According to an article published by Houston Public Media, Texas workplace arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents rose almost 4,000 percent in 2018. The number of people whom ICE arrested in 2017 at Texas worksites was 13; in 2018, that number rose to 519. About one-third (1/3) of those arrests were on criminal charges, whereas the remaining two-thirds (2/3) of the arrests were of immigrants who were working in the U.S. without legal authorization to do so.
ICE agents in Dallas made the largest
number of workplace arrests, followed by agents in El Paso, Houston, and San
Antonio. The largest workplace raid took place in Sumner, Texas, a city in northwest
Texas, which involved 160 arrests in August 2018.
The Texas workplace arrests represent
about one-quarter (1/4) of the workplace immigration arrests made nationwide. The
number of immigration workplace arrests rose over 700% nationwide during FFY
2018, which is the first full fiscal year of the Trump administration being in
office, to a total of 2,304 arrests. Of these arrests, 779 were for criminal
offenses, and the remaining arrests for administrative purposes, or failing to
have legal documentation to work in the U.S. interestingly, however, criminal
indictments and convictions have not increased as a result of the increased
From 2013 to 2017, workplace
investigations and arrests by ICE dropped precipitously, as the Obama
administration has ordered ICE to focus on arresting criminal offenders rather
than investigating workplace violations. When recently retired acting ICE Director
Thomas Homan was in office, however, he called for a substantial increase in
worksite investigations for possible immigration violations. As a result, ICE
initiated 6,848 workplace investigations in 2018, which was four times the rate
of investigations in 2017. ICE also launched 5,981 audits of workplaces in
immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of
countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to
protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best
outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set
up an appointment with our immigration attorneys today.
U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released data showing the most common
reasons for the high rates of delays in the processing and denials of H-1B visa
applications. These visas are designed to allow highly-skilled foreign
nationals to work for companies in the U.S.
Overall, the rate of
H-1B visa approvals dropped from 96% in 2015 to 85% in 2018. Similarly, delays
in the processing of these visas rose by 60%, due to the federal government’s
“requests for evidence” to prove the legitimacy of the visa applications. Furthermore,
delays in processing made it much more likely that USCIS ultimately would deny
an H-1B visa request. The approval rate for delayed applications fell to 60% by
2018, as compared to 80% in 2015.
The top reason given
by USCIS for issuing requests for evidence from visa applicants is a failure of
the petitioners to establish that the positions qualify as specialty
occupations. Although the technology industry has heavily relied on H-1B visas
to hire foreign nationals with special skills, the visa program has come under
attack as being abused by outsourcing companies and used to replace American
workers with cheaper foreign labor.
Other common reasons
for USCIS issuing requests for evidence, thus slowing the processing of H-1B
visa applications, include a failure of the applicant to prove the existence of
a valid employer-employee relationship with the foreign national or qualifying
off-site work for the foreign national in a specialty occupation for the entire
duration of the visa requested. Another common reason for delays in processing was
the failure of an employer to prove that the foreign national was qualified to
perform the services in a specialty occupation.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you obtain through your immigration problems. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout the immigration process. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering documentation to support your goals. Allow us to handle your immigration law case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.
A recent Forbes
article highlighted new data from fiscal year (FY) 2018, which shows that
federal government policies that have hindered legal immigration have caused a
significant decrease in the number of visas granted. Among other policies,
“extreme vetting” of visa applicants, the Buy American and Hire American executive
order, and changes to the State Department’s definition of “public charge” all
have led to more potential immigrants receiving visa denials.
the National Foundation for American Policy, between FY 2017 and 2018, visa
denials increased 39% for immigrants and five percent for non-immigrants, or
those seeking only temporary visas. These denials resulted in the federal
government issuing seven percent fewer temporary visas and five percent fewer
immigrant visas during the same time period.
statistics also show that the number of denials based on “public charge”
grounds increased over 300% during this time period, which is directly
attributable to the administration’s changes in the policies in the State
Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual. This amounted to 13,450 denials of visas on
this basis. Almost 8,000 individuals were able to overcome the initial denial,
but an unknown number of those are traceable to denials from previous years,
rather than from the time period at issue. Plus, those who successfully
overcame the initial visa denial simply could show new evidence, such as
evidence of increased incomes since the time of the denial.
From the perspective of American businesses seeking to hire foreign workers, “extreme vetting” procedures have caused workers with approved temporary employment petitions to remain stuck in administrative procedures for months and months. This has an adverse economic effect on the U.S. economy. The more cases stuck in administrative processing results in even longer delays for immigrants seeking to enter the country for both employment and family-based reasons. Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.
One of President
Trump’s justifications for declaring a national emergency to justify the
diversion of previously appropriated federal funds to build a border wall on
the U.S.-Mexico border has been the “billions and billions of dollars” that
undocumented immigrants cost American taxpayers. In a recent news article, one reporter shows just how untrue
this justification is, despite the widespread belief of the American public in
In fact, not only do
undocumented immigrants contribute billions of dollars in federal taxes each
year, which helps keeps Medicare and Social Security solvent, but they also pay
billions of dollars in state and local government taxes each year. According to
a 2017 report by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, in 2014,
which is the most recent year for which data is available, undocumented
immigrants paid about $11.7 billion in state and local taxes. These taxes
include not only state income taxes, but also sales taxes, excise taxes, and
property taxes, which fund things like highway repairs, emergency services,
state courts, schools, garbage collections, and other municipal services.
Payment of state and local taxes by undocumented immigrants are highest in states with the largest populations, such as Texas, California, and New York. Estimates indicate that the state of Texas alone collected $1.6 billion in state and local taxes from undocumented immigrants in 2014. As a result, the federal government’s insistence on curtailing both legal and illegal immigration could be quite costly to individual states. The loss of undocumented immigrants, then, would be unlikely to result in financial savings to states. In many states, including in Texas, the absence of undocumented immigrants could result in the loss of billions of dollars in state and local tax revenue. Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop the strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.
According to a recent Newsweek article, several immigration advocacy groups
have accused U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of detaining an
“alarming” number of infants at the South Texas Family Residential Center in
Dilley, Texas. The groups also claim that ICE is failing to provide the legally
required level of care for these infants.
Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Catholic
Legal Immigration Network all demanded that the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) intervene immediately in the situation and release those
families being held in federal custody. In particular, the advocates point to
the lack of specialized medical care for these infants in the detention
facility, citing lengthy delays in treatment and insufficient follow-up care. The
lack of adequate medical care is exacerbated by the fact that Dilley is located
in a rural area that it is more than one hour’s drive from San Antonio, which
is the nearest metropolitan area with the required specialized medical care.
advocates noted that the DHS advisory committee on residential facilities,
along with other medical and mental health experts, repeatedly have focused on
the adverse effects of even brief detention on very young infants. Detained
mothers have complained of abrupt changes in their infants’ formula, weight
loss, difficulties feeding and sleeping, and other behavioral problems that
continue to go unaddressed.
An ICE spokesperson indicated that ICE was looking into the matter, but that the agency was committed to providing the necessary care for all detainees, including infants. The spokesperson also stated that ICE spends more than $250 million annually to meet the healthcare needs of detained immigrants and ensures that all detainees have comprehensive medical care, including 24-hour emergency medical care. Our Texas immigration lawyers are here to offer you the experienced legal representation and advice that you need in order to resolve your immigration law matter. We can act as your guide through the complicated immigration process to obtain the relief that you are seeking. Call our office today and learn about the type of assistance we can offer you.
The American Immigration Council (AIC) recently received the
results of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Executive
Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which concerned the federal government’s
comprehensive plan to reduce the staggering immigration court case backlog. The
AIC’s analysis of the government plan, unfortunately, has led it to conclude
that rather than increasing the efficiency of the immigration court system, the
plan is to fundamentally alter the immigration system.
Pointing to the policies that the Trump administration
already has put into place to drastically speed up deportations, the AIC claims
that much of the comprehensive plan is designed to achieve the same goal. Some of
the examples of the government’s focus on hastening the deportation process include
the imposition of annual caseload quotas on immigration judges and the
placement of limits on the ability of judges to continue and administratively
close cases. The AIC also pointed to various opinions issued by former U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and EOIR policy changes that further limit the
independence of immigration judges, as well as directives that curb the ability
of individuals to seek continuances in order to retain legal counsel.
The AIC further pointed out that the federal government partially redacted the version of the plan that it received, even though it is a final agency document signed by the Deputy Attorney General. As these documents normally would be public, the AIC found it curious that the Trump administration would redact any portion of the plan. Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration law matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.
U.S. Supreme Court decision has cast doubt on the nationwide practice of local
law enforcement agencies seizing private property of citizens that is allegedly
associated with criminal activity. Civil asset forfeiture, while allows law
enforcement officers to take cash and other property from individuals, even if
the individuals never are convicted of a crime or ever face criminal charges. Once
law enforcement seizes these assets, owners of the property must take legal
action to get their property back; in many cases, the property owners never
regain their property.
Court unanimously ruled that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
which bans excessive fines, applies not only to federal government agencies,
but also to state government agencies. As a result, local courts nationwide who
are considering the constitutionality of civil forfeiture now must determine
whether the seizure of a particular asset is excessive or highly
disproportionate to the criminal activity in which it was allegedly involved.
civil forfeiture have long accused law enforcement officials of utilizing it as
a mechanism to obtain revenue at the expensive of the public. Justice Ginsburg
highlighted this criticism in her decision, identifying civil forfeiture as a
source of revenue as opposed to mean of punishing criminal activity.
The recent Supreme Court ruling stemmed from the case of Tyson Timbs, an Indiana man who pled guilty to selling $225 worth of heroin to undercover police officers. Law enforcement officials then seized Timbs’ $42,000 Land Rover, which Justice Ginsburg noted was worth more than four times more the maximum fine of $10,000 that Timbs could have faced for his criminal offense. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled against Timbs. If you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.
recently declared a national emergency to justify the shifting of billions of dollars
from other budget items to build a border wall to block immigrants from
entering the country via the U.S.-Mexican border. In response, a bipartisan
group of 58 former U.S. government national security officials have signed a joint declaration to directly refute the President’s
In part, the joint
declaration states that although the signees fully support the power of the
Executive Branch to mobilize funds in response to genuine national emergencies,
they believe that there is no evidence to justify the declaration of a national
emergency in this instance. As a result, they do not believe that the President
is entitled to utilize funds to build a border wall that Congress specifically
has allocated for other purposes.
According to these
former government security officials, current statistics show that there is no
national emergency currently taking place at the country’s southern border with
Mexico. Rather, the officials point to various statistics and facts that point
to the opposite conclusion, such as the following:
border crossings are at a 40-year low.
are no documented terrorist, national security, violent crime, human
trafficking, or drug trafficking emergencies at the southern border.
funds for a nonexistent emergency will undermine U.S. national security and
foreign policy interests.
lack of justification for the diversion of funds is an attempt to circumvent
the congressional appropriations process.
a national emergency will only exacerbate existing humanitarian concerns at the
is no need for either armed forces or a wall at the southern border.
immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking
any type of relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine
the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options,
and help you decide the best course of action for your case. It is our intention
to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our
Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you
through this complicated situation.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued
its decision in Moore v. Texas, which halted the planned execution of an
intellectually disabled man in the state of Texas. In keeping with its
precedent, the high Court ruled in this case that the state of Texas’s proposed
execution of Moore was unlawful due to his intellectual disabilities. The Court
reversed the lower state court ruling and found that Moore was ineligible for
In its decision, the Court discounted
the Texas court’s method of measuring intellectual disability. The state had
relied on assessments concerning the man’s ability to lie and his leadership
abilities, neither of which are clinically accepted methods of assessing
intellectual disabilities. Rather, these assessments are extremely limited and
rely on stereotypes about disabled persons in general. Texas also relied on IQ
testing as a measure of intellectual disability, which also is a deeply flawed
methodology for measuring intellectual disability. The decision, authored by
Justice Ginsburg, specifically attacked the methodologies utilized by the Texas
courts in determining the man to be fit for execution.
The state of Texas has been attempting
to execute Moore since 1980, when he was sentenced to death for his role in the
robbery of a grocery store that led to a clerk’s death. The Texas Court of
Appeals previously determined that Moore was not intellectually disabled due to
his ability to mow the lawn, steal food, and use basic math. In 2017, the U.S.
Supreme Court disagreed, and remanded the case back to the Texas court to assess
the man’s intellectual capacity based on medical or clinical expertise, rather
than subjective criteria based on a character in a John Steinbeck novel that
the state court cited in its decision.
After Texas still determined that
Moore was eligible for execution, the Supreme Court finally stepped in and
ruled otherwise. Of particular note was the fact that the Texas court solicited
the opinions of five experts in measuring Moore’s intellect. Four of the five
experts believe that Moore was intellectually disabled. The fifth expert
disagreed, and the Texas court ultimately adopted the findings of the fifth
expert, despite the opinions of the other four experts to the contrary.
The criminal defense lawyers of Peek
& Toland have handled the legal defense of countless
individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights
and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your
case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our
criminal defense attorneys today.
State lawmakers have
turned their focus in part to state jails, which they originally created 25
years ago in hopes of rehabilitating some occupants, such as low-level drug
offenders, and keeping them out of prisons housing violent offenders.
Unfortunately, state jails largely have failed in this respect, offering very
few services, housing more serious offenders while en route to prison, and producing
offenders who are more likely to reoffend than those offenders placed in the
state’s general prison population.
After the results of
a comprehensive study of the state jail system prior to this legislative
session, which pronounced the system to be a “total failure,” lawmakers have
prioritized the expansion of local pretrial and
instead. These efforts would focus on rehabilitative substance abuse and mental
health treatment. To that end, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has
requested $8 million in additional funds to address those needs as part of its
2020-21 funding request.
In fiscal year 2016,
less than one-half of one percent of the total state jail population was
released on probation or community supervision. This means that after spending
an average of nine months in state jail, which is long enough to lose jobs,
housing, and family relationships, but not long enough to complete effective
treatment through the few services offered in state jails, individuals receive
no services because they are not placed on any kind of probation. As a result,
the re-arrest rate for these offenders is 63%, which is much higher than the
45% re-arrest rate for offenders released from prison statewide.
The legislative study
of the issue identified many different potential solutions to these problems.
For instance, some suggested abolishing the “12.44” provision, which is a
provision in the Texas Penal Code that allows judges to sentence individuals
convicted of state jail felonies to less than the 180-day minimum or drop the
charges to a misdemeanor. As a practical result, this allows many offenders to
serve far shorter sentences on a pretrial basis in county jails, so that they
never go to state jail, or do not go long enough to receive any meaningful
amount of services. Other suggestions included expanding nondisclosure laws
that seal criminal records and adjusting the requirements of probation to be
more effective and less onerous.
you or a family member is facing any type of criminal charges, we may be able
to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge
needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment
with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.
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