyone.

Sanon, a naturalized citizen of Canada, has remained in the U.S. since 1998 by consistently renewing temporary visas granted under the North American Free Trade Agreement to doctors from Canada or Mexico who teach or do research. However, authorities now say Sanon went too far, operating a full medical practice as a self-employed doctor for more than a decade. In the past five years, according to the Tampa Bay Times, Sanon billed $5 million, enough to keep up homes on both glittery Clearwater Beach and at the prestigious Black Diamond Ranch golf community. Sanon’s attorney said the charge is the only negative mark against a man with good character who paid taxes on what he earned. “He’s ridiculously embarrassed about this,” the attorney said to the Times.

President Obama has promised that some immigration reforms will be forthcoming before the end of the year; certainly, it should be easier for people like Dr. Sanon to work, pay taxes, and serve their communities here in the United States. Reliable, trustworthy legal help is available to every immigrant, but you must take the first step and make the call. In the states of Michigan and Ohio, if you are a documented or undocumented immigrant and you need legal help with any immigration matter, or if you’re an employer with concerns about how immigration regulations impact your business, get legal help and speak promptly to an experienced Columbus immigration attorney.

Some Immigrants May Lose Health Coverage

Columbus immigration attorneyThousands of immigrants risk may financial aid for health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unless they clear up discrepancies regarding their citizenship and incomes, Obama administration officials said in September. At least 115,000 people who cannot not prove they are citizens or legal residents were scheduled to lose coverage at the end of September. The government claims it has repeatedly attempted to reach those individuals, but immigration advocates groups say the government has lost some of the documents submitted to prove eligibility. Those who are in the United States without documentation are not entitled to coverage under the law. If you are an immigrant without documentation in Michigan or Ohio, you really should speak with an experienced Columbus immigration attorney. Legal status is the only way to obtain many benefits in the United States. Let a good immigration lawyer help you.

Florida and Texas top the list of states with immigration-related cancellations, but California and New York run their own insurance marketplaces so they aren’t on the list; that could make the real number of cancellations substantially higher. The Health and Human Services Department also says some who received coverage have reported incomes that don’t square with what the government has on record. Those not submitting new documentation will have their premiums adjusted up or down in November. Many risk seeing their financial subsidies slashed. Some may no longer be eligible for any help with their premiums.

Supporters of the ACA fear that people will lose coverage or be discouraged from enrolling because of technicalities. If you are an immigrant in the United States – with or without documentation – and you’re in Michigan or Ohio, see an experienced Columbus immigration attorney immediately if you have any legal difficulties qualifying for or receiving the benefits that are legally yours.

Not A Good Idea

Immigration - Not A Good IdeaIt’s an old piece of wisdom: Anyone who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client. This is especially true if you’re from another country and you find yourself in a legal predicament, entangled with emigration officials or with the criminal court system.

Do not attempt to represent yourself. If you’re dealing with any immigration-related legal concern, get the legal help you need and contact an experienced emigration attorney. Many immigrants think the only time they will need an attorney is if they face criminal charges or deportation, but the truth is this; if you’re an immigrant in the United States, you should have the advice of a good immigration lawyer any time you’re dealing with any legal issue. Here are several “routine” situations where many people need a good immigration lawyer but may not realize it.

Many who seek a green card through marriage don’t see any need for an emigration lawyer – at first. But the paperwork for a green card is long and complicated, and the interview can sometimes be excruciating. Don’t handle the paperwork yourself or go to the interview without a good emigration lawyer. Experienced immigration attorneys have seen delays, green card denials, and more than a few broken hearts.

When a person who wasn’t born in the United States is a defendant in a U.S. courtroom for the first time, that person will be advised to the “right” to act as one’s own attorney. For many who enter the United States from other nations, this is an amazing freedom, making it a temptation that’s hard to resist. Do the wise thing; go to court accompanied by a good immigration lawyer with plenty of experience representing detained immigrants.

Businesses that hire foreign-born employees also need the services of an experienced emigration attorney. Increased enforcement and increasing scrutiny of H-1B and L-1 visa petitions mean that companies can’t make the mistake of filing visa petitions without legal review and counsel. A good emigration lawyer will help employers avoid the red flags that can lead to the rejection of your visa petitions.

These are only several of the “routine” situations where you really do need the services of a good immigration lawyer. If you need legal help regarding any matter related to immigration, speak right away with a good, experienced immigration attorney.

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Employers Depend on J-1 Visas

Columbus Investor Visa AttorneyBusinesses in New Jersey are hoping to save a foreign-worker program that boosts the state’s tourist industry each summer. The J-1 visa allows hundreds of foreign college students to work in New Jersey’s hotels, amusements parks, and boardwalk shops in a season when the demand for summer workers exhausts the supply. According to the State Department, almost 6,000 foreign students worked in New Jersey’s tourist industry in 2012. Another 710 worked as camp counselors, and 728 worked as interns at New Jersey-based business.

Increasing scrutiny of the J-1 visa program came after employer abuses were discovered, including a Pennsylvania temp agency that stiffed hundreds of students for overtime and paid them a sub-minimum wage. Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Press of Atlantic City that new federal rules are designed to protect foreign students from inappropriate work, and employers are supposed to expose visiting students to American culture and society. “There’s too little oversight,” Vaughan said. “The abuses are rampant.”

Congress has included the J-1 visa program in the larger debate over immigration reform. Proposed changes in the J-1 visa program would impose stricter controls, higher fees, and potential fines for sponsors who are not in compliance with J-1 regulations. However, businesses in New Jersey point to the many students who return to work the following summer as confirmation of the J-1 program’s success.

Speak immediately with an experienced immigration attorney if you are an international student with any questions or concerns regarding your J-1 visa or status. If you employ foreign students, a good immigration lawyer can answer your legal questions, address your concerns, and help you with any immigration-related legal issue. With stricter enforcement of visa regulations and heightened scrutiny of J-1 visa petitions, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced immigration attorney and get the legal help you need.

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Asylum Restrictions Eased

Columbus Investor Visa AttorneyIn February, the Obama administration eased restrictions on asylum seekers with only loose or incidental ties to terror groups. The change was approved by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry.

It allows individuals who provided “limited material support” to terror groups to be considered for entry into the U.S. Supporters of the change argued that a prohibition on anyone who has ever aided terrorists unfairly penalizes thousands of potential refugees. According to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), only persons whose acts were “so tangential and minimal that no rational person would consider them supporters of terrorist activities,” will be considered for entry into the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security offered several examples of individuals who might be affected and helped by the eased restrictions: a restaurant owner who served food to terrorists; a farmer who paid a toll to terrorists to cross a bridge to sell his food; or a Syrian who paid an opposition group to help him get out of war-torn Syria. “These exemptions cover discrete kinds of limited material support … that was insignificant in amount, provided incidentally in the course of everyday social, commercial, or humanitarian interactions, or provided under significant pressure,” a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said.

Critics say that despite these good intentions, the eased restrictions raise security concerns, particularly after recent reports of asylum fraud. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said, “We need to tighten security standards for asylum, not relax them even further.”

If you are seek asylum or face any other immigration-related legal matter, speak to an experienced immigration attorney and obtain the help you need. You may also be facing issues with work authorization documents, a visa, a violation of U.S. law, or you may be seeking residency or citizenship. A good immigration lawyer will assess your personal situation; give you sound legal advice; and work aggressively to protect your rights. If you are an immigrant facing a hearing, a trial, or a threat of deportation, please get the legal help you need and talk with an experienced immigration attorney today.

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Population Trends Favor Immigration

bigstock-Immigration-3151682In October 2013, the New Yorker magazine published a commentary by Elizabeth Kolbert about global population trends. Kolbert notes what many others have observed; birth rates are plummeting in wealthy industrialized nations with aging populations. She reports that what demographers call “total fertility rate” or TFR – the average number of children the average woman produces – is, in most developed countries, well below the basic replacement rate of 2.0 children per woman. In Singapore, for example, the TFR is 0.79; in Taiwan, it’s 1.1; and in South Korea, it’s 1.2. European countries including Italy, Spain, and Germany currently have a TFR below 1.5.

The problem is that as populations age and eventually decline, developed nations have fewer workers supporting more retirees, creating a social welfare crunch and putting these nations at a technological disadvantage, as the young tend to be more tech-savvy. At the moment, the TFR in the United States is about 2.06, not high enough to ease stresses on the social welfare system as more “baby boomers” reach age 65 and retire. Social Security, for example, was originally built on the conviction that there would always be more young people paying for benefits than elderly people receiving them.

The message for leaders in the United States is obvious. Other developed nations will compete with us to attract the world’s best and brightest; thus, Congress should do whatever it takes to ensure that the U.S. remains the favored destination of skilled immigrant workers. Comprehensive immigration reform is the imperative first step.

If you’re an immigrant or a potential immigrant looking to work in the United States, or if you are an employer seeking to hire skilled immigrant workers, the first thing to do is to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can explain the pertinent immigration laws and help you with applications, visa petitions, hearings, and more. If you are an immigrant worker or a U.S.-based employer dealing with any immigration issue, contact an experienced immigration attorney promptly.