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Current Status of DACA Renewals

Based on federal lawsuits challenging President Trump’s ending of DACA, the DACA program is currently back in place. This means that current DACA recipients can apply to extend their DACA status. Normally, USCIS has always advised DACA recipients to renew their applications between 150-120 days prior to expiration; HOWEVER, USCIS has stated that they will accept […]

A Dream Act, at What Price?

Last week Trump sent his “term sheet” to congressional republicans containing what he wants in exchange for a “DREAM Act” that would provide an eventual path to citizenship for Dreamers. In contrast to his earlier statements (“I will sign any Dream Act legislation that is put on my desk”), Trump is now attempting to extract […]

H-1b Math: What Are My Chances of Winning the Lottery in 2018?

When asking what are my chances of winning the H-1b lottery, most lawyers will respond with a non-scientific answer based on their own rough historic success rate in the lottery, and predictions on the upcoming number of applications. We often do not go into the math because most of us (lawyers) were scared to death […]

What are the chances of a DREAM Act in 2018?

What is Necessary for the DREAM Act to Pass? While the first proposed deadline has passed to bring the DREAM Act to a vote in 2017, we are still cautiously optimistic that we could see a DREAM Act in 2018. Our primary reason for optimism is that the majority of both houses of Congress, as […]

What is The Diversity Visa Program?

In light of the tragic attack in New York City this week by Sayfullo Saipov, Trump has called for the end of the Diversity Visa program (the immigration program that allowed Saipov to immigrate to the U.S). In typical Trump fashion, Trump continues to lead through fear, which has the terrible effect of undermining any […]

MAVNI’s new face: A Not Quite Expedited Naturalization

The Start of MAVNI After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the question of the hour was: “how could we have prevented this?” As investigations and analysis continued, the Bush administration found a remarkable fact: we were in possession of intercepts from the hijackers, but they were not translated. The obvious conclusion was that in the ranks […]

Trump Issues a New Indefinite Travel Ban on both Previously Designated and New Countries

On Sunday, September 24th, Trump issued his third and most severe travel ban, this time calling for an indefinite ban on entry into the United States of foreign nationals from designated countries. Rather than a 90-day ban, like the previous versions, Trump has put an indefinite ban in place again on foreign nationals from countries […]

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Some H-1b Petitions

Premium processing is a service provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure expedited processing of immigration petitions. For an additional filing fee of $1225, USCIS promises to make an initial decision on a case within 15 calendar days. If USCIS issues a request for evidence, they are allowed an additional […]

The Reality of “Getting in Line”

This piece is written by one of our paralegals, Maria, who as a documented immigrant, offers a perspective on the great difficulties faced by those who are undocumented. I am a documented immigrant. By some, I am praised because I “did things the right” way and didn’t “jump the line.” However, these statements are really short sighted and reflect an incomplete […]

Trump Phases out DACA: The Facts

Before I comment on the ridiculous statements of Attorney General Jeff Sessions (“the compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness [of DACA]??]) and the cowardice of ending such a benign program that extends relatively little rights to a group of young people who deserve so much more, I want to get the facts out regarding what […]

A Look at Our Broken Guest Worker Program

Most people recognize that labor shortages are a major cause of a large undocumented population in this country, but the extent to which our broken guest worker program contributes to this problem is largely unknown.   Our current non-agricultural guest worker program is limited to 66,000 guest workers annually, an exceedingly small number given the size of our economy and our labor needs.  The […]

Proposed Immigration Bills: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Before our discussion below of recently proposed immigration bills, it is worth reviewing the process of how a bill (a proposed new law) becomes law. The fact of the matter is that, for better or for worse, our country’s founders made it very difficult to change the law (with few exceptions). Bills hit […]

Can CBP search my computer when I arrive in the U.S.? The Evolving Border Search Doctrine in the Age of Trump

      The 4th Amendment and the Border The right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” absent a judicial warrant is constitutionally ingrained in our 4th Amendment. . . but this right is not absolute. One notable exception is that the 4th Amendment does not apply at the border, which includes land […]

Misconceptions about Undocumented Immigrants

  Changing Trends in Immigration Our tumultuous political climate has once again brought immigration to its forefront. The heated issue, however, involves a myriad of misconceptions further complicating a very important, and very personal, discussion. The following data, largely gathered by the Pew Institute, provides relevant information challenging various notions that have colored the immigration […]

An Overview of the US Immigration System

  The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) is the body of law currently governing immigration policy. Though very complicated, a starting point is to understand that we grant entry on either a permanent (legal permanent resident) or temporary (nonimmigrant) basis.  Currently, there is a worldwide limit of 675,000 permanent immigrant visas, with certain exceptions for […]

Despite Trump’s Stated Support for Christians from the Middle East, Iraqi Chaldean Christians Face Deportation

“Christians in the Middle East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!” President Trump tweeted this January. Indeed, his initial commitment to the Middle eastern Christians and their unwavering support for his campaign, particularly the Chaldean community in Detroit, played a significant role in his victories in certain Michigan […]

Supreme Court Gives Trump His First Partial Victory for his Travel Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a preliminary opinion today temporarily allowing part of Trump’s travel ban to take effect until a final decision is made later this year, perhaps by October. Many feared an end to the string of victories against the travel bans as the second ban worked its way up to the Supreme Court, […]

EB-1 Green Card Category for India and China Retrogress UNTIL October 1, 2017

As reported in the June 2017 Visa Bulletin, the EB-1 green card categories for India and China have retrogressed after being “current” for some time. This retrogression is based on increasingly high demand for employment-based green cards for highly skilled Indian and Chinese professionals. Read on for details relating to this retrogression. What Does the Retrogression Mean […]

Attacking H-1b Visas Spurs More of the Best to Work Overseas

Trump’s recent attacks on the H-1b visa system reflects a truly short-sighted view (at best) and represents an additional backwards step for this country as the premier country for innovation and technology. Like with any government program, it can be improved, but the idea that we are letting in too many foreign national specialized employees […]

The Real Cost of Trump’s Immigration Enforcement Plan

When it comes to deportation systems, the United States has taken the bigger-is-better approach in recent years. And by the looks of what’s mapped out in Trump’s executive order, agency memos and budget requests, the immigration enforcement plan will only get more massive. Or “wasteful and ineffective” as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) put […]

Federal Judges in Hawaii and Maryland Block Trump’s Latest Attempt at a Travel Ban

Trump strikes out again in his attempt to ban certain foreign nationals from this country based on nothing more than their nationality. Two federal judges have issued nation-wide injunctions against  President Trump’s newest travel ban, and just in the nick of time as that the second travel ban was due to begin today, March 16. While the second travel ban […]

Change is Brewing for PERM Labor Certification Minimum Requirements

On March 7, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a dramatic policy change to the PERM labor certification minimum requirements. Three days later, the DOL removed the change as the result of stakeholder input. What does this mean for employers and employees seeking a green card through PERM? Change is brewing. The original (and […]

Trump’s Travel Ban: Take Two

On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued his new and “improved” travel ban. While this latest version is more narrow than the first ban, the fundamental xenophobic nature of the ban remains, as does the lack of evidence that such a ban will increase safety in the U.S. The Impact of Trump’s Travel Ban on […]

Trump Abandons Travel Ban Legal Fight, Vows to Issue a New Executive Order on Immigration

After a Washington federal district court granted a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of the travel ban, Trump and the Department of Justice quickly appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit sits below the U.S. Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit reviewed the issue and agreed with the Washington […]

Washington District Court Issues a Blow to Trump’s Travel Ban

On Friday February 3, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Trump’s executive order travel ban. The executive order temporarily prohibits travel to the U.S. of immigrants, nonimmigrants and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump’s travel ban was shocking in that it represents the most […]

New DHS Secretary Kelly Clarifies Order Regarding Effect on Lawful Permanent Residents

Two pieces of good news have come so far since Trump’s unconstitutional travel ban. First, a federal court has granted an injunction, barring the government from deporting individuals being held under the injunction for two weeks (while a final decision is reached on the lawsuit). Second, new DHS Secretary Kelly fixed a portion of the order, […]

Trump’s Latest Executive Action Raises Nationality Discrimination to Frightening Levels

Trump’s latest executive action, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”, raises nationality discrimination to a largely unprecedented level. While we are not at “Japanese internment camp” levels of discrimination yet, we are marching closer and closer to this historic pinnacle of shame. The breadth of the executive order is broader than even […]

Trump Launches First Two Executive Actions Aimed at Immigration

Five days after taking office, President Trump released his first two executive actions on immigration: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States Interior Enforcement Executive Order These executive actions were anticipated and they certainly contain many disturbing provisions; however, it is important to remember that implementation requires several additional steps such as rule-making and […]

USCIS Finalizes New International Entrepreneur Rule Granting Foreign Startup Entrepreneurs New Pathway

Foreign entrepreneurs can start exploring a new pathway this July thanks to the finalization of the International Entrepreneur Rule by the USCIS last Tuesday. The rule aims to grant “parole” status to qualifying foreigners so they can stay in the United States to build their startups. Up until now, the U.S. had reserved this status […]

How will Trump respond to Obama’s unexpected move ending a 22-year-old exemption policy for Cuban immigrants

So far in his presidency, Trump has been quite clear about his intentions to dig up seeds sown during the Obama administration. But what does that mean for Cubans? Consider that 8 days before leaving office, Obama attempted to normalize relations by unexpectedly ending a 22-year-old policy that exempted Cubans arriving in the U.S. without […]

What does a retired general and the CEO of one of the biggest oil companies in the world have in common?

They have been nominated by Trump to lead the two most important federal agencies that deal with immigration: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of State (DOS). Let’s take a closer look at each nominee: Rex Tillerson: Trump Nominee for Secretary of the Department of State Mr. Tillerson is the former CEO […]

On Being a Denver Immigration Lawyer Just Before Trump Takes Office

The Atlantic published a great article titled “What It’s Like to Be an Immigration Attorney in the Final Weeks Before the Trump Presidency“.  People are scared and do not know what to expect, which is the most rationale reaction to a new President who specializes in anti-immigration rhetoric, but at the same time is capable […]

Why Local Law Enforcement Should Not Be Coerced To Act as ICE Agents

Why should local law enforcement in Colorado’s cities avoid being involved in immigration enforcement? Colorado Public Radio recently covered the matter in a recent piece called Sanctuary Cities in Colorado, and How They May Face Problems from Trump. The story touches on the problems with coercing local police to act as ICE agents. Below are […]

Trump and the Future of Our U.S. Employment Immigration System

So much of Donald Trump’s negative immigration rhetoric targets the undocumented population and refugees. But what about employment immigration? Trump has criticized many components of our employment immigration system as well. However, regarding actual negative changes to our employment immigration system, I believe his bark is worse than his bite for several obvious reasons. First, it makes very […]

President Trump!!?? Practical Implications to our Immigration System (Part 2)

After digesting our new reality and venting about it (see Part 1 of this blog series), let’s try to rationally analyze how President Trump may change our immigration system. Is There Any Hope for the DAPA Program and the Expansion of the DACA Program? No. Neither of these programs ever took effect because of federal […]

President Trump!!?? What Does This Mean for Our Immigration System (Part 1)

President Trump’s (I can’t believe I just wrote that) anti-immigration rhetoric has been a staple and at times the foundation of his unprecedented rise to President. From his promise to build a wall to his proposed ban on Muslims, his extreme rhetoric appealed to and rallied at historic levels his core supporters. So now the […]

Wired Magazine Points Out that Immigrants Across the Spectrum Fuel Innovation

Silicon Valley and the tech media have widely discussed the immense contributions highly-skilled immigrants make in the tech world, and consistently advocate for fixing the many problems in our employment immigration system. This focus on highly skilled immigrants sometimes is juxtaposed with lower-skilled immigrants, who often do not have immigration status. This dichotomy can result […]

Chobani Yogurt: A Leader in Job Creation for Refugees

In an era where serious corporate misconduct seems to make the news every couple of years, (from Enron’s massive accounting fraud to Merrill Lynch and friends’ implosion of the financial system to BP’s Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster) it is easy to become pessimistic and believe that many large corporations do not have a conscience. Fortunately, […]

Some Facts About Our Southwest Border

The sad irony about much of the public discourse on immigration is that their is often a complete disconnect between people’s heated opinions and actual facts. Moreover, when any segment of our economy suffers, immigrants are often unjustly blamed. Fact deficient reasoning and vitriolic opinions based on fiction are on the rise, led by the […]

USCIS Increases Fees by an Average of 21%

Effective December 23, 2016, new fees for almost all applications filed with USCIS take effect. On average, fees per application have increased by 21%. This is the first fee increase by USCIS in 6 years. Some notable fee increases are below. N-400 (Naturalization): from $595 to $640 (+ $85 biometrics fee which remains unchanged) I-129f […]

The Future of Our Immigration System: A Clintopia or a Trumpocalypse?

As we approach the end of Trump’s latest reality TV endeavor (running for President), we can only hope that this reality TV show comes to an end. While after the latest unveiling of Trump’s truly amoral and scary character, it appears that Hillary has the upper hand, this has not always been the case. Acclaimed […]

USCIS Increases Employment Authorization Validity Time for Asylum Applicants

Effective October 5, 2016, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it will increase the validity periods of Employment Authorization Documents for Asylum applicants.  This will apply to currently pending employment authorization requests by asylum applicants, as well as those who file in the future.  Instead of the previous one-year validity, the documents […]

U.S. v. Texas: The Latest Chapter in the DAPA Battle

Earlier this year on June 23, 2016, the currently 8-member Supreme Court reached a stalemate in a 4-4 tie vote regarding the legality of President Obama’s and DHS’ DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens and Residents). Unfortunately, this tie resulted in upholding the 5th Circuit’s decision that the program was unconstitutional. Now, on October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court […]

Immigration Law Tech Tip: Avoiding Abandonment of your Greencard based on Time Abroad, The Reality Versus Common Misconceptions.

Within immigration law, there is often a conflict between the actual law and what many perceive to be the law based on enforcement or simply ambiguous legal principles. One of the most common scenarios where we see this disconnect pertains to how long a lawful permanent resident can remain outside of the United States without […]

Understanding the Roots of a Broken System

I have been involved now in immigration law for almost 16 years, first as an immigration paralegal in San Francisco before law school, next, defending foreign nationals against charges of illegal entry after deportation as a federal public defender and now as a lawyer focused 100% on immigration law. Despite this lengthy history with immigration law, […]

The Supreme Court listens to arguments in U.S. v. Texas

On April 15, 2016, the United States Supreme Court listened to oral arguments for the case U.S. v. Texas, which is the case dealing with whether are not the proposed deferred action for parents program and the expanded deferred action for children program will be implemented. The state of Texas is leading the lawsuit by taking the […]

Applying for a Greencard for my Wife or Husband: Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is a “One Step” immigration application? A one step application is what immigration attorneys call an immediate relative adjustment of status application because the two steps of the process can be filed together. The foundational form for Step 1 is form I-130 (petition for alien relative). During this step, we must prove the […]

A Tricky Problem: How Long Am I Authorized to Work When I Change H-1b Employers?

Many foreign nationals (“FN”) in H-1b status are aware of “H-1b Portability”, which allows a H-1b FN to transfer to a new H-1b employer upon the filing of a H-1b petition by the new employer. The genesis of this rule is in a law called AC-21 (or “The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act […]

H-1b Season is upon us!

If you are interesting in applying for a H-1b visa this year, please review the below and give us a call. H-1b visas can only be applied for once a year (on April 1, unless you already have a H-1b visa or work for a “Cap exempt” employer) and preparations should begin now. If you […]

Lakewood, Colorado to temporarily house up to 1,000 immigrant children

In April 2016, the Federal Center in Lakewood will become the temporary home for up to 1,000 immigrant children. These children are fleeing to the U.S. from impoverished and gang infested Central American countries. The facility, a vacant office warehouse, will be the largest of its kind in the country and will be run by […]

A Survey in The Atlantic Further Confirms the Need for More Visas to Spur Innovation

In the November 2014 issue of The Atlantic (dubbed “The Technology Issue”), a piece titled “The View from the Valley” provides additional, powerful evidence of the severe shortage of talent in the U.S. and the negative effect this shortage is having on innovation. The survey is particularly potent because it is not an immigration centered […]

Will Obama Announce a New Executive Action Program?

Because of frustration with the inability of Congress to pass immigration reform, President Obama has vowed to take executive action in order to provide limited relief for a number of undocumented individuals in the U.S. President Obama had stated that he would act during the summer of 2014, but failed to do so. This decision […]

Work Permission to come for certain H-4 nonimmigrants (Spouses of H-1b nonimmigrants)??

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is proposing to grant employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants. The extension would only apply to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment. Specifically, H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are […]

Does Comprehensive Immigration Reform Stand a Chance in the House?

While it would be great if politicians did what they truly believed was best for our country, the reality of our representative democracy system of government is much simpler. Politicians represent only their constituents and do what the majority of their constituents want in order to be elected or win reelection. Ignore the will of […]