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Ashwin Sharma quoted in the Times of India re: the President’s Immigration Suspension and the possible future impact to Nonimmigrant visas such as the H-1B

“Ashwin Sharma, Jacksonville-based immigration attorney, told TOI, “At present the proclamation has left untouched the vulnerable visas in the non-immigrant categories. However, section 6 of the proclamation is deeply concerning as it leaves the door open to a future attack on the H-1B and other work visas.”

Sharma hopes that the President has no further plans to attack the H-1B and other non-immigrant visas under the guise of ‘protecting the American worker’. He wondered whether the proclamation is a subtle and first test of the waters. According to him, US will need its skills gap filled by H-1B and other professional workers in the long recovery from the ravages of Covid-19.”

Attorney Sharma quoted again by the Times of India about the Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Immigrants (formerly known as the “Immigration Ban”)

“Ashwin Sharma, Florida based immigration attorney told TOI, “As per this proclamation, the categories most impacted would include green cards for parents and siblings of US citizens, and for spouses and children of green card holders.” 

Sharma says, “The Presidents proclamation is illogical. It characterizes a 65-year-old parent of a US citizen as a greater threat to the American worker than the same US citizen’s 20-year-old son. The proclamation is also disingenuous in that in that it is attempting to rebrand the existing processing delays caused by Covid-19 as a targeted ‘suspension’ to shift public scrutiny away from the administration’s delays in addressing the pandemic, and onto its favourite scapegoat, immigrants.” 

Read the TOI Article

 

Ashwin Sharma quoted by the Times of India on President Trump’s Threat to issue Executive Order Banning Immigration during the Pandemic

Ashwin Sharma, Jacksonville based immigration attorney told TOI,

“This is the umpteenth incarnation of this same threat and this one in particular seems toothless and impotent, though it’s always an effective dogwhistle for his anti-immigration supporters.  Anytime President Trump needs an escape from facts and critics, he is quick to break the glass door labelled “Break in Case of Emergency” to whip out an executive order on Immigration.  

Sharma added, “The simple fact is that courts will block any such overbroad executive order.  Plus immigrants aren’t exactly lining up to get into America at the moment.  And the ones that are here are helping American companies stay afloat, treating American COVID19 patients, researching virus cures, supporting healthcare technology, delivering food and supplies, and other key roles.”

Continue to TOI Article

What’s in the new “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order?

  • On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order, “Buy American and Hire American.” In the “Hire American” portion of the order, Trump announced he was directing DOL, DOJ, DHS, and DOS to review the current laws governing the H-1B program and suggest changes to prioritize the most skilled and highest paid positions. The President also indicated he was directing federal agencies to review all visa programs and take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse in order to protect U.S. workers.

Read More…

AILA: Impact of “Hire American” Provisions in New Executive Order Remains to Be Seen

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Trump signed his latest Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American.” The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) observed that while today’s announcement reflects the administration’s desire to move toward reforms to the H-1B program, there will be no immediate changes or impacts on H-1Bs. Simply put, it appears that the agencies are asked to review policies related to all visa programs and recommend changes to root out “fraud and abuse,” and to propose additional reforms so that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid applicants.

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Reuters Exclusive: US Gov’t orders Embassies to identify Certain Population Groups for Extreme Vetting including Mandatory Social Media checks

Reuters recently reported on an exclusive story regarding four diplomatic cables (links below) transmitted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the last two weeks that call for heightened screening and vetting of visa applicants, including asking applicants detailed questions about their backgrounds and making social media checks mandatory for those who have ever been present in territory controlled by the Islamic State.

 Read the Diplomatic Cables (Via Reuters)

1) CABLE 23338 – Guidance to Visa-Issuing Posts; March 10, 2017

2) CABLE 24324 – Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Visa Applications; March 15, 2017

3) CABLE 24800 – Halt Implementation; March 16, 2017

4) CABLE 25814 – Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Visa Applications; March 17, 2017

AILA: No Matter How Written, a Muslim and Refugee Ban Won’t Make U.S. Safe

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) denounced President Trump’s rewritten Executive Order, which is again based on the false premise that barring Muslims and refugees from coming to America will make the country safer. The ban was revised in an effort to get around the court orders that blocked the Administration from implementing the original order after it had wrought havoc throughout U.S. airports and around the world. Under the rewritten order:

  • The ban will be effective March 16, 2017.
  • Refugees are banned for a 120-day period, an effective chokehold that snuffs out the US refugee program.
  • The travel ban still impacts only individuals from predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), and still targets people based on their religion and nationality, though Iraq has been removed from the list of banned countries.
  • The ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and dual nationals when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country. Those holding select other visas and statuses will not be affected, and waivers may be granted to others on a case-by-case basis.

William A. Stock, President of AILA noted, “Despite the administration’s assurances, this ban on refugees and nationals of these predominantly Muslim countries will not make America safer. Once again President Trump is elevating a xenophobic campaign promise over true national security protections and implementing a policy that national security professionals think is unnecessary and counterproductive. Further, refugees, other than those already approved and in transit, will remain locked out of the United States for at least 120 days, despite being extremely vulnerable and the most stringently vetted group of immigrants. Blocking thoroughly vetted families from seeking help does not befit our nation’s proud and long history of humanitarian protection and welcoming those fleeing persecution.”

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director stated, “Exempting lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and dual nationals will hopefully mean that these irrational policies will hurt fewer people, but the fact remains that this is bad policy, motivated by unfounded fear. Just like the last ban, this executive order will disrupt the lives of foreign nationals that live, work, and contribute to the U.S. and the citizen family members, community members, and businesses that depend on them. Many have already curtailed travel for scholarly research, to visit family abroad, attend a wedding, or see someone graduate because they are afraid they won’t be allowed to return. This new ban will hurt American families and businesses, and does not advance the promise of a better future for our nation.”

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

New State-by-State Interactive Shows How Much Federal Funding Sanctuary Cities Could Lose at the Hands of President Trump’s Administration

The American Immigration Lawyers Association partnered with the Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Law Center on a new interactive resource which answers the question of “How Much Funding for Sanctuary Jurisdictions Could Be at Risk?” by calculating the amount of funding in sanctuary jurisdictions in 32 states that could be targeted by President Trump’s January 25 executive order.

Link to Article

View Interactive Map

 

Summary of Second Trump Executive Order on Visa Issuance/Screening and Refugees

Via AILA.org

On March 6, 2017, the President signed a new executive order with the same title as the old Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The new Order takes effect on March 16, 2017 and expressly revokes the January 27, 2017 Order.

The new Order prohibits entry into the U.S. by immigrants and visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries without requiring any individualized determination based on specific intelligence that the individuals are a security risk. The Order exempts certain categories of people, including lawful permanent residents and dual nationals traveling on a passport from a country that is not one of the six designated countries. The American Immigration Lawyers Association does not believe the new Order will withstand judicial scrutiny since the targeted countries are majority Muslim, and the Order fails to provide evidence that nationals of the six countries pose a threat to national security. Courts reviewing the first order also gave serious consideration to the discriminatory statements directed at Muslims made by the President and his surrogates.

In addition, the new Order suspends refugee resettlement to the United States for 120 days and drastically reduces the number of refugees that the US Refugee Assistance Program (USRAP) will resettle in fiscal year 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000. Syrian refugees are no longer indefinitely banned under the new order, though they are subject to the 120-day suspension of the refugee program. The new Order no longer gives preference to individuals facing religious persecution who practice minority religions in their country of nationality. Despite the minor changes made in the new Order, it will have devastating consequences for the USRAP. The new Order will not make us safer as a nation, and thousands of refugees who have been screened for resettlement will be trapped in dangerous conditions.

Read More…

Practice Advisory on Changes to Expedited Removal due to President Trump’s Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Immigration Council, and ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project provide a practice advisory on how expedited removal has changed since President Trump issued the Executive Order on border security and immigration enforcement. This Practice Advisory addresses the coming expansion of expedited removal, who likely will be impacted, and possible ways to challenge an expedited removal order.

Download AILF’s Practice Advisory (PDF)

Attorney Sharma speaks to WJXT Channel 4 News regarding President Trump’s Travel Ban (Version 2.0)

Immigration Attorney Ashwin Sharma interviewed by WJXT News4Jax on President Trump’s new immigration executive order (Travel Ban Version 2.0) anticipated to be issued this week. The new order is expected be specifically tailored to address National Security issues and to overcome Constitutional challenges like those that affected the earlier executive order.

The new Executive Order will purportedly take effect 1-2 weeks after it is signed, and appears to continue to focus on the original seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya, but exempt green-card holders and dual citizens of the U.S. and any of those countries. The new order would apparently no longer specifically reject Syrian refugees when processing new visa applications. As well, DHS Sectretary Kelly indicates that if travellers are “in motion from some distant land”, at the time the Executive Order takes effect, they “will be allowed in”.

US Dept of State Alert on Provisionally Revoked/Expired/Cancelled Visas

DOS alert that visas that were provisional revoked are now valid for travel to the U.S., if the holder is otherwise eligible. Individuals whose visas are expired, or were physically cancelled, must apply for a new visa, absent a CBP grant parole or waive the visa requirement at the port of entry.

Link to US Dept of State Announcement