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Immigration Updates: What's real and how to make the changes?


It is nearly impossible to turn on the news today without hearing somebody screaming about the drastic, dramatic and disproportionate impacts of recent immigration “changes”. Unfortunately, in this environment, it is easy for people to become victims to scams based in fear and misinformation. Accordingly, from time to time, we will try to send out a summary of some of the recent updates that have been circulated by government agencies. The sharing of information is not to be confused with advocating or opposing the policies, just simply stating the facts of the laws and how businesses, individuals and families can operate within those rules.

1) I-9 Audits are on the rise. This is something facing every employer. It is not the same thing as E-Verify. Bottom line, a company has a lot of risk when hiring employees and needs to make sure that they are following the rules about ensuring that those you hire are authorized to work in the United States. For more on this, please read this more detailed article.

2) Public Charges are prohibited for immigrants. This has been the law for a long time. Nothing has changed here. Simply, this law that requires that all immigrants to the United States show sufficient ability to not become dependent on the government for their benefits or financial support. To be clear, this does not mean you need to be independently wealthy. For a three person family, it means you need to show the ability to earn a household gross income of $26,662.

3) DACA. While lawsuits continue regarding the constitutionality of DACA itself, which was enacted as an Executive Order under President Obama and not as a federal law, the courts have required that renewal applications must be received, but that no new applications can be accepted for initial processing. It is unclear when or how these cases will be decided.

4) EB-5. Investors who have created jobs in the United States will also face a higher burden after November 2019, when the required investment levels increase, the federal government centralizes some of the analysis previously handled by states and the backlog of certain cases continues. Also, there continue to be lawsuits regarding various EB-5 regulation interpretations for family members involved in dependent applications.

5) ICE raids. Yes, ICE raids have increased. Over the past several months, I have received many concerned calls from companies whose employee’s did not show up to work and were instead detained by ICE, later to be released, but some referred to immigration courts to begin removal (deportation) proceedings. As with anything, don’t sign any form that ICE provides to you or your employees without consulting your attorney. Many people are convinced to sign a form that gives up the immigration court process, when they may actually have a strong case to remain in the US for many years for family hardship reasons.

6) SCAMS ARE INCREASING. With so many changes happening, there are unethical businesses and “attorneys” that promise visas and greencards guaranteed for a large fee. Trusting families pool their money and give it to the salesman who takes the money, stops returning calls and is never seen or heard from again. State Bar Associations that license attorneys have received many complaints from the public regarding people posing as attorneys and even having fake certificates on the walls. Always get a second opinion. If you’ve been told for many years that your case is not possible, then be cautious when someone promises you something completely different.

7) Immigration is Federal. Because attorneys do not need to be licensed in every state to represent your case, you can hire an attorney anywhere in the U.S. In fact, we often work with companies and families in all kids of different places in the United States.

Bottom line, ask as many questions as you have to make sure that you are working with the right team of professionals.