The easiest prediction to make for 2018 is that Donald Trump will not visit
the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July and extol the virtues of America’s
great tradition as a nation of immigrants. But what should we expect on
immigration in 2018?
Low Unemployment But More Efforts to Restrict the U.S. Labor Supply: The premise of the “Buy American and Hire American”
executive order used to justify new immigration restrictions is U.S. workers can’t
find jobs because of immigrants and temporary visa holders. The premise
is extraordinarily weak. U.S. immigration levels haven’t changed
since the 1990 Act and the U.S.
unemployment rate has continued to plummet, approaching a 50-year low.
predicts the unemployment rate will fall to 3.5% by the end of 2019. (It was over
9% in 2011.) The problem now is not enough workers. “Employers nationwide
are grappling with a problem that threatens to stall economic growth:
vacancies — and lots of them,” reports the
Washington Post. “In Colorado, where the unemployment rate sits at an especially
tight 2.8 percent, analysts are projecting job creation to slow next year,
because companies can’t find enough employees to keep growing.”
Economists predict Colorado’s unemployment rate to fall to 1.8 percent.
Still, we should expect the attacks on immigrants to continue. Trump adviser
and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon gave away the game in a November 2015
radio interview with Donald Trump when he argued that too many “CEOs in Silicon
Valley are from South Asia or from Asia.” In other words, it doesn’t
matter what kind of immigrant you are. If you weren’t born here,
then the Trump administration likely has (or will have) a policy to keep
you out or compel you to leave.
Politicization of Terrorist Incidents: While conservatives have criticized Democrats for politicizing mass shootings,
Donald Trump has politicized terrorist incidents to argue for restrictive
immigration policies. In a December shooting
incident in Pennsylvania, the administration labeled it a terrorist incident even
as facts were being determined – and a Department of Homeland Security
said the shooter was admitted on a “family-based immigrant visa.”
The DHS spokesman went on to attack “chain migration,” a contrived
term to describe when U.S. citizens sponsor family members.
immigrant soldier in New York died in December after saving four people from a burning building
and heroically trying to save a fifth, the Department of Homeland Security
did not rush out a statement telling the world whether he came to America
on a “family-based immigrant visa.” Expect the administration
and the president to remain silent on anything positive immigrants do
while attempting to capitalize politically on anything negative.
There is a good chance in 2018 the
U.S. Supreme Courtwill rule on the Trump administration’s latest version of its travel
ban, with the court outlining (or not) limits on executive power in immigration policy.
A Deal for Dreamers?: Back in September 2017, the
New York Times reported, “Democratic leaders . . . declared that they had a deal
with President Trump to quickly extend protections for young undocumented
immigrants and to finalize a border security package that does not include
the president’s proposed wall.” Following an orchestrated
effort from both inside and outside the administration, Donald Trump has
flipped his position and
argued Congress must enact wholesale changes to the legal immigration system
and build a border wall or he will deport approximately 800,000 young
people who came to America as minors.
President Obama started DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) but
the Trump administration ended it. Protection from deportation has already
stopped for some DACA recipients and will cease for many more in the coming
March 2018viewed by lawmakers as a deadline for a legislative deal. Between spending
bills, border measures, interior enforcement and efforts to cut legal
immigration by 50%, the question is whether too many balls are in the
air to reach an agreement. Congressional Republicans care more about protecting
Dreamers (named after the Dream Act) than administration officials, so
to the extent negotiations are primarily among members of Congress the
prospects for a deal improve.
Continued Assault on High-Skilled Immigration: The idea that the Trump administration favors “merit-based”
immigration has proven to be a myth, as evidenced by the most anti-high-skill
immigration regulatory agenda in modern history. The Department of Homeland
agency rule list for 2018 includes rescinding both the
International Entrepreneur Ruleand work authorization for the “H-4 Dependent Spouses” of H-1B
visa holders. (See
here why denying H-1B spouses the right to work is a bad idea.)
The Trump administration also plans to enact a
series of regulatory measures to restrict the ability of high-skilled foreign nationals to work in America.
First, it plans to “revise the definition of specialty occupation”
for H-1B visa holders. (The administration recently restricted who can
qualify as an economist on a TN visa.) The H-1B changes, which could include wage changes, according
to DHS, are “to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest
foreign nationals via the H-1B program.” This means the federal
government will decide whether an individual would be a valuable employee,
rather the company that would actually employ the person.
plans to change the H-1B lottery used to award H-1Bs when the category is oversubscribed,
which happens every year due to a combination of the low annual limit
(0.05% of the U.S. labor force) and the strong demand for technical skills
in the U.S. economy. Skewing the lottery toward those with the highest
salaries would likely disadvantage international students, who usually
cannot demand large salaries right out of school.
Third, DHS will “revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S.
workers and wages,” which could mean additional restrictions aimed
at information technology companies.
Fourth, the clearest evidence that skill or education level is not relevant
in the eyes of the current administration is the plan to restrict the
ability to stay in the U.S. of even individuals with the highest levels
of education and the most sought-after skills on the planet. “Immigration
and Customs Enforcement will issue a proposed rule that comprehensively
reforms the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for foreign students,”
according to the law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden. “The Trump
administration has already indicated that it will limit the work opportunities
available to foreign students and is likely to rescind Obama’s STEM-OPT
Extension rule that expanded the extensions of OPT for foreign nationals
holding U.S. degrees in STEM fields from 17 months to 24 months.” (See
here for more background.)
Finally, as if those measures were not sufficient to push high-skilled
people away from the U.S., news emerged from
McClatchy that the administration is considering rescinding measures that allow
individuals waiting years for employment-based green cards to extend their
H-1B status beyond 6 years, which has been part of U.S. law since 2000.
“The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’
of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to
open up those jobs for Americans,” according to a “U.S. source
briefed by Homeland Security officials.”
Of course, it is economic ignorance of the highest order to assume that
removing highly skilled people from their long-tenured jobs will “open
up those jobs for Americans,” rather than push more work outside
of the U.S., diminish the supply of human capital in America and reduce
the demand for labor in the United States. Such a policy action would
mistreat human beings and their families who have waited years for permanent
residence in America.
Proposals can change through the process, must go through rule making and
could be subject to litigation. Timing is not certain, though the H-4
and International Entrepreneur Rule appear ready for action in the first
part of 2018. One should also pay attention to the arguments used in any
proposed rules, since sweeping assertions about the executive branch lacking
the authority to issue work authorization would inspire a
Efforts to Restrict Family Immigration: In December 2017, the
Associated Press reported, “The White House is embarking on a major campaign to turn
public opinion against the nation’s largely family-based immigration
system ahead of an all-out push next year.” Some have observed it
is a little odd for an administration that has given high-level White
House jobs to the president’s daughter and son-in-law to decry family
ties. But this is really all about numbers and a desire to allow fewer
foreign-born people into the country.
If successful, and the administration would need support from Congress,
eliminating most family immigration (and Diversity visas) would reduce
legal immigration by 50 percent, lower the nation’s projected level
of economic growth and diminish business startups. Family immigrants start
many of America’s small businesses. “Immigrants account for
more than 90 percent of the growth in self-employment since 2000,”
according to economist Magnus Lofstrom. It would also deny the opportunity
to immigrate to approximately 4 million family-sponsored immigrants who
have waited lawfully outside the country.
The administration may also restrict family immigration through a regulation that
defines “public charge” for immigration purposes. (For more information
on the legal immigration system see this National Foundation for American Policy
Deportations and Workplace Raids: “In FY17, CBP recorded the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration
on record, as measured by apprehensions along the border and inadmissible
encounters at U.S. ports of entry,” according to a December 2017
report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Moreover, as discussed
here, demographic changes in Latin America mean the U.S. will likely never
again experience the level of illegal entry it saw 10 to 20 years ago.
However, these facts will not influence administration policies.
The Trump administration is likely to seek to increase deportations through
policies toward unaccompanied minors and parents and by pressuring
immigration judges to complete more cases. In December 2017, the
New York Times reported, “The Trump administration is considering a plan to separate
parents from their children when families are caught entering the country
illegally . . . immigrant groups have denounced it as draconian and inhumane.”
During the first half of 2018, the administration will decide whether
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Honduras, El Salvador and other countries.
While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has hardly focused its
attention only on hardened criminals, 2018 will likely seen a turn toward
immigration raids on businesses. Such raids have always been controversial.
According to the
Commercial Appeal, based in Memphis, “The federal government plans to increase job
site immigration enforcement actions across Tennessee in 2018, said Robert
Hammer, a high-ranking enforcement official.” A better way to combat
illegal immigration is to provide employers with more ways to hire workers
legally through temporary visas, including for year-round jobs, which
is difficult or impossible under current U.S. immigration law.
Refugee Admissions – How Low Can They Go?: In October 2017, the
New Yorker reported how key Trump immigration policy adviser Stephen Miller “got
the U.S. to accept fewer refugees.” Miller bulled his way through
the administration, essentially showing how intensity can carry the day.
At one point he sought to lower the level to 15,000 a year, from a recent
level of 110,000. The
announced administration level was 45,000 for FY 2018 but
other bureaucratic obstaclesplaced on individuals who are already
the most-vetted immigrants mean even that low number may not enter this fiscal year.
Miller can be proud of his efforts. The
Washington Postreported children are dying of cancer in refugee camps who could have received
treatment in the United States. Under the law, Congress is supposed to
play a prominent role in refugee policy but so far it has been missing
in action. Next year’s refugee admission level will likely be the
same or lower.
Don’t expect help on refugees from White House Chief of Staff John
Kelly. According to the
New York Times,“This past summer, the Trump administration debated lowering the
annual cap on refugees admitted to the United States . . . John F. Kelly
offered his opinion. If it were up to him, he said,
the number would be between zero and one.”
Employment-based, family-based, refugee or asylum seeker, the Trump administration
plans to make it more difficult for you to enter or remain in the United
States. In sum, the assault on all forms of immigration to the U.S. will
continue in 2018. Expect nobody to be spared.
Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2018/01/02/heres-what-to-expect-on-immigration-in-2018/4/#571d777612ca
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration and deportation defense law firm
With the beginning of this new year, we are closely monitoring potential
changes in immigration policies, particularly DACA, that could impact
hundreds of thousands of dreamers currently residing in the United States.
As always, we will be posting any updates to immigration policies as they
occur. If you are concerned about your immigration status or have questions
about your case or that of a family member, it's important seek the
guidance of an experienced immigration attorney.
Antonio G. Revilla III is a Former U.S. Immigration Prosecutor and a Miami
immigration lawyer with over 25 years of legal experience. Mr. Revilla
will thoroughly review and analyze your immigration case and advise what,
if any, relief is available to you. All consultations are confidential.
Contact our office today to schedule a free in-office consultation with
attorney Revilla. We also offer telephone consultations for a nominal fee.
Call (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323
Our Miami immigration lawyers have helped thousands of people avoid deportation.
We will fight to keep you and your family members in the United States.