Archive for 2013


New Reports Confirm Must-Needed Job Creation and Economic Stimulus from Immigration Reform

April 27th, 2013 — 11:32am

We have periodically reported on new studies and reports that support the notion that immigrants and immigration stimulate the economy and create new jobs for U.S. business.  Here are some more:

  • A Kauffman Foundation report (February 2013), “Give Me Your Entrepreneurs, Your Innovators: Estimating the Employment Impact of a Startup Visa” states that between 500,000 and 1.6 million new jobs could be created over the next 10 years as a result of a “Startup” visa, a proposal to make 75,000 visas available for current holders of H-1B and F-1 visas.
  • The Center for American Progress (March 2013) reports that granting undocumented immigrants immediate citizenship would add $1.4 trillion to economic growth, increase tax revenues by $184 billion and create 203,000 jobs over the next decade.
  • A May 2012 report of The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Partnership for New York, concludes that America’s position as the global magnet for the world most talented and hardest-working is in jeopardy. In the report, entitled “Not Coming to America: Why the U.S. Is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent,” the authors compare America’s immigration policies with those of other nations — and finds our policies irrational and undirected, in sharp contrast with the targeted, strategic approaches seen elsewhere.  They outline six specific immigration reforms that the country should adopt to continue to attract the most talented, innovative, and necessary workers: (1) Provide visas to the STEM graduates educated in American universities. (2) Award more green cards based on economic needs. (3) Create a visa program to allow foreign entrepreneurs to build their firms in the US. (4) Let American companies hire the highly educated workers they need. (5) Give seasonal and labor-intensive industries access to foreign workers when they cannot find Americans to fill jobs. (6) Allow local governments to recruit more immigrants to meet regional needs. These are expected to be the main tenets of the new reform proposal.
  • And finally, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling added his voice to the choir in a recent White House blog, stating that common-sense immigration reform is good for the economy, and describing how it would grow America’s GDP, stimulate small business growth, create more jobs, boost demand for consumer goods, and more.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Immigration reform

Elimination of I-94 for Air and Sea Arrivals Commences on April 30

April 27th, 2013 — 11:31am

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will automate Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, for all air and sea arrivals — not land border port of entry arrivals — eliminating the paper Form I-94. The new process goes into effect on April 30, 2013.  The following is a description of the new automated admissions process and some key issues.

Electronic Record

CBP will no longer require international nonimmigrants to fill out a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival to the U.S. by air or sea. The agency will gather travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. This automation is designed to streamline the entry process, facilitate security, and reduce federal costs. CBP estimates that it will save over $15 million a year.  Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper Form I-94 at land border ports of entry.

The roll-out will be phased in throughout April and May; thus, nonimmigrants will continue to receive the paper Form I-94 until the automated process arrives at their airport or other port of entry.

Passport Stamp

Under the new process, CBP will issue an admission stamp in the passports of arriving nonimmigrants, as is current practice. The admitting CBP officer will make a handwritten notation indicating the status and authorized period of stay, similar to procedures used for travelers under the Visa Waiver Program. An electronic record for the arriving individual will be created upon admission.  This admission (or parole) stamp in a foreign passport will constitute evidence of alien registration as required under regulation. (Individuals without a foreign passport will be sent to CBP’s secondary inspection upon arrival into the U.S., where they will receive their electronic I-94 number. These individuals will be issued a paper I-94 with the pre-printed number crossed out, and the actual electronic I-94 number handwritten upon it.)

Computer Access to Arrival Record

Following automation, arriving nonimmigrants will be given a slip of paper directing them to www.CBP.gov/I94, a new CBP Web page (which is not scheduled to be live until the end of April) where individuals can view and verify the class and term of their admission in its electronic format. In order to access a given individual’s record of admission, seven data points will be needed, including name, passport number, date of admission, and port of admission. The Web portal allows nonimmigrants to print an admission record receipt. This data is expected to be accessible within approximately 24 hours of admission and available at any time. While CBP irons out the wrinkles of this new system, individuals are advised to check their admissions record.

Departing the U.S.

Individuals will not need to do anything differently upon exiting the United States. Those issued a paper Form I-94 would surrender it to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure. The departure will be recorded electronically with manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP. If the individual did not receive a paper Form I-94, CBP will record the departure electronically via manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP.

Correcting Errors

If an applicant was admitted incorrectly to the U.S., the applicant should visit a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site or port of entry to have his or her admission corrected. A list of Deferred Inspection Sites and ports of entry can be found at www.cbp.gov, under the “Ports” link at the bottom of the page.  If an applicant received an incorrect I-94 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the applicant should refer to Form I-102 available at www.uscis.gov/i-102.

Land Arrivals and Other Exceptions

Nonimmigrants arriving by land and certain classes of foreign nationals, such as refugees, asylum applicants, and parolees, will continue to receive paper Form I-94.  Information gathered by CBP when issuing a Form I-94 at a land border already is automatically uploaded to the CBP database.

Other Considerations

While there appears to be no legal reason compelling a nonimmigrant to print and keep a copy of Form I-94 from the CBP website, nonimmigrants who will need to demonstrate their class and term of admission for any ancillary purpose (e.g., I-9 employment eligibility verification, driver’s license application, Social Security number application) will need to print a copy of their admission record.

At least initially, air- and seaport arrivals will continue to have the option to request a paper Form I-94 to document their class and term of admission.  Both common carriers and CBP are expected to continue making paper forms available upon request. Nonimmigrants who do not have ready access to a computer and printer should avail themselves of this option.  CBP officers may also issue the paper I-94 in their discretion. Information from paper Forms I-94 will be manually entered into the CBP database.

Since the beginning of 2012, when CBP first indicated that it intended to eliminate the paper I-94, stakeholders raised a myriad of concerns associated with the paper I-94’s elimination. Of paramount concern was (and still is) the ability of state motor vehicle bureaus to address the change. Another issue involves foreign nationals seeking to use the automatic visa revalidation process.  Although CBP has advised that it will verify the I-94 electronically to re-validate an expired visa if the traveler meets the conditions of automatic revalidation, there is concern that this will not happen smoothly and without confusion. Another issue relates to the immigration forms themselves. Many USCIS petition and application forms used to request benefits, such as Forms I-129, I-130, and I-539, ask for a Form I-94 number. It appears that USCIS will print out the Form I-94.  Finally, it is unclear at this juncture whether the USCIS “Notice of Action” approving applications for change or extension of status (Form I-797) will continue to be issued with a Form I-94 at the bottom, as is current practice.

At least one benefit for the nonimmigrant is the elimination of the need to file for a replacement I-94 and pay a $330 fee to replace a lost record of admission.

Given the central role of Form I-94 in documenting proper admission and maintenance of status, the impact of its automation on the immigration process and ancillary benefits programs may be profound.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Customs and Border Protection

USCIS Releases New Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9

March 8th, 2013 — 3:50pm

On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the official, newly revised Form I-9.

Employers are required to use the Form I-9 to verify the identity and the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees hired after November 1986.

What is Different in the new I-9?

USCIS has finalized the new form with the following major changes:

  • New data fields, including employee’s foreign passport information, telephone and email address;
  • Clarifying the form’s instructions; and
  • Revising the layout of the form and expanding it from one to two pages.

Form I-9 Revision Date

The new, revised Form I-9 will contain a revision date of “(Rev. 03/08/13)N.”  Employers should begin using this new form immediately.

Employers will have a 60-day grace period, until May 7, 2013, to comply by using the new form.  After May 7, 2013, employers who fail to use this new form may be subject to penalties imposed under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.  These provisions, as usual, would be enforced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The M-274 Handbook for Employers is in the process of being updated as well by USCIS in order to correspond to the new Form I-9.  Employers are advised by USCIS to follow instructions on the new Form I-9 until the revised M-274 Handbook for Employers has been updated.

Click here to access the USCIS I-9 website for the I-9 announcement.

Click here to access a downloadable copy of the new I-9

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, I-9, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Worksite enforcement policies

U.S. Spends More on Immigration Enforcement than the Combined Funds of All Other Federal Criminal Law Enforcement Agencies

February 23rd, 2013 — 2:37pm

In a January 2013 report, the nonpartisan think-tank Migration Policy Institute (MPI) found that the U.S. government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, with nearly $18 billion spent in fiscal year 2012.  This is approximately 24 percent higher than the collective spending for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. MPI also found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refer more cases for federal prosecution than all Justice Department law enforcement agencies.

MPI’s comprehensive report offers a detailed analysis of the current immigration enforcement system and traces the evolution of the system, particularly in the post-9/11 era, in terms of budgets, personnel, enforcement actions, and technology. The result is the creation of a complex, interconnected, cross-agency system – in some ways by deliberate design; in others, by happenstance.

Six distinct pillars identify how this modern-day system is organized: border enforcement, visa controls and travel screening, information and interoperability of data systems, workplace enforcement, the intersection of the criminal justice system and immigration enforcement, and detention and removal of noncitizens. “This modern-day system,” says its authors, “extends well beyond U.S. borders to screen visitors against multiple intelligence and law enforcement databases before they arrive and also reaches into local communities across the country via partnerships with state and local law enforcement, information sharing and other initiatives.”

The following are among the report’s key findings:

  • deportations have reached record highs, with more than 4 million noncitizens deported since 1990, with removals rising from over 30,000 in FY 1990 to almost 400,000 in FY 2011.
  • fewer than half of the noncitizens deported are removed pursuant to a formal hearing before an immigration judge; instead the majority are by DHS via its administrative authority.
  • apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border fell to 40-year lows in 2011.
  • immigration enforcement has evolved to be a key tool in the nation’s counterterrorism strategies.

For the last many years, “enforcement first” was sought by successive congresses and administrations as a precondition for reforming the nation’s immigration laws.  The report makes clear that changes to the system accomplished this goal, having focused almost entirely on building enforcement programs and improving their performance. The findings pave the way for comprehensive immigration reform, given that the country’s enforcement priorities have been met.

Comment » | Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Comprehensive Immigration Reform on the Fast Track: Concrete Bill Expected in March; VAWA and Other Legislation

February 23rd, 2013 — 2:32pm

For the last two months, comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) has dominated the airwaves, from President Obama’s inauguration address and State of the Union, to hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives, to almost daily news articles in major national and ethnic newspapers, on the immediate need to overhaul our country’s immigration laws, for the benefit of our country and for the more than 11 million undocumented currently living here.  So far, the Administration and leading senators have issued two independent proposals to fix our broken immigration system in a comprehensive and common-sense approach, and their quick action demonstrates a real commitment to getting reform done in 2013.

While the precise legislative provisions of a immigration reform bill are not yet certain, the key points outlined by President Obama and the bipartisan group of senators working on a bill are similar.  Overall, the Senate plan outlined the following key points:

  • Creating a “tough but fair” path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the U.S. that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
  • Reforming our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
  • Creating an effective, and probable, mandatory employment-verification system that prevents identity theft, ends the hiring of future unauthorized workers, and includes stiff penalties for egregious offenses;
  • Establishing an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers;
  • Reducing backlogs in the family and employment visa categories;
  • Providing permanent resident status to immigrants who have received a Ph.D. or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM fields) from a U.S. university;
  • Establishing a new agricultural worker program.

Where are we now?  Leaders in the Senate have given themselves a deadline of March 1 to produce legislative language that embodies the principles they released. The Administration, which has privately drafted an immigration bill so that it can “be ready” if the Senate fails to continue to move forward, has made it clear that the President will take a back seat to lawmakers, but also wants to see real progress by March. Once a bill is introduced by the Senate, it will go through normal Senate procedure, including hearings and a markup in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Debate will follow, then a vote on the Senate floor. To overcome a potential filibuster – currently viewed as probable – the bill will need to receive at least 60 votes. Once passed by the full Senate, the bill would move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Already, a couple of congressional hearings have been held and more are to come. On February 13, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on immigration reform, featuring DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and other witnesses. On February 5, the House Judiciary Committee kicked off its first immigration-focused hearing in the 113th Congress.

Meanwhile, the White House website has devoted a special section to President Obama’s 2013 comprehensive immigration reform proposal, with basic resources for the public and as a way to help advance the legislation.

It’s hard not to be extremely encouraged by the lightening-fast pace taken by Congress and the Administration to enact CIR. And, while the fight for a fair and balanced immigration system will continue over the next several months, the momentum for change is breathtaking.

We will keep you posted.

Senate Passes VAWA Reauthorization; House to Consider Bill

On February 12, the Senate passed by a vote of 78-22 the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that strengthens protections for all victims of sexual and domestic violence, particularly Native Americans, immigrants, and LGBT survivors of violence. The bill passed with significant bipartisan support. All eyes now move to the House of Representatives, where the legislation will be considered. Despite bipartisan support in the Senate, VAWA stalled in the House last year.

Other Immigration Legislation of Interest

The House of Representatives recently introduced two bills that are likely to become part of CIR.  They are the Immigration Innovation (I2) Act of 2013, which makes changes to the H-1B and student visas and increases access to employment-based green cards; and Reuniting Families Act, which promotes family unity in the immigration system and improvements to the family-based immigration preference system. Significantly, and among other things, the bill allows same-sex partners to apply for family-based immigration benefits.

Comment » | Immigration reform

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