About Me

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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Uncertainty over Trump's immigration policy leads foreign engineers to ditch startups

By Sara Ashley O'Brien
December 19, 2016

While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump made it clear that he wanted to deport illegal immigrants.

His stance on high-skilled immigration, on the other hand, was more opaque.

The H-1B visa is the most common pathway for high-skilled foreigners to work in the U.S. Trump called it "very, very bad for workers" on the campaign trail and, after being elected, pledged to investigate visa programs that were abused. However, he also admitted that he's hired H-1B workers for his own businesses.

Uncertainty over what will happen under Trump has some foreign engineers thinking twice about working for a startup.

That's according to Harj Taggar, CEO of TripleByte, a technical recruiting site for full-time programmers.

"The thought process is ... If something does happen [with visa reform], I want an army of lawyers on my side," said Taggar, who's seen anecdotal evidence on TripleByte to support that. The firm gives an online programming test and technical interview to assess the skills of candidates and connect them with jobs at companies like Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB, Tech30), Uber, Airbnb, as well as smaller startups.

TripleByte applicants are required to already have a U.S. work visa. Taggar, a former partner at Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator, said TripleByte receives roughly 2,000 applications every month. About 10% are on the H-1B or TN visa (for Canadian and Mexican citizens).

"We've seen engineers who are on H-1Bs tell us that they're specifically looking to move to a new company that's larger and has more resources than the company they're currently at," Taggar told CNNMoney. "Earlier startups can't offer [legal resources] in the way that a Facebook or Google can."

There is a potential bright spot for startups looking for technical talent, though. Cracking down on those who abuse the system could create more room for smaller firms.

H-1B visas are doled out by a lottery system -- with an annual cap of just 85,000 per year. Startups often refrain from submitting for H-1B visas due to a swelling number of applicants. In 2016, 236,000 foreigners applied for the H-1B; in 2014, there were 172,500 applications. It's an expensive process and is futile if their employees aren't chosen in the lottery.

When Trump met with top tech execs last week, immigration was one of three main issues discussed, according to a source briefed on the meeting. Recode's Kara Swisher reported that Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30)CEO Satya Nadella brought up the H-1B program and that Trump seemed responsive to his concerns about tech's need to retain and bring foreign talent to the U.S.

Tech workers and immigration experts are very much taking a "wait and see" approach.

"We don't have a good sense of what is to come," said Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.

Ohanian has advocated for visa reform for years. He's warned that antiquated visa policies could be the downfall of the U.S. tech boom as talented engineers are forced to return to their home countries instead of helping build companies in the U.S.

"The macro trend that's really important is that we, as a country, acknowledge how much value is created by so many immigrants."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Trump's vow to overturn DACA could cost US billions: report

The Hill
By Rebecca Savransky
December 20, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump's plans to overturn President Obama's executive order protecting illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children could cost the country tens of billions of dollars, according to a new study.

If the executive order is repealed, about 645,000 people would lose their legal right to work in the country,  the San-Francisco based immigrant Legal Resource Center said, CNN reported.

That loss of work and the process of finding and retraining replacements for these workers could cost businesses about $3.4 billion, the center added.

"Some employers may consider consolidating or shedding these existing positions to proactively reduce some of those [turnover] costs," said Jose MagaƱa-Salgado, an immigration policy attorney and the author of the report.

The loss of those workers could reduce tax revenue and decrease payments to programs such as Social Security and Medicare by about $24.6 billion over the course of a decade, according to the study.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides work authorization and a temporary halt on deportation to illegal immigrants who arrived as children if they meet certain requirements.

The president-elect said in an interview earlier this month he is "going to work something out" for those undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

"They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here," he said.

"Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Responding to Trump, L.A. creates $10-million legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation

Los Angeles Times
By Dakota Smith
December 19, 2016

In a dramatic response to the expected crackdown on illegal immigration by Donald Trump, Los Angeles leaders on Monday are announcing a new $10-million fund to provide legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation.

Under the joint L.A. city and county effort, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is committing to $3 million, according to Supervisor Hilda Solis’ office. The city is expected to put in $2 million. The rest of the money would be raised by philanthropic groups.

The move comes as leaders in Democratic-dominated California are developing ways to push back as the president-elect promises to deport millions of people in this country illegally.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Solis, City Atty. Mike Feuer, and City Councilman Gil Cedillo will join philanthropic leaders to announce the creation of the L.A. Justice Fund.

Monday’s announcement comes amid fears Trump will deport millions of people living in the U.S. illegally. More than 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without legal status live in Los Angeles County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Cedillo spokesman Fredy Ceja said Monday that the fund shows the city is “ready to respond.”

“We’re trying to find a common solution to whatever threats the federal government throws our way,” Ceja said.

Los Angeles-area immigrant rights advocates, unions and legal organizations sent a letter last month to Garcetti, the City Council, and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors calling for more aggressive action in the face of possible deportations.

The coalition’s list of demands included the creation of a legal defense fund.

State lawmakers also recently introduced a flurry of bills aimed at protecting immigrants. State Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) introduced legislation to create a state program to pay for legal representation for those facing deportation, while Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland)  wants to create state-funded centers to train attorneys on immigration law.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson announced last month that he’ll seek to hire an immigrant advocate to take on the effort and pursue policies to prevent L.A. residents from being deported. He also said the city should work with schools and community colleges on strategies to keep families together and prevent deportations.

But it remains far from clear what city governments can do to block or even delay deportations, which are under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Some cities have refused to fully cooperate with immigration officials. San Francisco enacted a law stating that local authorities could not hold immigrants for possible deportation if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges.

Critics say the tough talk in the wake of Trump’s election is more about politics than actually preventing the president-elect from having his way.

Los Angeles officials have been vocal since election day about protecting the city’s immigrants. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has reiterated that the department has no plans to get involved in any deportation efforts by the federal government and would continue a longstanding policy against allowing officers to stop people solely to determine their immigration status.

Illegal immigration was a central issue of Trump’s presidential campaign. He called for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, deportation of people in the country illegally and a rollback in the immigration relief created under President Obama. Trump said during the campaign that he would withhold federal funds to punish so-called sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles and Chicago, for their lenient policies toward illegal immigration.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Monday, December 19, 2016

California Marchers Protest Against Trump as Democrats Vow Policy Fight

By Sharon Bernstein and Paul Tait
December 18, 2016

LOS ANGELES — About 2,000 people protesting against the rhetoric and proposals of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump marched peacefully through downtown Los Angeles on Sunday in advance of Monday's planned Electoral College vote to formally choose him as leader.

Trump, a Republican businessman who campaigned against illegal immigration and threatened to imprison Democratic rival Hillary Clinton if elected, lost the popular vote in the Nov. 8 U.S. election but won the contest for the electoral college, which is calculated on a state-by-state basis.

"I want to tell Mr. Trump that we are immigrants, we help this economy grow, we don’t want nothing for free," said marcher Horalia Jauregui.

In addition to marking the day before the Electoral College is set to vote, the march took place on International Migrants Day, designated by the United Nations to draw attention to the plight of refugees.

Marchers in Los Angeles carried signs with phrases such as “Stop Trump,” “Refugees Welcome,” and “Make America Think Again,” a play on Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

Heavily Democratic California voted overwhelmingly for Clinton in the election, and its leaders have begun positioning the most populous U.S. state to fight the incoming Trump administration on any challenges to its progressive policies on issues such as immigration, the environment and healthcare.

On Sunday, state Senate leader Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said he would fight any moves by Trump that conflict with what he called California's values.

There were no obvious pro-Trump protesters at the event.

Lieutenant Al Labrada, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said the protests were peaceful, with no incidents or arrests.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com