After only eight months in office, we are beginning to see the impact of the government’s implementation of Trump administration policies regarding business immigration, as they chip away at many of the benefits your company and its foreign national employees have come to enjoy over the years.
Here is a high-level overview of what we are witnessing:
- Greater scrutiny and vetting by adjudicating officers, consular officers, and officers at the border.
- Issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) with much greater frequency and with aggressive new issues.
- A spike in site visits by the USCIS fraud unit.
- Harsh adjudication by TN officers in Toronto, Peace Arch, and land borders near Quebec.
- Mandatory interviews imposed for employment based applicants for adjustment of status.
- Language added from Trump’s Executive Order to “Buy American Hire American” to all field guidance for consular officers that instructs officers to seek out potential fraud and abuse, and deny work visa applications for U.S. job offers where the officers construe that job can be performed by a U.S. worker.
- Greater interagency data sharing — between USCIS, USCBP, the Dept. of State, and IRS, and regarding old filings submitted in the past.
- Lengthier and more arduous USCIS forms, e.g. I-485 applications to adjust status, where up to 70 new questions have been added.
- The ongoing suspension of premium processing for H-1Bs.
Much of it feels quite mean-spirited and without regard to the impact it may have on businesses, employees, and their families.
Nevertheless, we will continue to advocate tirelessly on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys remain at the forefront of immigration legal thought at the national and local level and will continue to help navigate you through these challenging times.
Minette A. Kwok is a Partner with Minami Tamaki LLP and a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, as designated by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Our immigration practice has been recognized by “Best Law Firms.” a list by U.S. News – Best Lawyers.