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


Friday, April 12, 2024

USCIS Announces Employment Authorization Procedures for Palestinians Covered by Deferred Enforced Departure

Eligible Palestinians can now apply for EAD valid through Aug. 13, 2025 WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today posted a Federal Register notice establishing procedures for Palestinians covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) that will be valid through Aug. 13, 2025. President Biden issued a memorandum on DED for Palestinians on Feb. 14, 2024, deferring through Aug. 13, 2025, the removal of certain Palestinians present in the United States at the time of the announcement. Individuals who enter the United States after Feb. 14, 2024, are not eligible for DED. The memorandum directs the Department of Homeland Security to take appropriate measures to authorize employment for Palestinians eligible for DED and to consider suspending certain regulatory requirements for Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students. The Federal Register notice describes eligible Palestinians and acceptable documentation such as a Palestinian Authority passport or identification card. Please see the Federal Register notice for additional information about DED for Palestinians and instructions on how to apply for a DED-based EAD. USCIS adjudicates each EAD application fairly, humanely, and efficiently on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet all standards and eligibility criteria. Over the past year, USCIS has reduced EAD processing times overall and streamlined adjudication processing. More information about fees for DED-based EADs is available on the USCIS website. Accompanying this announcement is a Special Student Relief notice for Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students so that eligible students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain F-1 status through the DED period.  There is no application for DED. Palestinians are covered under DED based on the terms described in the president’s directive. Eligible Palestinians can apply for an EAD by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Individuals who wish to travel outside of the United States based on DED must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

U.S. Latinos fear new mass deportations may target all Hispanics

More than half of U.S. Latino adults worry any new mass deportations would target all Latinos regardless of legal status, a new Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo finds. Why it matters: Former President Trump has promised mass deportations if he wins a second term, and past efforts have swept up U.S. citizens, creating generations of trauma. By the numbers: 54% of Mexicans and Mexican Americans — the targets of mass deportations in the 20th Century — said they worried that any new mass deportation plan would target all Latinos, including U.S. citizens and lawful residents. 65% of Central Americans, who have been targets in recent deportations, said the same. So did 47% of Puerto Ricans — who are all U.S. citizens — and 37% of Cuban Americans, who have benefited from decades of Cold War-era "special treatment" and what some scholars say are unique immigration privileges. Overall, 52% of Latinos surveyed said they worry that all Latinos will be targets of the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. Catch up quick: Trump's plan to crack down on immigrants includes using a range of tools to deport millions of people, including obscure laws and military funds. Trump wants to mobilize ICE agents — along with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal prosecutors, the National Guard, and even state and local law enforcement officers — to carry out deportations, Axios previously reported. Fast-track deportations — now reserved for recent crossers encountered near the border — would be expanded to apply to anyone who illegally crossed the border and couldn't prove they'd been living in the U.S. for more than two years. Flashback: State and local governments during the Great Depression "repatriation" pressured Mexicans and Mexican Americans to "return" to Mexico amid high unemployment in the U.S. and violent anti-Mexican sentiment. About a million people, most of whom were coerced, left. The Eisenhower-era "Operation Wetback" used military-style tactics to round up 1.3 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans across the country in the 1950s for the-then largest deportation operation in U.S. history. "Wetback" is a racial slur for Mexicans. Both mass deportations snatched up American citizens, including a future World War II hero and Holocaust survivor who had been racially profiled The big picture: While a majority of respondents are fearful of deportations, they are increasingly in favor of more hardline positions on immigration as support for Donald Trump among Latinos grows, Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson tells Axios. For example, 64% of Latinos agreed with giving the president the authority to shut U.S. borders if there are too many migrants trying to enter the country. Yes, but: Latino activists and political leaders worry that increasingly harsh and racist rhetoric about immigrants — particularly by Trump and his supporters — is fueling a surge in the already record-breaking number of hate crimes against Latinos. The increased tension over undocumented immigrants has included racist remarks from Christian pastors and concerns about violence by far-right groups. Methodology: This Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll, in partnership with Noticias Telemundo, was conducted March 22-28 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,012 Hispanic/Latino adults age 18 or older. The margin of sampling error is ±3.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

House to delay sending Mayorkas impeachment articles to the Senate until next week

The House will send impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate next week – a delay that comes as Senate Republicans seek more time to make the public argument for a full trial since Democrats are expected to quickly dismiss the articles at the beginning of the trial. “To ensure the Senate has adequate time to perform its constitutional duty, the House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. There is no reason whatsoever for the Senate to abdicate its responsibility to hold an impeachment trial,” Taylor Haulsee, a spokesperson for House Speaker Mike Johnson, told CNN in a statement. House Republican leaders had initially planned to transmit the articles to the Senate on Wednesday, but some Senate Republicans had been urging Speaker Mike Johnson to delay the transfer, as they try to build more support for blocking an expected motion from Democrats to dismiss the trial. ADVERTISING Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that Democrats are “sticking with our plan” to deal with the impeachment “as expeditiously as possible.” “We are ready to go whenever they are,” said Schumer. “We are sticking with our plan. We’re going to move this as expeditiously as possible.” Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy said on Tuesday, “We have asked – and I understand this is public now – the speaker, we asked him to delay sending over the articles until Monday to at least give us a full week. We’ll see if Senator Schumer honors the extra time.” Senate Republican Whip John Thune explained why some Senate Republicans are pushing for a delay in the impeachment articles being sent over from the House. He also said some members of his conference have been communicating with the House about the matter. “If we want to have the opportunity in the Senate to have a more fulsome discussions about this when the articles come over, there are times when that could probably happen better than having them come over tomorrow night and having to deal with it Thursday afternoon.” He added: “It’s the speaker’s call, but clearly our members want to have the opportunity not only to debate, but to have some votes on issues they want to raise, in some cases those will be points of order.” Asked if Johnson is considering a delay, Thune said, “That’s a question for him. We have members who have been communicating with the House about this, but the only thing I can tell you is what he’s said already and that is the intention is to send it over here tomorrow.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

What to expect in Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas impeachment proceedings

WASHINGTON – The House will delay sending articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate until next week, a move intended to give Republicans more leverage to push for a full impeachment trial as they continue to blast the secretary's handling of the U.S. southern border. The lower chamber had planned to send the articles on Wednesday, setting up the Senate to start their own process on Thursday. But Democratic leaders are not expected to allow a full trial against Mayorkas on the Senate floor, so the mid-week transfer would likely have put additional pressure on the chamber to dismiss the impeachment articles quickly so senators could leave town for the weekend. "To ensure the Senate has adequate time to perform its constitutional duty, the House will transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate next week," Taylor Haulsee, spokesperson for House Speaker Mike Johnson, said in a statement. "There is no reason whatsoever for the Senate to abdicate its responsibility to hold an impeachment trial." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters shortly afterward that Senate Democrats are still "ready to go" whenever the House initiates the proceedings. Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide "We're sticking with our plan," he said. "We're going to move this as expeditiously as possible." Senate Republicans plan to raise multiple "points of order" on the floor when the House does send over the articles of impeachment they passed earlier this year. A point of order is a procedural move that would drag out the vote and may force Democrats to take politically uncomfortable votes in a high-stakes election year. Get the Susan Page newsletter in your inbox. Get the latest story from Susan Page right in your inbox. Delivery: Varies Your Email Republicans' strategy is unlikely to change the final result, as Democrats are expected to dismiss or essentially stall the impeachment proceedings. However, key centrist senators that typically vote with Democrats could break rank, which would change the equation if all Republicans stick together. Senate GOP Whip Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Tuesday that the "overwhelming majority" of Republicans will vote to hold a trial, indicating that there are likely to be at least a few defectors. The conservative case for holding a trial A group of seven ultraconservative senators led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, railed against Democrats' plan to avoid an impeachment trial for nearly an hour on the Senate floor Monday evening, urging their colleagues to vote to hold a full impeachment trial – or face voters' wrath at the ballot box this fall. "If you're so confident that the charges against Secretary Mayorkas are baseless, then why not hold a trial?" Lee said on the floor Sunday. "This is exactly what it looks like when someone is aware that there is a problem and wants to sweep the problem under the rug... You can't hide this." The Senate has held a trial for every impeached official unless they died or left office before a trial could be held, Lee told USA TODAY ahead of the speeches. "Tabling it is not just a terrible idea, but it's counter-constitutional." Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the third annual Axios What's Next Summit at the Planet Word Museum on March 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, argued during a press conference Tuesday that Democrats only plan to dismiss the trial to shield vulnerable Democratic senators that are up for reelection this year: "That's who Chuck Schumer is trying to protect from having to hear the evidence and fulfill a constitutional responsibility." The conservative senators said they would explore the procedural options to make dismissing the trial as politically painful as possible. "This is the United States Constitution and 240-plus years of precedent. My personal view is that the consequences ought to be commiserate with the action," said Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly called it a "sham impeachment" that's "a new low for House Republicans." "House Republicans failed to produce any evidence that Secretary Mayorkas has committed any crime," Schumer said earlier this year, and "failed to present any evidence of anything resembling an impeachable offense." Why did the Republican-led House of Representatives impeach Mayorkas? The Republican-led House voted to impeach Mayorkas in February by a count of 214-213, making him the second cabinet secretary in American history to be impeached (the first was nearly 150 years ago.) No Democrats supported the effort, and a few Republicans also voted against it. House Republicans argued that Mayorkas violated the Constitution by deliberately refusing to enforce border security laws. The impeachment inquiry in the House "demonstrated beyond any doubt that Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and systemically refused to comply with the laws of the United States, and breached the public trust," said House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., earlier this year. But Democrats, some Republicans, constitutional law experts and former Homeland Security secretaries have contended that the GOP-led effort uses the impeachment process – typically reserved for conduct considered high crimes and misdemeanors – to settle a policy disagreement about how to address the nation's immigration system, effectively weakening a powerful congressional tool. "We've taken impeachment and we've made it a social media issue as opposed to a Constitutional one," Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., told reporters shortly after announcing he would leave Congress early. "This place just keeps going down, and I don't need to spend my time here." The debate has come amid surging migration to the southern border, with many people fleeing dangerous conditions and economic uncertainty in central and South America and seeking refuge in the United States. Immigration has become a major issue in the presidential election this fall. In January, immigration was the top problem cited by American voters in a Gallup poll. A February survey from the Pew Research Center found 80% of Americans feel the government is doing a bad job handling the number of migrants at the border. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., (C) speaks during a news conference with Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., (L) and Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., following a closed-door caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on March 20, 2024 in Washington, DC. Here's what to expect in the Senate When the House sends the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, Johnson will hold a ceremony to sign them. The impeachment articles will then be walked across the Capitol building to the Senate by the House impeachment managers, which include Green, Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Ben Cline, R-Va., Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., Michael Guest, R-Miss., Clay Higgins, R-La. Laurel Lee, R-Fla., August Pfluger, R-Texas, and Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo. The articles will be read out loud and the day after, each senator will be sworn in as a juror in the trial. Then Democratic leaders are likely to move to dismiss the trial, which would only require a majority vote to accomplish. However, it's not clear exactly whether moderate members of each party might defect from their peers. Asked where they stand on dismissing the trial, multiple senators including Manchin, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, declined to say on Monday how they'd vote (though Manchin called the impeachment effort "pure crap" in February.) The Senate could also choose to send the impeachment trial to a committee to prevent it from taking up valuable floor time, which would eventually go back to the full Senate to vote whether to convict. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden on Univision: the president talks about immigration, Mexico, Israel and the risks to democracy

Enrique Acevedo: Thank you, Mr. President, for hosting us at the White House Joe Biden: Delighted you're here. Sponsored Links Las 10 deducciones de impuestos que más se pasan por alto Echa un vistazo a estas deducciones y asegúrate de reclamar todas a las que califiques TurboTax EA: We really appreciate it. In your state of the Union address, you said freedom and democracy are under assault at home, drawing parallels to crucial points in history like the Civil War and FDR's wartime leadership. What, in your view, constitutes the primary threat to freedom and democracy at home? JB: Donald Trump. Seriously. Donald Trump talk uses phrases like we're going to eviscerate the Constitution. He's going to be a dictator on day one. The idea that he would sit in the office, and I'll show you before you leave, off the Oval Office and watched for hours the attack on the Capitol and the destruction and the mayhem and the people who were killed. The police officers who died and called them political heroes, call them patriots. And saying that if he gets elected, he's going to free them all because they're being held illegally. I mean, it's just and think of the things he says. Look at the way he when he talks about minority populations or Hispanics, you know, we're talking about them being, anyway. It just, I can't think of any other time in my lifetime, in history that's occurred that you've had somebody who's had this kind of attitude. He says he's going to I'm going to be a dictator on day one. No one doesn't believe him. EA: This is the first rematch election in almost 70 years, but it is the first time in history that one of the candidates is facing federal charges for his alleged efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election and disrupt the certification of the electoral vote on January 6. How is that shaping the way you are running your campaign? PUBLICIDAD JB: Well, look, we all know who Donald Trump is. I mean, Donald Trump from even before the election was calling it there were going to be, he talked about they’re going to be cheating and all this. He and all the times they took these cases to the Supreme Court of the United States, Republican Court, a very conservative court, and said, no, no, there isn't any. I mean, but he is. He. You know, how can you love your country only when you win. And his attitude about what he should be able to be doing and what the power of presidency is. He wants to suspend parts of the Constitution. Who in God's name would say that? Who said that before? So he has a very, very, I think, jaded view of the Constitution. He made it clear that he doesn't plan on abiding by parts of it if he thinks it's not appropriate. And it's just… at least he's saying it out loud. EA: And let me switch gears, because gun violence remains the number one cause of death for children in America. JB: Absolutely. EA: Latinos have made it a top priority across the country, especially in places like El Paso and Uvalde in Texas. Your administration called on Congress to pass common sense gun laws, but that's unlikely to happen in the next few months. If you're reelected, would you consider taking further executive action on this issue? JB: Absolutely. Look, I, along with Dianne Feinstein, passed the first limitation on assault weapons and the number of bullets that could be in a rifle. The idea anybody needs 100 rounds on a rifle and an AR-15. I was out in Uvalde. I met with every one of those families. I spent four hours with them. I looked at the pain in their faces. I saw what they felt. I could feel it. And the idea that. And you know, his phrase on another context where there was a mass shooting, I think it was in El Paso, he said. They said what to do, he said, just get over it, got to get over it. The idea we don't have background checks for anybody purchasing a weapon, the idea that we're going to be in a position where he says that he famously told the NRA that don't worry, no one's going to touch your guns if I… From the very beginning, I used to teach the Second Amendment in law school, from the very beginning, there were limitations. You couldn't own a cannon. You couldn’t… You could own a rifle or a gun. PUBLICIDAD EA: Weapons of war. JB: They weren’t weapons of war. And so, I look, we passed the first major gun legislation in over 30 years when we passed the law that we recently passed, that outlaws weapons that are made that you can't trace, and so on and so forth. And but it's not enough. I think we have to do more. And I am absolutely committed. And I've asked the Congress, and if I get a Congress and get reelected, we're going to do it again. We're going to make sure we eliminate these weapons. EA: Student debt weighs heavily on millions of graduates. It's been reported that after a series of legal challenges your administration is working on a new student loan forgiveness program that's using a different legal authority, a different legal strategy to be implemented. Can you share some of the details of that plan and what you've achieved? JB: Sure, I can. Look, there are two plans that existed already. I didn't have to, but they were… they were ignored. When the Supreme Court ruled, I couldn't forgive student debt across the board, they said that. So, we looked and saw what was out there. There was a program that exists that if you in fact are engaged in public service, your debt can be forgiven after an X number of years. If you've continued to work or continue to pay your monthly payments. Well, that's allowed me to literally forgive the debt of millions of people, several million people, because these are firefighters, school teachers, etc. people who are engaged in public service. Already written in the law and it's working. There's also another plan called the SAVE plan. People with limited incomes, if they in fact and it exists in the books and I'm using it now and have been using it, and it'll have a profound impact on the Latino community, because what happens is, if you're not, you only have to pay relative to what you're earning. So, for example, if you're earning only $20,000 a year, you don't have to pay anything back until you earn more money. If you're earning $150,000 a year, you pay back proportionally what your debt is. So, it's having a profound impact on giving people a chance.And look, the idea… I get criticized for trying to emphasize investment in education. How in God's name can we lead the world without having the best education in the world? And as I said to you, maybe before we started, I don't remember how I said it when we started is that you got roughly 25 students from K through 12 on every single class. 25 out of 100 students come from Spanish speaking homes. How in God's name can we ignore that? It's our future. It's our future. PUBLICIDAD EA: Especially in school districts like California and Texas. JB: Across the board, even my state of Delaware. And you also have a situation where if you think about it, you have an enormous amount of involvement and investment in. All the studies have shown that if you come from a home where there's no books in the home, or parents are having difficulty, where there may be a dislocation in the family, unless those students are going to start off kindergarten having heard a million fewer words spoken. Not, not different, a million. They're not engaged. But if in fact they start preschool aged three and four, they increase by 50% their prospects, nothing else, no matter what home they come from. EA: So access, early access to… JB: Early access. And that's why I also put in $14 billion dollars in Spanish speaking institutions of higher education. And the reason for that is… I did that same with the African American community, so HBCUs. In two separate funds. But here's the deal. Think about this. Every student who graduates from high school, going to community college or college, whether they're Latino or Asian American, whatever, they have the same capacity as white students. But guess what? The universities don't have these large funds. And guess what? All the jobs in the future. What are they? They're high-tech jobs. They’ll have laboratories to be trained in. So it's overwhelmingly in the interest not only of the community, but the country to grow the capacity for these students to be able to learn. So that's why I've invested in early education, and we have to do more than we're doing now. And it grows the economy. It generates it, doesn't it? Not only it costs money, but it generates significant growth.EA: Another issue that impacts not just Latino families, but families across the country is housing affordability. PUBLICIDAD JB: That's right. Más sobre Joe Biden How to watch the exclusive interview with President Joe Biden on Univision POLITICS How to watch the exclusive interview with President Joe Biden on Univision 1 MIN DE LECTURA Climate change: Is Biden radical enough to win over Sanders supporters in November? POLITICS Climate change: Is Biden radical enough to win over Sanders supporters in November? 7 MIN DE LECTURA Sanders is strong favorite of Hispanics in Nevada caucus: Univision poll POLITICS Sanders is strong favorite of Hispanics in Nevada caucus: Univision poll 5 MIN DE LECTURA Did Trump's rhetoric influence the shooting that killed 22 people in El Paso? Hispanic voters believe so POLITICS Did Trump's rhetoric influence the shooting that killed 22 people in El Paso? Hispanic voters believe so 2 MIN DE LECTURA Univision News poll: Democrats surge in Texas, no longer a safe state for Trump in 2020 POLITICS Univision News poll: Democrats surge in Texas, no longer a safe state for Trump in 2020 3 MIN DE LECTURA EA: In Nevada, during your recent trip to Nevada and Phoenix, we spoke with Victor and Maria Cureño. They bought their first home at 51, thanks to a loan from the federal government that allowed them to put the down payment for their first house. So how would the new Biden-Harris administration make homeownership more attainable for families across the country, across the board? JB: Well, first of all, if you're buying your first home and or you're moving up from a small home to a larger home, we provide for the ability for you to essentially get a $10,000 dollar payment to buy the first home and or to move to another home because of interest rates and the like. What that does is, again, that grows the economy, it allows people. And we've provided for millions of new homes, rental assistance, or provided… we’ve sent people checks for a lot of money to subsidize their rent, because it's, again, overwhelming the interest of the country that we do that. So, we have a major housing program through the Department of Health, of Housing and Urban Development. We have a major program that through the legislation that no Republican voted for, I might add, that provides for rent subsidies. Think of all the people who were able to stay in their homes during the pandemic and after the pandemic because we subsidized their rent. Why isn't… why does that not make sense? And encourages builders to build these homes, build these apartments? And, so, it's I have the number here, but any way… it's a significant impact. PUBLICIDAD EA: Talking about immigration now, you've been criticized by Republicans for not doing enough to secure the border after months that your administration spent negotiating a border security bill that dramatically increased funding for border protections, but you've also been criticized by some Democratic advocates that said they feel disappointed because they perceive this as a departure from Democratic values on immigration. My question is, how do you propose to fix what is arguably the most polarizing issue in American politics today? JB: Well, first of all, the first piece of legislation I introduced as president was related to the border. The first one. I wanted to make sure everything from Dreamers had a path to citizenship, all the way to providing for enough border security people to orderly handle the border, to allow legal immigration and prevent illegal immigration. We're in a situation where, for example, we don't have enough officers to even interview people to discern whether they have a legitimate fear or concern to qualify to come in. We don't have enough people at the border with our Border Patrol people. We don't have enough machinery that we can detect fentanyl and illegal drugs coming in. It's all there. And so what happened? We worked this with a very conservative Republican from Oklahoma, a Senator, came along and he ran on one side and Democrats on the other side, and they worked for four months, and they came up with a proposal. It didn't have everything I wanted. I told them I was going to go back and get Dreamers etc., but the thing it did do, it provided for a significant more personnel to make an orderly transfer and allow legal immigration to increase, not decrease and diminish illegal immigration. And when… this is literally the truth, what happened was when Trump found out that I liked it and I supported it, and I'd get, quote, credit for it, he got on the phone, not a joke, checked with the Republicans and called them and said, don't be for it, will benefit Biden. When the hell would you vote on a major piece of legislation based on whether you benefit somebody that's in politics? It's either good or it's bad. It was a good piece of legislation, and I'm not giving up on it. PUBLICIDAD EA: Have you made a final decision on taking executive order in terms of what you want to do at the border, that includes the power to shut down the border, as it was suggested? JB: Well I suggested that. We're examining whether or not I have that power. I would have that power under the legislation. When the border has over five, 5000 people a day trying to cross the border because you can't manage it, slow it up. There's no, there's no guarantee that I have that power all by myself without legislation. And some have suggested I should just go ahead and try it. And if I get shut down by the court, I get shut down by the court. But we're trying to work that, work through that right now. EA: President López Obrador has come up with a plan to fight the root causes of migration in the Western Hemisphere. It calls for the U.S. to invest $20 billion, as well as ease sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba, among other things. Your opponent said he wouldn't give Mexico ten cents. How would you work with President López Obrador to reduce migration and also with his successors? JB: Before Obrador even came up with that plan I initiated that plan years ago. Look, it's not like people are sitting around a table, a hand-hewn table somewhere in Guatemala and saying, I've got a great idea. Let's sell everything we have, give it to a criminal gang. They're going to take us across the border. They're going to drop us on the other side with language you don't speak, where they don't want me. Won't that be fun? People don't… they leave because they have no alternatives. And so what we're doing is… we did and it was working for a while until they cut it off, is provide for the ability to have jobs created in the countries where people are leaving. People don't want to leave where they're from. People want to be able to make sure that they have an opportunity to just make a living, and they'd rather make a living where they are. PUBLICIDAD EA: Absolutely. JB: And so I think, I think his idea is consistent with what I've been pushing. And I think we should be doing something like that. EA: You have a good relationship with President López Obrador? JB: I do, I do. I find him straightforward. He's never kidded me. He knows what he wants. He keeps his word. That's about as much as I can ask. EA: Now that we're talking about world leaders. In the past few days, we've seen increasing protests in Israel calling for the removal of Prime Minister Netanyahu and international condemnation after the death of World Central Kitchen aid workers during an Israeli airstrike. Do you think at this point, Prime Minister Netanyahu is more concerned about his political survival than he is in the national interest of his people? JB: Well, I will tell you, I think what he's doing is a mistake. I don't agree with his approach. I think it's outrageous that those four, three vehicles were hit by drones and taken out on a highway where it wasn't like it was along the shore, it wasn't like there was a convoy moving there, etc... So I what I'm calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks total access to all food and medicine going into the country. I've spoken with everyone from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They're prepared to move in. They're prepared to move this food in. And I think there's no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. It should be done now. PUBLICIDAD EA: Are you any closer to a deal with Republicans about a new a fresh round of military aid to Kiev and to Ukraine? JB: With the vast majority of public is agreed with me. As you know, if we had a vote tomorrow, if the new speaker of the House of Representatives had the guts to call for a vote and on Ukraine, it would pass overwhelmingly and the majority of Republicans in both House and Senate would vote for it. So this is a very dangerous thing that's going on now. We're in a circumstance where we have a… we've done something that I was very proud of. I've engaged with NATO for my whole career. We were able to expand NATO, and we have two thousand of miles of border because you have two Nordic nations having joined NATO. You have a whole range of NATO countries along the Russian border. And the Russians have lost and or have wounded over 300,000 personnel trying to take somebody else's property and land. And it's just cruel and unusual punishment. And so if we don't step up and provide the help we need, I was able to find another $310 million dollars available that hadn't been used yet. But I've run out of runway to provide for more aid without the aid of the Congress. And so I'm hoping that the speaker of the House begins to use, has the courage to do what he, I'm confident, he knows what has to be done. But I think he's worried about losing the speakership because of a strange Republican House… Look, this is not your father's Republican Party, as that old saying goes, this is a different breed of cat. This is… Trump runs that party. He maintains a sort of a death grip on it. Everybody's afraid to take him on whether they agree with him or not, and it's incredibly dangerous. The last thing we need is to see NATO start to break apart. It would be a disaster for the United States, a disaster for Europe, a disaster for the world. PUBLICIDAD EA: Mr. president, I think we're about to go over time. But I have one more question about something we talked about in Phoenix, which is health care costs for Latinos. You mentioned how it's become a burden for millions of Americans, given the disproportionate impact health care expenses have on Latinos and their higher propensity for diseases like diabetes. What specifically is your administration doing to try to help ease that burden? JB: That's a place where we've made great progress. For years, I've been trying to take on big pharma that makes billions of dollars a year overcharging for prescriptions, for example. We're in a situation where if you go an Air Force One with me and told them to pick any country in Europe that you want me to fly to, I'd take you and you take your prescription from the United States from a drugstore. You can walk down the street here. I can get you that same exact prescription filled for 40 to 60% less. And so what we finally were able to do, and I've been fighting for this for a long time, is say, here's the deal. Medicare pays for all those drugs that seniors need for whatever the reason. But, for example, there's a higher propensity among Hispanics for diabetes and other things. Well, guess what? Instead of paying $400 a month for insulin, we're paying, you only have to pay $35 a month now. Done, done. And what's done also will take effect in January of next year is that no matter what your total bills are for prescription drugs, you'll never have to pay more than a senior, more than $2,000 a year because some of these cancer drugs are ten, 15,000 bucks a year. PUBLICIDAD EA: And they bankrupt the family. JB: They Bankrupt the… But here's the deal. What no one. What my very right-wing friends don't understand is by doing with these things, we save the government billions of dollars. Just the passage of the first piece of this legislation over the next ten years. By changing the amount of money you have, they can charge for insulin. It's going to save the government $160 billion dollars. Hear me? Cut the deficit by $160 billion dollars, because that means instead of paying 400 bucks, the government is paying the drug company 35 bucks, but it's going to go beyond that. And I think not only will we now affect seniors, I'm determined to see to it in the second term that it affects every American. No American, no American should be paying the prices they're paying. Everyone should be paying what the price is that other countries do set the price of the drug by negotiating. If they don't want to, if they don't want to be able to provide their drug, they don't have to do it, they don’t have to do it. But if they want to provide the government to pay for them, then guess what? They got to have a reasonable price. EA: Thank you so much for your time, sir. You've been very generous with us, I appreciate it. JB: Well thank you. I didn't even talk about the American, the ACA, which was the old legislation. EA: I think you had an event. This week about it. JB: That's right. EA: It's. What is its’ 10th anniversary? JB: That's right. Well, yeah, it is. But guess what? The Republicans have tried to eliminate it 50 times. PUBLICIDAD EA: The Affordable Care Act, 50 times. JB: The Affordable Care Act. No, they really and Trump is totally opposed to it. Totally opposed to it. Guess what? You'd have millions of people not able to have insurance because they have a pre-existing condition. No insurance company. This covers them. And by the way, it generates economic growth, not just I mean, I anyway, I just can't fathom the things that Donald Trump says and believes about. But he'll stand in Mar-A-Lago and say to his friends, I know you're all wealthy. I know 20 of you guys are worth a hell of a lot of money. We're going to make sure we get you a tax cut, a tax cut and they're all cheering. Well guess what, man? It's about time they start paying their fair share. EA: Thank you again Mr. President. JB: Thank you. EA: Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you so much. We covered a lot of ground. I appreciate that. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Adopts Department of Labor Definition of “Science or Art”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is issuing policy guidance (PDF, 321.14 KB) in the USCIS Policy Manual to add the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) definition of “science or art” for Schedule A, Group II cases. For many employment-based 2nd and 3rd preference (EB-2 and EB-3) petitions, employers must obtain a labor certification from DOL before filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, with USCIS. For certain occupations, referred to as Schedule A occupations, DOL has predetermined that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available. For these occupations, employers submit the labor certification directly to USCIS, bypassing DOL review. Currently, DOL has designated two groups of occupations under Schedule A: registered nurses and physical therapists (Group I); and beneficiaries with exceptional ability in the sciences or arts (except performing arts) and beneficiaries with exceptional ability in performing arts (Group II). Since USCIS considers DOL regulations when adjudicating petitions based on Schedule A occupations, we are now adding reference to DOL’s regulatory definition of “science or art” into our policy to align with DOL, as it relates to Group II. When designating Schedule A, Group II, DOL defines science or art as “any field of knowledge or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge or skill.” We made an additional update to explain that, as with all adjudications, we review both the quantity and the quality of the evidence provided. This guidance, contained in Volume 6 of the Policy Manual, is effective immediately upon publication. This update does not change policy or operations. This is an update to incorporate the DOL definition in the USCIS Policy Manual. For more information, please see Volume 6, Part E, Chapter 7, of the USCIS Policy Manual.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Shift in Guatemala’s leadership spurs fresh focus from US on migration

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala’s election of a new president is sparking a renewed focus from the Biden administration, which is placing dual pressure on the Central American nation to limit migration and strengthen its borders. Guatemala’s demographics and geography make it a key player for the U.S. — both as a significant contributor to migration from within the country but also as the last stop before Mexico for those traveling through Central America in hopes of reaching the U.S. southwestern border. “The country is in a complicated position when it comes to migration because it’s a country of origin, it’s a country of transit, it’s a country of destination,” Stéphanie Daviot, chief of mission for the United Nations’s International Organization for Migration in Guatemala, told The Hill. Guatemala has seen a significant shift in its leadership with the election of Bernardo Arévalo, an academic who pulled off a long-shot victory in August but wasn’t sworn in until January. His transition to power was fought by allies of the outgoing president, sparking protests across the country. For the U.S., Arévalo represents new opportunities in its strategy to address the root causes of migration, investing heavily in economic efforts as well as programs designed to combat corruption and crime. Arévalo campaigned on battling corruption, a departure from his predecessor, who was barred from entry to the U.S. after exiting office on allegations he accepted bribes. The extent the U.S. sees new opportunities to work with Guatemala was underscored by the February announcement of trilateral discussions on immigration alongside Mexico. The joint effort eyes greater coordination on monitoring migratory flows and bolstering enforcement not just of the U.S.-Mexico border, but the Guatemala-Mexico border as well. Arévalo also met in March with Vice President Harris, who commended him for bringing “a sense of optimism to the people of America and around the world.” But new opportunities come amid the same tensions — a struggling Guatemalan economy and historic levels of migration throughout the hemisphere. “Of course the salaries you receive in the U.S. don’t compare with what you can earn in Guatemala,” Ursula Roldán Andrade, who runs a migration research center at Rafael Landívar University, said in an interview with The Hill in Spanish, noting more than half the country lives in poverty. “People don’t have options for social mobility in this country. What are the routes for social mobility? Migration and remittances.” Remittances to Guatemala, largely sent by those working in the U.S., represent roughly a fifth of its gross domestic product (GDP), no small contribution in a country where malnutrition remains a serious issue. Eric Hershberg, a professor emeritus at American University focused on Latin American studies, said economic imperative has long been an undercurrent of the Guatemalan approach on migration. “From Guatemala’s point of view, they’re desperate to have migration and as much of it as they can, and that’s a different perspective than the Biden administration,” he said. “At the end of the day, what people want and need is work. And they will work. And the question is, are they going to come here to work in some legal fashion?” While the U.S. conversation on migration is almost always billed as a national security issue, Guatemala sees migration as a human right, while their security concerns at the border are primarily transnational crime, including smuggling. But under Arévalo, there’s been a greater focus on boosting conditions internally, in particular by doing outreach with the country’s significant population of Indigenous people. “The Guatemalan government recognizes that there has been a lack of attention to the urgent needs of people,” its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement to The Hill. “Dialogue between countries is important to address the concerns on the management of the current flows of migration which have increased in the last years, but also, to address the needs of communities of origin of migration, in order to improve their livelihood.” Roldán Andrade said the high migration levels represent a loss for the country. “You think we don’t need the people that have left? These are our youth. These are the people that have a level of education, that have another vision for life,” she said. “So it doesn’t benefit us if everyone’s leaving.” Migrants mostly from Venezuela and Cuba rest in a tent camp as they wait for a Honduras Migration transit permit to continue their way north to Guatemala, and hopefully make it to the Mexico-United States border, in Danlí, Honduras on Oct. 11, 2023. (Elmer Martinez, Associated Press) Root causes balancing act The Biden-Harris strategy is meant to be a balancing act, a significant investment throughout Latin America paired with an expansion of legal pathways. The hope is that both will alleviate pressure to migrate irregularly. But the new methods for arriving to the U.S. have not been as ample as the funding. In Guatemala, the investment for addressing root causes has been significant — some $133.5 million was spent in fiscal 2022 for implementation of the strategy. And USAID has continued its roughly $200 million in annual investments in programs there. The funding has gone toward everything from malnutrition and farming to midwives and clean water access. It has also helped beef up inspector general units within the government to investigate allegations of corruption. “What is good for Guatemala is good for the region and the United States,” the State Department said in a statement to The Hill. “This assistance will support efforts to combat corruption; conserve biodiversity; scale agricultural technologies; and improve health outcomes, inclusive of all Guatemalans, especially Indigenous communities.” Corruption is no small issue in Guatemala, threatening access to government programs and employment — and even the transition of power to Arévalo. It’s also a barrier to recruiting the kind of foreign investment in the country that the U.S. wants to attract. “American business leaders need stability, predictability and rule of law to make their investments in countries like Guatemala worthwhile,” Harris said at a joint press conference welcoming Arévalo during his visit in March. The U.S. is working closely with different integrity units within Guatemalan government offices, something the State Department said would “determine how corruption occurs, identify perpetrators, and issue recommendations to improve existing units.” But Guatemala has been a contrast with a handful of other countries where the U.S. has expanded options to immigrate legally. A parole program for Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Haitians has opened the door for some 30,000 each month who are fleeing instability — should they be able to secure a U.S.-based sponsor. Such a lifeline does not exist elsewhere in the region, however, despite the launching of the Safe Mobility Initiative, marketed as Movilidad Segura throughout the region. Launched last year in partnership with the United Nations as well as Canada and Spain, the initiative includes Safe Mobility Offices (SMOs) in four countries where migrants can assess their legal immigration options. While the office in Guatemala was initially open to migrants of any nationality, it now serves only Guatemalans — a group less likely to qualify for refugee status in the U.S. based on persecution than those in other countries. The other possible route is through a family reunification program that allows those legally present in the U.S. to petition to bring a relative. In a little less than a year since the program launched in June, some 23,000 Guatemalans have applied for protections or family reunification through the Safe Mobility Offices. But so far, only 3,000 have been granted some sort of status and made it to the U.S., though more are in processing. And the program doesn’t offer specific pathways to go work in the U.S. — the main driver for most Guatemalans looking to migrate. Ariel Ruiz Soto, a senior policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute, noted that early data shared with partners showed that more than half of those applying through the Safe Mobility Initiative were seeking work permits. “It’s primarily people that are seeking to go to the U.S. to work. And so this makes it complicated because … the pathways that SMOs provide do not necessarily match the reasons why people are seeking to leave,” he said. “For those that are seeking to leave immediately or within a matter of weeks, the SMOs are unlikely to stop them from going on the path of being irregular.” The U.S. has faced calls to expand legal pathways, particularly on the employment front, as many may not qualify for family reunification either. “The key thing is to have someone legally in the U.S. that’s actually going to fill out the request. And this is a bit of an issue because of course not everyone has a relative in the U.S., and if they do not all those families are legally in the country,” said Daviot with the U.N. “So part of our advocacy is we’re asking the U.S., even though we know the difficulties, to expand the pathways to those that are more accessible or accessible to a bigger number of individuals.” “I do hope there is [going] to be a focus on labor mobility pathways because again, there is a need here. So that would be a win-win solution for everyone. And those things take time; they’re highly political,” Daviot added. The State Department does have efforts underway to pitch Guatemalan workers to U.S. companies willing to undertake the expense of hiring temporary workers, including their transportation to and from the country. And the department noted it set a new record last year, issuing 13,000 temporary worker visas to Guatemalans. But that’s a fraction of the nearly 130,000 Guatemalans encountered at the border over the last five months of this fiscal year, and it’s clear the Arévalo administration is hoping for more. “Guatemala is interested in increasing the temporary worker visa opportunities for Guatemalans who are interested in working in the U.S.,” its ministry said in a statement. “Those who benefit from these opportunities acquire skills, are not abruptly separated from their families, their income and living standards improve, and overall contribute to the economies of both countries and their development.” A pedestrian on the Matamoros International Bridge passes Jennifer, 2, from Guatemala seeking asylum in the United States with her mother June 29, 2018, in Matamoros, Mexico. (Eric Gay, Associated Press file) The returned The draw to come to the U.S. is strong, even with the risks of trip as well as a swift return. Many families have made serious sacrifices to fund the journey, selling off land or taking on steep debts. And success at crossing the border is far from guaranteed — a reality that pushes some smugglers to offer as many as three attempts to cross into the U.S. The U.S. returned some 55,000 Guatemalans last year. Sharon Huertas oversees a program called Camino a Casa, which works with youth up to age 24 who have been deported by the U.S. — an age range just beyond the minors eligible to receive services from the Guatemalan government. The program, carried out by Global Refuge, works with youth who have been deported in the last six months. But the goal is to reach them in the crucial 72 hours after they’ve been returned to the country, when many are mulling whether to make the journey again. “It depends so much on the experience. Many kids tell us, ‘I was so hungry during the journey, I don’t want to do it again because of that.’ They didn’t eat enough on the journey, and they completely reject the idea of going again,” Huertas told The Hill in an interview in Spanish. Others who have made the journey have complained about having to walk for 20 hours straight. “So it depends on the experience. But if they didn’t face anything dangerous, or that bothered them or hurt them, they don’t think it’s as dangerous and they’re willing to try again,” Huertas said. The program is in its early stages, working with 50 clients and their families. The goal is to evaluate each case systemically, looking at a variety of factors, including family dynamics that might be pushing youth to migrate. Some have wanted to migrate to help cover the expensive costs of medication for family members or are persuaded to stay when connected with training programs or other opportunities in the country. Still, some may also face pressure from family members who have sunk significant costs into the journey. “They’re more worried about paying the debt. Many people have sold land, their houses so that their family can attempt this journey,” Huertas said. “It depends on what they might lose if they don’t make it there that makes people try and go again.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Announces Information Regarding EB-5 Regional Center Audits

Under the new provisions of section 203(b)(5)(E)(vii) added by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) to the Immigration and Nationality Act, we must audit each designated regional center at least once every five years. This audit will include a review of any documentation required to be maintained by the regional center and a review of the flow of immigrant investor capital into any capital investment project. Regional center audits enhance the integrity of the EB-5 program by helping us verify information in regional center applications and annual certifications as well as associated investor petitions. At any point during a site visit in connection with an audit, if the regional center representative expresses an unwillingness to participate in the site visit, we will cancel the visit. We will complete the audit report using the data available and indicate that we canceled the site visit at the request of the regional center. If a regional center chooses not to consent to an audit or deliberately attempts to impede the audit, we will terminate the regional center’s designation. See INA 203(b)(5)(E)(vii)(III). We may consider noncompliance with a site visit to mean nonconsenting to an audit. Except when a regional center does not consent to an audit or deliberately attempts to impede an audit, there are generally no direct adverse consequences to an EB-5 associated entity or petitioner solely because of the negative audit result. However, we may use our findings to evaluate a regional center’s continuing eligibility to remain designated as well as compliance of associated applications, petitions, or other filings with applicable requirements. Starting April 23, we will generally use Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book, when we audit EB-5 regional centers. The Yellow Book provides standards and guidance for auditors and audit organizations. An audit using the Yellow Book standards will help us verify the information that designated regional centers provide in associated applications and petitions as well as annual statements. It also will help us assess a regional center’s compliance with applicable laws for purposes of remaining eligible for its designation. Generally using GAGAS standards does not remove the officer’s discretion in considering the results of the audit in connection with making adjudicatory decisions, nor does it create any substantive or procedural right or benefit that is legally enforceable by any party against the United States or its agencies or officers or any other person. We have created a new EB-5 Regional Center Audits webpage with information for regional centers on the auditing process, including the role of the audit team, how to prepare for an audit, participating in an audit, and more.

Notice of FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Selection Process Completion and Cap Season Reminders

H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received enough electronic registrations for unique beneficiaries during the initial registration period to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap), including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap). We have randomly selected enough properly submitted registrations for unique beneficiaries projected as needed to reach the H-1B cap and have notified all prospective petitioners with selected beneficiaries that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for such beneficiaries. Registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses for each registration (that is, for each beneficiary registered): Submitted: The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted. Selected: Selected to file an H-1B cap petition. Not Selected: Not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration. Denied – duplicate registration: Multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid. Invalidated – failed payment: A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid. Deleted: The submitted registration has been deleted and is no longer eligible for selection. Processing submission: USCIS is processing your submission. It may take up to 72 hours for all of your case information to show on the case details page. While it is processing, you will be unable to access your draft. For more information, visit the H-1B Electronic Registration Process page. FY 2025 H-1B Cap Petitions May Be Filed Starting April 1 H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2025, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may be filed with USCIS beginning April 1, 2024, if filed for a selected beneficiary and based on a valid registration. Only petitioners with registrations for selected beneficiaries may file H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2025. An H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed at the correct filing location (see H-1B Form I-129 Filing Location Change to Lockbox section below) or online at my.uscis.gov and within the filing period indicated on the relevant selection notice. The period for filing the H-1B cap-subject petition will be at least 90 days. Petitioners must include a copy of the applicable selection notice with the FY 2025 H-1B cap-subject petition. Petitioners must also submit evidence of the beneficiary’s valid passport or travel document used at the time of registration to identify the beneficiary. Petitioners filing for selected beneficiaries based on their valid registration must still submit evidence or otherwise establish eligibility for petition approval, as registration and selection only pertains to eligibility to file the H-1B cap-subject petition. For more information, visit the H-1B Cap Season page. New Fees and Form Edition On Jan. 31, 2024, USCIS published a final rule that adjusts the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees are effective April 1, 2024. Petitions postmarked on or after April 1, 2024, must include the new fees or we will not accept them. Additionally, there will be a new 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. There will be no grace period for filing the new version of Form I-129 because it must include the new fee calculation. What to Know About Sending Us Your Form I-129. We will accept the 05/31/23 edition of this form if it is postmarked before April 1, 2024; We will not accept the 05/31/23 edition of this form if it is postmarked on or after April 1, 2024; and We will only accept the 04/01/24 edition of this form if it is postmarked on or after April 1, 2024. We will use the postmark date of a filing to determine which form version and fees are correct but will use the received date for purposes of any regulatory or statutory filing deadlines. As a reminder, we recently announced a final premium processing fee rule that increased the filing fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, to adjust for inflation, effective Feb. 26, 2024. If we receive a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Feb. 26, 2024, with the incorrect filing fee, we will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL), the postmark date is the date on the courier receipt. Online Filing and Organizational Accounts On Feb. 28, 2024, we launched new online organizational accounts that allow multiple people within an organization and their legal representatives to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations, H-1B petitions, and any associated Form I-907. Information on organizational accounts is available on the Organizational Accounts Frequently Asked Questions page. We also launched online filing of Form I-129 and associated Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions on March 25. On April 1, we will begin accepting online filing for H-1B cap petitions and associated Forms I-907 for petitioners whose registrations have been selected. Petitioners will continue to have the option of filing a paper Form I-129 H-1B petition and any associated Form I-907 if they prefer. However, during the initial launch of organizational accounts, users will not be able to link paper-filed Forms I-129 and I-907 to their online accounts. H-1B Form I-129 Filing Location Change to Lockbox Starting April 1, 2024, H-1B and H-1B1 (HSC) Form I-129 petitions are no longer filed directly with the USCIS service centers. All paper-based H-1B and H-1B1 (HSC) Form I-129 petitions are now filed at USCIS lockbox locations. This includes cap, non-cap, and cap-exempt H-1B filings. We will reject H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions received at a USCIS service center on or after April 1, 2024. There will be no grace period provided. USCIS has specific mailing addresses for cases that are subject to the H-1B cap. To determine the correct mailing address, please see our Form I-129 Direct Filing Addresses page. If a petition is filed at the wrong location, we may reject the petition. Rejected petitions will not retain a filing date. If we reject a petition because it was filed at the wrong location, it may be refiled at the correct location, or online. H-1B cap subject petitions may be refiled at the correct location, or online, as long as the petition is refiled during the designated 90-day filing window listed on the selection notice. No More Pre-paid Mailers As of March 25, 2024, we are no longer using prepaid mailers to send out any communication or final notices for any H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions. With H-1B intake now occurring at the lockbox or online, we will not be able to use any prepaid mailers for H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) filings. The process of printing and mailing H-1B petition approval notices by first-class mail is fully automated. For petitions filed online, myUSCIS account holders will also receive an email or text message notification in their myUSCIS account when there is a case status change on a case in their account, followed by a paper notice by mail. Receipt Notice Delays When we receive a timely and properly filed H-1B cap subject petition, the petitioner (and, if applicable, the petitioner’s legal representative) will be provided a Form I-797, Notice of Action, communicating receipt of the petition. Due to increased filing volumes typically seen during H-1B cap filing periods, there are instances where a paper petition is timely and properly filed by mail, but issuance of the Form I-797 is delayed. If you are a petitioner and have confirmation from the delivery service that the petition was delivered, but you have not yet received a Form I-797 confirming receipt of the petition, you should not submit a second petition. If you have confirmation from the delivery service that the petition was delivered and you then submit a second H-1B cap petition for the same beneficiary, you will be considered to have submitted multiple H-1B cap petitions. This will result in denial or revocation of both petitions. If more than 30 days have passed since the confirmation of delivery and you have still not received a Form I-797, you may contact the USCIS Contact Center for assistance. If you receive notification from the delivery service, or your tracking information suggests that there may be a delay or damage to the package or that the package was misrouted, you should follow the Delivery Service Error Guidance on the H-1B Cap Season webpage.

Louisiana proposes bill similar to Texas’ migrant arrest law

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s Republican-controlled Senate advanced a bill Monday that would empower state and local law enforcement to arrest and jail people in the state who entered the U.S. illegally, similar to embattled legislation in Texas. Amid national fights between Republican states and Democratic President Joe Biden over how and who should enforce the U.S.-Mexico border, Louisiana joins a growing list of legislatures seeking to expand states’ authority over border enforcement. Proponents of the bill, such as the legislation’s author GOP state Sen. Valarie Hodges, say Louisiana has the “right to defend our nation.” Hodges has accused the federal government of neglecting responsibilities to enforce immigration law, an argument heard from GOP leaders across the country. Opponents argue the bill is unconstitutional, will not do anything to make the state safer, and will only fuel negative and false rhetoric directed toward migrants. RELATED STORIES Demonstrators gather outside federal court buildings in New Orleans on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, to protest a Texas law known as SB4. Texas officials appeared before a three-judge federal appeals panel to defend a state law that would allow police to arrest migrants for illegally entering the United States, a week after the same three judges put the law on hold. (AP Photo by Kevin McGill) Texas asks court to decide if the state’s migrant arrest law went too far FILE - The Tennessee Capitol is seen, Jan. 22, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. The Republican-led Tennessee House advanced a proposal Thursday, March 14, that would require law enforcement agencies in the state to communicate with federal immigration authorities if they discover people are in the the country illegally, and would broadly mandate cooperation in the process of identifying, catching, detaining and deporting them. (AP Photo/George Walker IV, File) Tennessee House advances bill requiring local officers to aid US immigration authorities Audience members listen to community organizer Maria Acosta speak during an Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice informational meeting, Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Des Moines, Iowa. A bill in Iowa that would allow the state to arrest and deport some migrants is stoking anxiety among immigrant communities about how it would be interpreted and enforced. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Migrants in Iowa wonder whether to leave over a bill that could see some arrested and deported ADVERTISEMENT Across the nation, reliably red legislatures have advanced tougher immigration enforcement measures. The Oklahoma House passed a bill that would prohibit state revenue from being used to provide benefits to those living in the state illegally. A bill in Tennessee, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, would require law enforcement agencies in the state to communicate with federal immigration authorities if they discover people who are in the country illegally. Measures that mirror parts of the Texas law are awaiting the governor’s signature in Iowa, while another is pending in Idaho’s statehouse. Although Louisiana does not border Mexico, bills and policies targeting migrants suspected of entering the country illegally have been pushed to the forefront over the past four months under new conservative leadership. One bill looks to ban sanctuary city policies that allow local law enforcement to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials unless ordered by a court. Another would set up funding to send Louisiana National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. New Republican Gov. Jeff Landry has also begun directing state agencies to collect and publish data on migrants in the state. ADVERTISEMENT “I think all of us in here know that we have a crisis at the border and our federal government is not doing anything to help the states,” Sen. Hodges said during floor debate Monday. Louisiana’s bill would create the crime of “illegal entry or reentry” into Louisiana. Illegal reentry includes people who were previously “denied admission, excluded, deported, or otherwise removed from the U.S.” The bill passed the Senate along party lines after 10 minutes of debate and now heads to the House. Like the Texas law, which has been put on hold by a federal appeals court panel that is considering whether to continue blocking enforcement pending further appeals, Louisiana’s bill would expand the authority of state and local law enforcement. In addition, Hodges said it would “start the deportation process.” Currently, enforcement of immigration law regarding illegal entry and deportations has long been the exclusive domain of federal law enforcement. ADVERTISEMENT Under Louisiana’s bill, anyone who violates the proposed law would face up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine for a first offense, and up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a second offense. Necessary witnesses or victims of certain crimes — such as murder, rape, human trafficking, kidnapping, involuntary servitude and blackmail — would be the exception. In addition, the bill would authorize Gov. Landry to make an interstate compact with Texas and other states willing to participate in Texas’ state-led border security efforts. Proponents say the provision will help prevent illegal border crossings by sharing information and “state resources to build surveillance systems and physical barriers to deter illegal activity along the border.” Opponents of Louisiana’s bill say it is an overreach of state authority, would increase racial profiling and could clog court systems. ADVERTISEMENT “It’s going to create a backlog in our courts, it’s going to drain state resources, and it’s not going to actually reduce crime or make Louisiana any safer,” Huey Fischer García, a staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said during a hearing on the bill last month. If Louisiana’s bill is approved by the House and signed by the governor, who Hodges says supports the measure, it would take effect only if the Supreme Court upholds the Texas law or if the U.S. Constitution is amended to increase local border enforcement authority. ___ This story has been updated to correct that Louisiana’s migrant arrest bill was advanced by the state Senate on Monday, April 8, not Tuesday. ___ Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut in Des Moines, Iowa, Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City, Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tennessee, and Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Abbott: Biden is ‘using illegal immigrants as political pawns’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) pushed back on President Biden’s argument that the governor is using asylum-seekers as “political pawns,” instead claiming it is Biden himself who is doing this. “So the person who’s actually using illegal immigrants as political pawns is Joe Biden,” Abbott said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “Joe Biden has created this open border policy that has allowed illegal immigrants into our country to appeal to and to appease the far leftists in the Democrat Party, the people like [Rep. Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez [D-N.Y.], in hopes of trying to win their support while at the same time destroying the country that he’s in charge of.” Biden has repeatedly criticized Abbott and other Republican governors’ attempts to take their own actions at the border, arguing they have used migrants for their own political gains. “Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” Biden said in 2022. Abbott reiterated his argument that Biden is pursuing “political games” and putting the country “at risk” because of his border policies. He likened the president to New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who has also been a staunch critic of the governor’s policies. Abbott began sending buses of migrants to New York City and other so-called sanctuary cities for nearly two years, and Adams has repeatedly demanded more federal resources to deal with the influx. “And Mayor Adams is just aiding and abetting that by having a sanctuary city status, welcoming in anybody from across the world to live there or stay there in New York City, on the bill of New York City,” Abbott said. “And what Mayor Adams needs to do, he needs to stop talking boldly about illegal immigration and the migrants that Texas is sending there, and he needs to step up and do his own job because look at the dangers in New York City under his watch.” The Hill reached out to Abbott’s and Biden’s offices for comment. Tensions between Abbott and the Biden administration were enflamed earlier this year when the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety installed fences and razor wire in a riverside park in Eagle Pass, Texas, and blocked park access to Border Patrol officials. The Biden administration challenged this in what became a showdown at the Supreme Court. Abbott and the Biden administration have also been in a months-long legal saga over a bill that would authorize local law enforcement in Texas to arrest those suspected of entering the country illegally. Late last month, a federal appeals court extended the block on the law, which went into effect for a brief time last month following a Supreme Court ruling. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Mayorkas, Ukraine, Israel and FISA top the list as Congress returns

We’re back! The Senate returns today after a two-week recess, while the House is back Tuesday. President Joe Biden heads to Madison, Wis., and Chicago today, and then hosts Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for a state dinner on Wednesday. On Thursday, Kishida will address a joint meeting of Congress. Kishida and Biden will also meet with Philippines President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Lawmakers return to the Capitol with a lot on their plates. Ukraine, FISA, Israel, data privacy and other sensitive topics are dominating the headlines. These issues cut across party lines, although the partisanship — and intra-party in-fighting — on each is intense. We’re going to start with the Senate impeachment trial for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Trial or no trial? House Republicans will formally present their articles of impeachment against Mayorkas to the Senate on Wednesday. The DHS secretary was impeached nearly two months ago. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as president pro tem, will swear in senators on Thursday. And then the fireworks begin. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to offer a motion seeking the immediate dismissal of the case against Mayorkas. That only requires a simple majority to pass. If Democrats stick together, they can bypass a trial entirely, bringing a quick end to what has been a sputtering effort against Mayokas from the start. On the off-chance that one or two Democrats defect, Republicans are trying to stay united to force a full trial. The Senate GOP messaging on this is straightforward — Mayorkas must be held accountable for his handling of the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, so a trial is necessary. Notably, the messaging memo doesn’t weigh in on the actual question of whether Mayorkas should be convicted and removed from office. For his part, Mayorkas says he’s paying very little attention to the Hill proceedings. “I am focused on the work,” Mayorkas told reporters on Friday. “When I say I’m doing my work, I’m going to be testifying before two committees on Wednesday. That is perfectly reflective of my approach.” Mayorkas will be appearing before the House and Senate Appropriations panels this week to discuss the department’s FY2025 budget request. Mayorkas has dismissed the GOP allegations as “baseless,” as have other top Democrats and the White House. Here’s a memo from DHS rebutting the attacks on Mayorkas. It’s possible that Democrats could win the dismissal vote even if they don’t have all 51 in favor. A handful of Republican votes could be in play, like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has spoken favorably of a dismissal. FISA: Across the Capitol, Speaker Mike Johnson and House GOP leaders will attempt once again to pass a FISA reauthorization bill. The third time’s a charm! Maybe! On Tuesday, the Rules Committee is marking up a modified version of Rep. Laurel Lee’s (R-Fla.) bill from February. This version doesn’t include Rep. Warren Davidson’s (R-Ohio) provision barring federal agencies from buying info on Americans from private data companies. The House Intelligence Committee strongly objected to this language back in February, forcing the bill to be pulled. A small number of amendments will be made in order at the Rules Committee. These include a proposal from the Judiciary Committee that requires national security agencies to obtain a warrant when they seek to query information on any U.S. person caught up in surveillance. We’re told that Judiciary and Intelligence members will all vote for the rule. Whether these members vote for the underlying legislation once the amendments are considered on the floor is a different matter. This is chiefly aimed at the House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member, and their colleagues. The Judiciary panel has overwhelmingly supported the inclusion of the warrant requirement in any FISA reauthorization bill. But the reality is that if this modified version of FISA isn’t passed this week, Johnson may be forced to put a clean reauthorization bill on the floor next week under suspension before FISA Section 702 lapses on April 19 — and it could pass. So FISA opponents have to pick their poison here. Jordan and Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) are scheduled to hold forums with the Republican Main Street Caucus and the Republican Governance Group this week to discuss FISA legislation, per a source. Israel: To mark the six-month anniversary of the Gaza war, the House may take up a resolution bashing Biden over Israel. The GOP resolution — which doesn’t have a sponsor yet — says the House “opposes efforts to place one-sided pressure on Israel with respect to Gaza, including calls for an immediate cease-fire….” This isn’t likely to impact Biden too much politically after the death of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers last week in an Israeli airstrike sparked international outrage. Ukraine: On perhaps the toughest issue Johnson faces, he’ll meet with members all week. We expect to see his Ukraine aid proposal sometime in the next few days. As we’ve spelled out, it could include the REPO Act, language overturning Biden’s ban on new LNG export applications and more. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

National Hispanic leaders slam 'false narrative' about Latinos as they mourn bridge collapse victims

Forty-nine Latino leaders signed an open letter released Friday honoring the memory of the Latino immigrant workers who died in the Baltimore bridge collapse last week, while also condemning the spread of "a false narrative" undermining the contributions of the nation's Hispanic people. The letter coincides with President Joe Biden's visit to the site of the deadly Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, where he met with some of the victims’ families. "We lift this painful moment as a reminder that the Latino community is often behind the building and maintenance of our nation’s infrastructure and should be celebrated for their contributions and sacrifice," Hispanic leaders heading civic, cultural, legal, labor, corporate, medical, educational and political organizations nationwide stated in their letter. "While some extremists may want to use the Latino community as a political wedge that depicts all Latinos as a burden and criminal element, the tragedy reminds us all of the reality of our community’s role and daily sacrifice to keep our nation strong," they added. The letter marks a contrast to recent anti-immigrant rhetoric following the slaying of a nursing student in Georgia, where the suspect was revealed to be an undocumented immigrant, and a teen migrant who was accused of shooting a tourist in Times Square. Some Republican and conservative voices have pointed to these incidents to push for hard-line immigration policies, while some Democrats have labeled such attempts as “cheap” political tactics. This week former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, referred to migrants as “animals” and “not human” as he referred to the crimes. According to the National Institute of Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice, “recent research suggests that those who immigrate (legally or illegally) are not more likely, and may even be less likely to commit crime in the U.S.” At the site of the deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore, Biden said, "eight construction workers went into the water when the bridge fell. Six lost their lives. Most were immigrants, but all were Marylanders — hard-working, strong, and selfless." "The damage is devastating, and our hearts are still breaking," Biden added. Hispanic workers, the letter states, have repeatedly worked to build the nation's infrastructure. "There were countless Latino and Latina workers who worked to rebuild the damaged areas of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center after 9/11," the letter states. "After Hurricane Katrina it was widely reported how many Latino workers showed up to rebuild the city of New Orleans and surrounding area." About a third of the nation’s construction workers are Hispanic, meaning they are disproportionately exposed to the life-threatening dangers that come with working in an industry considered to be of “high hazard" by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor. The letter will also be published on Sunday in the Baltimore Sun. Some of the leaders who signed the letter include: Estuardo Rodriguez of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, Marco Davis of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), Antonio Tijerino of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Monica Ramirez of the Justice for Migrant Women and The Latinx House, a nonprofit affiliated with the Justice for Migrant Women. Others include leaders working at organizations ranging from business and media groups to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the American Latino Veterans Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

'Most were immigrants. All were Marylanders': Biden grieves in Baltimore over bridge collapse

President Joe Biden grieved with family members of the six immigrant workers killed in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse during a trip Friday to Baltimore, urging Congress to take swift action to approve funding to rebuild the bridge. Biden, who has clamped down on unauthorized border crossings, steered clear of mentioning the victims' status in the country, instead focusing on their contribution to their community. "Most were immigrants, all were Marylanders − hardworking, strong and selfless," Biden said, during the visit 10 days after the devastating bridge collapse. Biden told the reeling Baltimore community that "your nation has your back" and vowed to "move heaven and earth to rebuild this bridge as rapidly as humanly possible." He said his administration is committed to ensuring the parties responsible for the bridge collapse are "held accountable to the fullest extent the law will allow." "But I also want to be clear: We we will support Maryland and Baltimore every step of the way to help you rebuild and maintain all the business and commerce that's here now," Biden said, announcing federal grants available to workers who relocate to Baltimore to assist in recovery efforts. Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide On Marine One along with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Biden toured by air what remains of the bridge on the Patapsco River before receiving a briefing on recovery efforts from first responders and local and state officials at the Maryland Transportation Authority in Dundalk, Maryland. "As I stand here, I call on Congress to authorize this effort as soon as possible," Biden said of the massive bridge reconstruction project. After his remarks, Biden met with loved ones of the six deceased workers, who were immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. Two other workers were rescued. "After pulling a night shift working potholes, they were on a break when the ship struck," Biden said, recounting how one of the victims, Carlos Hernandez, 24, left a message for his girlfriend seconds before the bridge collapsed saying that he and his crew had just poured cement and were waiting for it to dry. "To all the families of loved ones who are grieving, I've come here to grieve with you. We all are. It's not the same, but I know a little bit about what it's like to lose a piece of our soul," Biden said, adding the time will come when the thought of their loved one "brings a smile to your face instead of a tear." "My vow is that we will not rest, as Carlos said, until the cement has dried of the entirety of a new bridge," Biden said. President Joe Biden participates in an operational briefing on the response and recovery efforts for the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge and the container ship Dali in Baltimore on April 5, 2024. House Freedom Caucus demands conditions for bridge funding The absence of the bridge has major economic ramifications for the region and for shipping out of the Port of Baltimore. The collapse occurred around 1:30 a.m. on March 26, when the Singapore-flagged container ship Dali slammed into one of the bridge's piers as it left the Port of Baltimore. The Biden administration last week authorized $60 million in federal emergency relief funds for Maryland's initial costs but significantly more funding will be needed to rebuild the bridge. Biden has vowed the federal government will cover the entire tab for reconstruction. Some House Republicans are seeking conditions for any federal bridge funding. The hardline House Freedom Caucus, which has balked at previous spending measures in Congress, demanded in a statement Friday that the Biden administration lift its pause on approvals for liquified natural gas export projects as part of any funding package to reconstruct the bridge. Freedom Caucus members also said all funding for the bridge's reconstruction must be "fully offset" for them to sign off on bridge funding. President Joe Biden speaks about the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse at the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Headquarters. The bridge collapsed on March 26 after a massive cargo ship rammed into it, causing the structure to crumble into the Patapsco River and kill six workers who were patching potholes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday announced an ambitious timeline to partially reopen the Fort McHenry Channel in Baltimore by the end of April and fully reopen it by the end of May. The Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in 1977 after a five-year construction. But officials say it could be rebuilt in less than five years, depending on funding, design plans and the state of the wreckage under the water. Brigadier General John Lloyd of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described a "mangled mess" below the water. He said one major task is removing a large section of the bridge − that weighs 5,000 tons and is 125 feet tall − sitting on the ship. He said workers are trying to cut that piece off the ship and remove it so they can move the ship. Bridge collapse brings awareness to immigrant labor Moore announced the Maryland Tough Baltimore Strong Alliance, composed of more than 50 businesses and other partners, agreed not to lay off employees affected by the bridge collapse. "Now I know our state's largest city is being tested right now," Moore said. "But Baltimore has been tested before. We get knocked down, we stand back up and we dust ourselves off, and we move forward. That is what we do. And the people of Maryland are grateful to have a full partner in this work like President Biden." A fleet of helicopters, including Marine One carrying U.S. President Joe Biden, circles the site of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. The deaths of the six workers rattled Baltimore’s Latino immigrant community, which has grown swiftly in recent years, with offices established in the city, county and state providing immigrant services. But gaps in resources for the community have been cast into sharper focus with the collapse. “It’s tragic that it has to take this to bring attention to this population,” said Mónica Guerrero Vázquez, executive director of Centro SOL, a Johns Hopkins University-affiliated organization that helps local Latino communities with health access. “However, it's very important to use this as an opportunity to build momentum on the importance of immigrant labor in the state and in cities like Baltimore, to promote equity and social justice in our communities.” Susana Barrios, a volunteer for Comité Latino de Baltimore, said the impact of the collapse is still being absorbed in immigrant communities. She compared it with the COVID-19 pandemic, in the sense that it exposed a deficit of support for some residents. Comité started distributing food Salem United Methodist Church in Highlandtown, a popular neighborhood for immigrants, because people there didn’t qualify for unemployment insurance or food stamps because of their immigration status. The same may come to pass with the bridge collapse, it's an economic blow and a heavy weight on the mental health of people coping with the tragedy. Even smaller issues such as longer commutes will effect people's daily lives, Barrios added. “It’s going to affect us way more than we even think because it has such a huge ripple effect,” she said. CASA, the community's nonprofit day worker center, said its executive director, Gustavo Torres, met with Biden. In a statement, Torres stressed the importance of providing immediate immigration relief to impacted families, including temporary protected status, a designation for countries including El Salvador and Honduras, and advanced parole, a form of protection for those with work permits. “The Key Bridge collapse sent shivers down the spine of every immigrant who heads out to a dangerous workplace every day: they know what it is like because immigrant workers often swallow the perils of their job in order to put food on their family’s table,” Torres said. “We have done so for decades without thanks and without recognition.” Some community members hoped the president would delve into the reality the bridge collapse revealed: that immigrants often do the toughest and most essential jobs in the U.S., and risk their lives doing so. The Rev. Mark Parker, pastor of Breath of God Lutheran Church, said he would have liked it if the president – in addition to rallying Americans with pride about rebuilding the bridge – had spoken about the way people treat and care for each other, and how immigrants build their own American dreams alongside people who have been in this country longer. "It would it would be great if the President would not shy away from the immigrant identity, and in some of these cases, the undocumented nature of some of the men that died," he said before the speech. “I think that would be a lost opportunity,” Parker said, adding, “I understand that might make it politically risky.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

How immigrants are helping boost the U.S. job market without affecting inflation

Blockbuster job growth continues to power the U.S. economy, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 303,000 payrolls added in March. Usually, such strong growth might signal that inflation could pick up. If employers see more demand for goods and services, they need to hire more workers — and if there aren’t enough workers, they have to increase pay, which increases the overall cost of running the business. But while annual price growth, at more than 3%, remains above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, it is still well below the 9% peak seen in the summer of 2022. Economists increasingly believe that the post-pandemic surge in immigration is a key reason the economy has been able to grow steadily without pushing inflation higher, as the new arrivals have helped employers fill roles at levels of pay that have kept a lid on overall price growth. In a note to clients published Friday, titled “Why we have both strong growth and lower inflation,” Goldman Sachs chief U.S. economist David Mericle said rising immigration had boosted labor force growth. As a result, the strong demand that consumers continue to exhibit elsewhere is unlikely to raise prices by much, “if at all,” he said. In fact, so far, measures of labor market “tightness,” like wages, “have continued to fall or move sideways, not rise,” Mericle said. “Won’t stronger growth prevent inflation from falling or even reignite it?” he wrote. “We don’t think so.” The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan federal agency, was the first to cite the immigration surge that began in 2022 as the primary factor helping to expand the overall size of the U.S. labor force. This year, the agency increased its projection of how large the U.S. labor force could be in 2033 by 5.2 million people. Most of that increase is expected to be a result of higher projected net immigration. U.S. economy added 303,000 jobs in March 04:53 The Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan think tank, came to a similar conclusion earlier this month, saying the economy can now tolerate a more brisk pace of job growth without adding to cost concerns.“Faster population and labor force growth has meant that employment could grow more quickly than previously believed without adding to inflationary pressures,” Brookings said. Wendy Edelberg, a former Federal Reserve economist now serving as director of Brookings’ Hamilton Project, told NBC News the net effect of immigration on inflation is not entirely obvious — but is likely marginal. Indeed, Fed Chair Jay Powell has expressed similar observations, saying the effect of the new wave of arrivals is “broadly neutral.” What is clear, Edelberg said, is that the immigration surge will allow the economy to tolerate higher levels of job growth without overheating. “Without immigration, if I’d seen an increase of 300,000, I would have been utterly baffled that wages were not higher,” she said, citing the March jobs report released on Friday. Recommended BUSINESS NEWS Do you buy packaged meat or bagged fruit from Walmart? You may be entitled to a settlement payment ECONOMY 'They can't get it wrong again': Economists are increasingly uncertain about Fed rate cuts this year Wage data shows the annual pace of average hourly pay growth has declined to 4.1% in March after hitting a post-pandemic peak of 5.9% in March 2022. If the supply and demand for labor were truly out of sync, the pace of wage growth would be much higher, likely translating into higher overall inflation. Instead, thanks to the immigration surge, businesses in the aggregate can tap into the newly growing labor pool to meet continued demand for their goods and services, without having to raise wages significantly to compete for workers. For many parts of the economy, from federal Social Security payments all the way down to local businesses that may be looking for workers or new customers, immigration is usually a net good, Edelberg said. At the same time, it tends to put a strain on state and local budgets, she said. Immigration now ranks as the most volatile domestic issue facing President Joe Biden, with Gallup survey respondents ranking it as the country’s “most important problem,” the first time it has held that position since 2019. Republicans have called on Biden to take extreme measures to stem the entry of migrants, while former President Donald Trump has referred to them as “not humans” and “animals.” Big cities like New York and Chicago, meanwhile, have faced crises stemming in part from political stunts by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that have involved sending migrants to those cities at a pace they’re not equipped to handle. But while the focus of the debate has been on undocumented immigration, the majority of immigrants arriving are actually authorized to work in the U.S., Edelberg said. Plus, they’re more likely to spend a greater share of their labor income. “So they’re increasing the demand for goods and services, and helping to supply labor,” she said. “So the net effect on inflation is actually small.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Cost of work visas surges, upping the ante for multitude of California’s small businesses

WASHINGTON — When his entertainment industry clients want to hire foreign actors for a film shoot, Los Angeles immigration attorney Ally Bolour has to time the visa filings carefully, to secure their entry close to the production start date while meeting the tight schedules of performers. Often, there’s little wiggle room. Now, Bolour’s clients not only must pay more for visa filings but also face a potentially longer wait. Bolour usually applies under expedited “premium processing.” That fee went up 12% to $2,805 while the new turnaround time was lengthened from two to three weeks. This is one example of what California businesses face in the wake of the U.S. government’s sweeping visa fee increases, some of them astronomical, and other related changes that took effect April 1. ADVERTISING President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Washington. Biden is returning to Washington after spending the weekend in Delaware. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) POLITICS Employers of foreign workers would pay more under Biden proposal Jan. 3, 2023 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says the fee hikes are necessary to keep operating and prevent its current backlog of cases from piling even higher. But lawyers, immigrant advocates and small businesses say it’s an unfair burden. Some have sued to stop the fee increases from taking place. “It’s a big, extra out-of-pocket expense, and you get no extra benefit,” said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a Washington think tank that favors higher levels of immigration. The changes come as demand for certain foreign labor, especially high-skilled workers, has surged, in part as companies expand their efforts in artificial intelligence and other emerging fields. The country also continues to grapple with labor shortages in various industries. Insights and Updates on the Business of Entertainment & Sports PAID CONTENT Insights and Updates on the Business of Entertainment & Sports By LA Times Hon. Katherine “Kate” Chilton (Ret.), Arbitrator, Mediator, Special Master/Referee and Neutral Evaluator, JAMS Although some argue that popular visa programs such as H-1B allow employers to substitute cheaper foreign engineers and computer scientists for American workers, others say being able to recruit talent from around the world is indispensable for their growth. “It’s not necessarily about the talent available in the U.S.,” said Brian Riley, vice president of global talent acquisition at Riot Games, a leading video game company based in Los Angeles, with offices and customers in different parts of the world. Recruiting globally, he said, enables the company to hire the best people for specific roles, and to bring in talent that understands the global audience. “It has huge impact on our ability to continue to make or to improve products that resonate with players across all regions, not just the U.S,” Riley said. ADVERTISING Riot Games, which employs about 4,400 people globally, including 2,900 in its Los Angeles office, was one of the top H-1B users in Los Angeles in fiscal 2023, with 83 approvals. Led by tech companies, California employers overall accounted for more than 19,300 H-1B approvals for initial employment in 2023, or 16.3% of the nation’s total. Texas was second, with 15%. California businesses also depend on foreign workers for temporary help at farms and to fill seasonal openings at resort hotels and tourist sites. Visa application fees for those workers more than doubled to $1,090. Fieldworkers picking strawberries on a California farm Workers pick strawberries on a California farm. (David Rodriguez/ Salinas Californian) As of April 1, the cost to file an H-1B application, which allows skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States for up to six years, rose 70% to $780. Tack on fees for registration and fraud prevention, attorney costs and extras such as premium processing, and the H-1B petition expense could easily come to several thousand dollars per prospective employee. For small employers, “I think it’s a real hardship for people,” said San Francisco attorney Lisa Spiegel, whose team of 15 immigration specialists at the law firm Duane Morris handles thousands of visa petitions every year. She said they had worked round the clock in recent weeks to beat the April 1 fee increase for clients. Among the sharpest increases, the filing fee for the L-1, which allows an employer to transfer one of its overseas-based workers to the U.S., tripled to $1,385. And employers now must pay a new, $600 fee for certain employment-based visas to offset the cost of processing asylum applications, which are free and have skyrocketed in recent years. Katherine Belcher, spokesperson for the federal immigration agency, said the new fees are the result of a comprehensive review that found shortfalls in recovering the full cost of operations, including humanitarian programs, mandatory pay raises and additional staffing requirements. The agency receives very little funding from Congress, and it last imposed a fee hike in 2016. Belcher said the agency’s analysis indicates that the fee hikes won’t significantly affect business development and employee expansion. The new fee rule also ensures waivers for low-income and vulnerable populations, and expands exemptions for certain humanitarian benefits. Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, a member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, says the immigration agency has made progress in streamlining operations, but it needs more staff and to go increasingly to electronic filing rather than doing things by paper. “Given that they’re fee-funded, they’re in a bind and have to do something,” she said. For big employers such as Google, Apple and Meta — the top three H-1B visa getters in California — the higher fees are little more than an annoyance and won’t hinder their efforts to recruit people from abroad, though they will still add millions of dollars in expenses. Despite rising overall unemployment and layoffs in tech, the competition for skilled workers remains fierce. And tech companies aren’t likely to let hundreds or even thousands of dollars of extra fees get in the way of their global search for the best workers. “We have also recognized that the fees have increased, but they haven’t increased in a way that we view them as prohibitive,” said Riley of Riot Games. “The value in the diverse perspectives that [global employees] bring to the organization — they put us in a position to see a return that’s much greater than what we might pay in processing fees.” The West Los Angeles campus of Riot Games. The West Los Angeles campus of Riot Games. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times) It’s another story for some small employers. There are dozens in Los Angeles alone that received just three or four H-1B visa approvals last year; they include tech companies, banks, law firms and engineering and healthcare enterprises. For them, it’s about both the cost and the timeliness of approvals. Yet it remains to be seen whether the $1.1 billion in additional annual revenue that the agency expects to generate will mean faster and better processing of visa petitions. “It’s the million-dollar question,” said Spiegel, the San Francisco attorney. The increases probably will cause companies to pull back on some immigration benefits they support, said Lynden Melmed, who was chief counsel for the immigration agency from 2007 to 2009 and now oversees government strategies for the law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden. That includes paying employees’ spouses’ application fees, certain travel benefits or premium processing for speedier responses. For those who say companies undercut American workers by hiring immigrants, Melmed said the fee increases prove otherwise: “Once you get into those size numbers they’re more expensive than a non-foreign worker — it’s because they have particular skills.” Absent congressional support, he said, the agency will eventually have to confront whether to meet humanitarian needs or drive fees even higher. “It’s almost like you’ve bled out the source of your fees,” he said. “Businesses have been very supportive, but at a certain point that might cause a conflict between businesses and humanitarian programs.” A blue, orange, purple, black geometric illustration POLITICS More than a million could die waiting for green cards as U.S. immigration buckles amid COVID Aug. 4, 2022 For immigrant workers, the higher fees are stoking both anger and worry. Anuj Christian, 38, a development operations engineer at a company in Washington, D.C., came to the U.S. from India in 2009 on a student visa and got his first H-1B in 2013. Since then, his firm has paid to renew the visa a handful of times. Christian requested that The Times not identify his company for privacy reasons. His most recent visa extension is pending. But Christian, who is in touch with many other Indian nationals with work visas, said they were angry when they learned the fees would go up. Workers such as Christian are eligible for permanent residency through sponsorship from their employer. But backlogs have become extremely lengthy for people from certain countries including India, because only 7% of green cards granted each year can go to people of any given nationality. They must continually renew their temporary employment visas until they reach the front of the line, which can take decades. The way Christian sees it, money that could otherwise go into an employee’s pocket is spent on visa processing. “Technically we are not paying the fees, the employer has to pay, but it trickles down to us,” he said. Bolour, the L.A. attorney, says the extra visa expenses have made some clients delay planned expansions to the U.S. He said one business owner, an accountant with operations in Mexico City who wants to set up in Los Angeles, had less than $60,000 in capital. With filing fees costing $3,000, every dollar saved mattered. “In their mind, they are coming to create jobs,” Bolour said. “They see [the extra fees] as a tax, as a surcharge, as something that’s not fair.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.