Donald Trump

Does Trump’s ‘Hire American’ Executive Order Impact Immigration Law?

By Peek & Toland on September 21, 2017

In April, President Donald Trump issued his Hire American immigration order. The order issued on April 18 was called Buy American and Hire American.

Although the executive order does not directly impact immigration law, it could have a longer term impact.

The order mandates a number of executive agencies to propose new rules and issue new guidance “to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system.”

Trump's Hire American policy may impact immigration law

It also provides more details of the concepts of buying and hiring American.

The Definition of Hire American in Trump’s Executive Orders

The order is intended to create higher wages and boost employment rates for workers in the United States. It claims to protect their economic interests. It says the executive branch must rigorously enforce and administer the laws relating to entry into the United States of workers from foreign countries, including section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and the Nationality Act.

Under the order agencies must issue guidance on hiring and buying American within 60 days of the date of the order. The officials and agencies asked to collaborate on guidance are.

  • The Secretary of Labor;
  • The United States Trade Representative;
  • The Secretary of Commerce;
  • The Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
  • The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council.

Within 150 days of the date of this order, the United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Commerce will assess the impacts of all United States free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreement on what the government should buy and the operation of Buy American Laws. This includes their impacts on the implementation of domestic procurement policies.

Trumps’ executive order is relevant from the immigration standpoint due to the review of H-1B visas.

The order calls for a review of these skilled worker visas which allow 85,000 people from abroad – mostly computer workers – to apply.

In a recent article, The New Yorker branded Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order as hollow and lacking in real provisions.

It said the rhetorical significance of the H-1B provisions were more important than the actual provisions.

The unemployment rate for computer and mathematical occupations is just over 2 percent, meaning there is little prospect of American workers being deprived of a job. The number of jobs in these fields is growing by about 12 percent every year.

The executive order may force firms to pay more for H-1B visas and result in a crackdown on outsourcing, we point out on our website.

However, for now the questions outweigh the certainties about the immigration order. If you require the services of an Austin immigration lawyer, please call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Visas

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Police Chiefs Object to Trump’s Plan to Enlist Officers in Deportation Actions

By Peek & Toland on July 11, 2017

The vigorous approach of the Trump administration in deporting undocumented immigrants is under fire from an unlikely source. A group of police chiefs is objecting to Trump’s plan to enlist their officers in deportation actions.

An article in The Guardian referred to a joint letter signed by more than 60 police chiefs. It appeals to Trump to retreat on his pledge enlist police officers to deport millions of unlawful immigrants.

The police chiefs of four major Texas cities – Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas are among the signatories.

The officers warn helping to enforce immigration law threatens to harm locally-based, community-oriented policing.

Police have reservations about helping Trump's deportation actions

Police chiefs raise concerns at Trump’s deportation actions

The letter was signed by 61 current and former local police chiefs and sheriffs. Many of them come from southern Republican states including Texas, Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Florida.

The letter was penned under the auspices of the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force. It’s a coalition of senior law enforcement experts gathered together by the National Immigration Forum.

President Trump is not mentioned by name but the letter references his administration’s policies of forcing police to play a more central role in deportation actions.

One of Trump’s first executive orders saw the overturning of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which was put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama, reported the Guardian.

The PEP entailed the creation of customized agreements between the federal government and local law enforcement jurisdictions related to joint working. Immigration agents focused on rounding up and deporting undocumented immigrants who committed serious violent crimes.

It replaced a previous policy that also targeted those with minor offenses or no criminal records at all.

Some police chiefs like Charlie Beck, who has led the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) since 2009, have flatly opposed Trump’s moves to use local police forces as adjuncts to federal immigration agents

Austin in Texas has been leading the fight against immigration holds. When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers believe a defendant in a jail may be an undocumented immigrant a detainer request is made to local authorities to hold the individual. Austin is opposing these hold requests unless the immigrant has committed a serious crime like a homicide.

Nationally, 16 states including Texas declined 206 detainer requests from Jan. 28 and Feb. 3, stated the DHS’ Declined Detainer Outcome Report.

A report in Courthouse News said Travis County, which includes Austin, accounted for more than two-thirds of the refusals: 142 in total.

Deportation actions are often emotive and break up families. If they lose a breadwinner, they may no longer be able to function as a family unit.

At Peek & Toland , we are committed to keeping families together and have fought numerous cancellation of removal actions. Call us at (512) 474-4445.


Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration Reform

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How Can An international Business Prepare for a Trump Presidency?

By Peek & Toland on January 24, 2017

Although there are many uncertainties about Donald Trump’s presidency, one certainty is it won’t be business as usual. The election shock has raised the question of how an international business can prepare for a president who has expressed opposition to free trade.

As long ago as June 2016, Forbes was urging international businesses to prepare for a Trump presidency, even though the Republican was trailing in the opinion polls.

Trump had already warned some companies of the dire potential consequences of exporting jobs or investment.

He described Ford Motor’s decision to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico as an “absolute disgrace,” saying it would never have happened under a Trump presidency. He also threatened a 35 percent tariff on Ford’s Mexican exports to the United States, a move that would have required the repeal of NAFTA.

The Carrier air conditioning plant was threatened with tariffs for moving production out of Indiana to Mexico. Trump later claimed to have saved hundreds of jobs at Carrier in the United States by offering a $16 million investment in the Indiana factory, even before he became president.

An international business must assess risks under Trump

An international business should make changes

Forbes said international companies should adopt a “risk management approach” that will examine potential scenarios under the Trump presidency.

The agenda should be integrated in terms of public communications and government relations initiatives. Research and analysis should look at predictable impacts. These could include:

1 Implications for immigrant workers;

2 Punitive taxes;

3 Changes to trade agreements and international trade;

4 selective antitrust actions.

There are some major concerns about how an international business can adapt to Trump’s anti-immigration stance.

Many in the tech industry are concerned that the new president will kill the H-1B visa system. Companies like Microsoft and Apple rely on thousands of tech-savvy workers from countries like India.

Executives who rely on the H-1B program say it allows them to hire workers with specialized skill sets that they cannot find locally. Opponents complain that the system allows companies to overlook capable American workers in favor of foreign ones who cost less.

What An International Business Can Do Under Trump?

An international business must look carefully at its future skills needs and how to cope with the curtailment of a program.

Trump flip-flopped on H-1B visas as noted by the Washington Post. The inconsistency presents a challenge in itself.

It’s certainly prudent for businesses to prepare for change. For instance, Trump previously proposed increasing the prevailing wage for H-1B visas and adding a recruitment requirement that companies must try to find American workers before hiring foreign ones.

You can find out more about H-1B temporary visas for skilled workers here on our website.

Companies that are not using E-Verify to check the immigration status for immigrants would be wise to look into it.

About 650,000 employers are currently enrolled in E-Verify, It’s unlikely to be a voluntary system any longer. In a 2016 position paper on immigration, Trump said he would mandate E-Verify across the country. He said the move would “protect jobs for American workers.”

Although Trump’s unpredictability has been a trademark of his path to the presidency, the broad direction of his changes is clear. As an international business, you should anticipate the changes now and make contingencies.

As a family and corporate immigration law firm, we can help you adapt to changes. Call us today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration

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The Key Questions in Donald Trump’s Immigration Reforms

By Peek & Toland on October 28, 2016

They caused an outcry, but we thought we knew where we stood with Donald Trump’s immigration reforms when he wanted to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to build a wall.

But in recent weeks a lack of clarity in the Republican nominee for president’s stance on immigration and rumors of backtracking have led to questions over his proposed immigration reforms.

A CNN report said Trump is facing flak from moderate voters who see his past rhetoric on immigration as racist. At the same time, he wants to appease his conservative base by taking a hard line on immigration.

Donald Trump's immigration reforms are unclear

The net result is a lack of clarity. It’s something that concerns our Austin immigration attorneys who have explored reforms to the system on our website.

Are Trump’s Immigration Reforms Narrowing?

CNN noted an apparent narrowing of the scope of the immigration reforms from Trump. It suggests he might be rethinking the hardline policy that he made his name for in the primaries.

However, there is a worrying lack of specifics. Trump’s stance led to claims he is being deliberately vague to avoid alienating voters.

Trump was asked about the plans to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. He deflected the question and said he wants to swiftly remove criminal immigrants from the United States.

Meanwhile, a senior campaign advisor has said there will be a conversation on what to do with undocumented immigrants after the border is secured. Trump would concentrate on the wall plan before deportation but his immigration reforms are clouded.

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, acknowledged Trump had made a shift over immigration but was unable to give much clarity over the deportation issue.

Previously, Trump has cited the example of “Operation Wetback” in 1954. President Dwight Eisenhower’s government rounded up thousands of undocumented immigrants from ranches and fields. They were transported to detention centers and sent them back to Mexico.

In a previous blog, we have noted how an initiative to round up 11 million undocumented immigrants would pose massive logistical difficulties. Deportations peaked at about 400,000 annually in the most active year. Removing 11 million people would be unprecedented. Experts have warned locating the immigrants alone would be almost impossible. Police officers would be required to ask for proof of residency or citizenship during random traffic stops or other stops. Critics believe this scenario would curtail civil liberties.

If you need help with a pressing immigration matter or are facing possible deportation, contact our Austin immigration lawyers as soon as possible.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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Presidential Election Spurs Race to Citizenship

By Peek & Toland on June 6, 2016

The 2016 Presidential election is acting as a spur for tens of thousands of immigrants to rush to seek citizenship, according to the latest figures on naturalization.

Seeking citizenship can be a long and complex process, we explain on our Texas immigration attorneys’ website.

The New York Post reported many of the immigrants “fear being shipped out” if Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner ends up becoming President, sparking the rush to naturalization. They also want to vote in the election.

The Presidential race sparks a spike in citizenship applications

The Presidential election is spurring new citizenship applications

Associated Press reported on how naturalization applications increased by 14 percent in the second half of 2015 compared to the same period in the previous year. It coincided with the period that Trump built up a commanding lead in the GOP primaries.

The New York Post quoted Maria Ponce of iAmerica Action, a national immigrant rights group who said “fear” of a Trump Presidency was the driving factor behind the surge toward naturalization.

Mass deportation is a major platform of Trump’s campaign. He has pledged to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to deter illegal immigration.

The Post reported there about 9 million green-card holders in the United States who are eligible to become U.S. citizens. Around 4 million of them are from Hispanic backgrounds.

The process to become a U.S. Citizen can be a complex one and there are inherent dangers in rushing it. There are a number of routes to citizenship. Naturalization is one of the most common ones. An immigrant must be 18 or older, a permanent resident, of good morals, and have a basic grounding in the history and government of the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sets out the requirements in further detail in its policy manual.

Legal permanent residents can apply to become U.S. citizens if they’ve been in the United States for five years, complete a 21-page application form, submit to finger printing, pass an English and Civics test and pay $700 in fees.

The complexity of the process means people who only embarked on the citizenship process in the last few weeks, may not make it in time to vote in November’s presidential election.

Our firm can help you in the citizenship process. Our lawyers are experienced at applying the laws of citizenship to applicants and in helping to answer questions about good moral character, citizenship through parents or failed applications.

At Peek & Toland, we are ready to answer any questions or concerns you have regarding your eligibility for citizenship and to help you with the complexities of the process. To speak to a representative, call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Citizenship

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