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Why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Is Suing the Trump Administration

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  Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has decided to close the door to engineers, executives, information technology experts, doctors, nurses, and others who come to the United States on work visas. It has attempted to ban international students from attending American colleges and universities that hold classes virtually in the fall. And,

 

Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has decided to close the door to engineers, executives, information technology experts, doctors, nurses, and others who come to the United States on work visas. It has attempted to ban international students from attending American colleges and universities that hold classes virtually in the fall. And it has shown an unwavering commitment to canceling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Taken together, these are the most restrictionist immigration policies in nearly a century. This is a fundamental mistake at a time when our nation’s economy is already suffering.

If you want businesses to grow and the economy to rebound, you allow skilled workers to come here legally to work and contribute to the well-being of our nation; you don’t lock them out. If you want the next revolutionary start-up to be founded in America, you welcome foreign students; you don’t threaten to upend their lives and send them home during the middle of a pandemic. And if you want children to grow up to reach their potential and live their American dream, you give them the tools and certainty to succeed; you don’t kick them out of the only country they’ve ever known.

How did we get to this point?

Last month, the administration issued a proclamation severely restricting legal immigration into the United States for work purposes. The executive order puts up a “Do Not Enter” sign for all sorts of skilled workers who come to our country legally to contribute to the economy. The sweeping order will push jobs and investment overseas and slow our economic growth at a time when we need it most.

Take for example a manufacturer we heard from who is opening up a new production line here that will create jobs for American workers. To ensure that this new facility and its equipment function properly when it opens up, the company needs to temporarily employ technical experts from overseas. The administration’s proclamation directly prevents this from happening — meaning no international experts, no new production line, and no new jobs for American workers. Unfortunately, there are many other businesses across a host of industries in similar predicaments.

This week the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of trade associations and businesses, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, and TechNet, filed a joint lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department from implementing the administration’s proclamation restricting the use of various nonimmigrant worker visas.

Not only does the policy threaten America’s economic interests, but these restrictions clearly exceed the authority of the executive branch, as they take a sledgehammer to the immigration laws that Congress crafted over many generations.

The administration should learn a lesson from its other attempts to restrict legal immigration.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security wisely reversed course on its policy banning international students from staying in the United States if their college or university holds classes virtually in the fall, but only after widespread condemnation of this idea and numerous lawsuits. The policy would have denied places in colleges and universities for tens of thousands of talented students and future leaders while choking off tuition revenue at a time when many schools are struggling financially. We supported the lawsuit filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that ultimately led to the administration rescinding this policy.

“It’s basically a ‘Not Welcome Here’ sign for engineers, executives, specialists, doctors, nurses, etc — and we cannot do that.”

Our CEO Tom Donohue on @CNBC @PowerLunch today discussing our lawsuit against new federal immigration restrictions. https://t.co/nlGg6K05ME

— U.S. Chamber (@USChamber) July 23, 2020

The administration also can learn from its ill-fated attempt to repeal the DACA program. The program protects young people who have lived here since they were children. Last month, the Supreme Court gave the administration an out — blocking on procedural grounds the administration’s 2017 decision to rescind the DACA program. Rather than taking the opportunity to work with Congress on a permanent fix for Dreamers, the administration is considering another effort to end the program, pulling the rug out from 700,000 DACA recipients.

Taken together, these decisions form a broader policy that essentially says, “keep out the skilled, the brilliant, the young seeking to help us grow.” The administration prudently changed course on the student visa issue; it should now take the opportunity to promote economic growth and job creation by rescinding last month’s proclamation limiting legal immigration and abandoning its efforts to repeal DACA.

The Chamber hopes to work productively with the administration on these issues, as we have on a broad array of other policies like tax reform and streamlining regulation. But if the administration persists with its job-killing immigration restrictions, we will see them in court.

Thomas J. Donohue is the chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Source: Why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Is Suing the Trump Administration

 

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The Green Card Process Through the Lens of a DMV Visit

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As an immigration attorney, I try to provide clients with a basic, yet insightful, understanding of various aspects of a complex immigration system. It’s not always easy, but I often find analogies to something commonplace can be helpful.  One analogy I’ve found to work well to explain the green card process beyond describing its mere,

As an immigration attorney, I try to provide clients with a basic, yet insightful, understanding of various aspects of a complex immigration system. It’s not always easy, but I often find analogies to something commonplace can be helpful.  One analogy I’ve found to work well to explain the green card process beyond describing its mere sequence of form filings likens the process to a visit to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

In my practice area of business immigration law, green card processes are mostly employment-based and involve the successive filing of a labor certification application, immigrant petition, and adjustment of status application (with the first not always required and the latter two sometimes eligible for concurrent filing). So I’ll refer to these types of filings in describing the analogy here.  But variations of the analogy may be equally applicable to other types of green card processes, such as those in which the aspiring permanent resident will apply for an immigrant visa overseas rather than adjustment of status within the United States, as well as those based on family relationships and those available to asylees and refugees.

The trappings of a visit to the DMV, no matter the state, may be familiar to you: the issuance of a waiting number determining your place in a queue, followed by a long wait for your number to be called at one of several counters to file required paperwork, followed yet again by a lengthy wait for your paperwork to be processed, and eventually – hopefully – approved without issue.  The counter at which you’ll be called, and the length of the corresponding queue (or maybe in some fortunate instances, the absence of one altogether), often depends on specific factors, such as the type of service you’re seeking.

Just as you’re issued a waiting number upon entry into a DMV office, aspiring permanent residents are issued a priority date when the first major filing in their green card process (either the labor certification application or immigrant petition) is submitted.  The priority date is the date this first filing is submitted and determines, once the immigrant petition is approved, the aspiring permanent resident’s place in any existing queue to apply for adjustment of status.

Similar to how you wait at the DMV for your number to be called to file your paperwork at the appropriate counter, aspiring permanent residents face varying wait times for their priority date to be “called” at a designated “counter” to apply for adjustment of status.  The “counter” in the green card process at which aspiring permanent residents must apply for adjustment of status is based on a combination of two main factors: their immigrant classification (which, when speaking with clients, I refer to as their “green card category”) and their country of chargeability (which I refer to as their country of birth).  Aside from some significant exceptions outside of the employment-based green card process,[1] the law limits the supply of green cards available each fiscal year.  Because the law allocates this limited supply based on a combination of both immigrant classification and country of chargeability, queues form at “counters” where the demand for green cards exceeds the available supply.  And the more severely demand exceeds supply, the longer the queue will be. This analogy helps to show why EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in India and China are often confronted with waits lasting many years for their priority date to be “called” at their designated counters,[2] while EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in most other countries often face no such queue.  In technical terms, the existence of a queue at a given “counter” means the availability of green cards associated with that counter’s classification and chargeability combination is “retrogressed.”  If there’s no queue, green card availability at that counter is “current.”

A visit to the DMV often entails a wait of several hours sitting and keeping watch of your designated counter at it serves the visitors who arrived before you until your own number is finally called.  Likewise, many aspiring permanent residents monitor the often plodding, month-to-month movement of “cut-off dates” in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ monthly Visa Bulletins for the designated “counter” at which they must apply for adjustment of status.[3]  The Visa Bulletin for a given month contains various charts showing whether a queue for filing an adjustment of status application exists for any classification and chargeability combination, and if so, how long the queue is.  Combinations for which there is no queue are assigned a “C” notation, indicating that green card availability is current and that the adjustment of status application can thus be filed at any time that month, including in concurrence with an immigrant petition if it has not already been approved, and assuming any prerequisite labor certification has been granted. Combinations for which there is a queue, and for which green card availability is thus retrogressed, are denoted by a “cut-off date,” with older dates reflecting longer queues.  Aspiring permanent residents seeking to adjust status at a “counter” at which green card availability is retrogressed can track their place in the queue by comparing their priority date with the applicable cut-off date each month.  Priority dates that fall before the applicable cut-off date in a given month are those that have been “called,” indicating that much like counters at which green card availability is current, an adjustment of status application can be filed at any time that month, including in concurrence with an immigrant petition if it has not already been approved, and assuming again that any prerequisite labor certification has been granted.

Like processing of paperwork filed at a counter at the DMV, processing of an adjustment of status application may take a long time.  But eventually – hopefully – the application is approved without issue.  And unlike a visit to the DMV, having qualified counsel during the green card process can make all the difference in one’s chance of success.

[1] For example, “immediate relatives” (spouses and children of US citizens, and parents of US citizens if the citizen is at least 21 years old) are exempt from annual numerical limits on green card availability. INA 201(b)(2)(A)(i).
[2] Aspiring permanent residents for whom the queue for applying for adjustment of status involves a wait of several years, such as EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in India and China, commonly change jobs or employers in the course of their wait. Such a change can require a restart of the green card process since employment-based green card processes are generally job and employer specific.  But to allow aspiring permanents residents who change jobs or employers to keep their place in queue, the law permits them to retain their priority date under certain conditions if they are the beneficiary of a previously approved EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant petition, and likewise become the beneficiary of an approved EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant petition based on their new job or employer. 8 CFR 204.5(e). 
[3] US Citizenship and Immigration Service also publishes monthly updates indicating whether to use the Visa Bulletin’s Dates for Filing charts or its Final Action Dates charts, to determine whether an adjustment of status application may be filed.

Source: The Green Card Process Through the Lens of a DMV Visit

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