immigration lawyers

Immigration Lawyers’ Convention Leaves Texas over Controversial Sanctuary Cities Law

By Peek & Toland on December 19, 2017

Senate Bill 4, a controversial anti-sanctuary cities law signed by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott this summer has led an immigration lawyers’ convention to boycott the state.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association was planning to hold a three-day event in Grapevine, Texas. The AILA Grapevine conference was booked years ago, and could face financial penalties for pulling out.

However, the immigration lawyers’ convention was pulled in protest at what it termed “dangerous, destructive and counterproductive proposals” contrary to the group’s mission. About 3,000 people were meant to attend the convention in Grapevine.

Immigration lawyers’ convention boycotts Texas

Immigration lawyers’ convention pulls out of Texas

The association has 15,000 members. It comprises law professors and attorneys. The convention was held outside Texas in protest at Senate Bill 4, a contentious measure meant to crack down on sanctuary cities, the Texas Tribune reported.

AILA president Bill Stock told reporters during a conference many members felt unwilling to bring themselves or their families to Texas because of the legislation.

Stock said:

“Our members are U.S. citizens and green card holders, but many of them come from ethnic communities where they felt that they [would] being unfairly targeted.”

SB 4, a measure held up by the courts, has been criticized as a discriminatory measure by its opponents. It allows law enforcement officials to question the immigration status of people legally arrested or detained.

It also brings criminal sanctions against city and law enforcement officers who fail to honor detainer requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the legislation in May, and it was scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 1. However, a federal judge held up key provisions.

A group of Texas cities joined forces to oppose the measure in the courts. They include Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso and El Cenizo and El Paso and Maverick counties.

Abbott and his supports say the measure is necessary to make Texas safer and crack down on illegal immigration. Opponents say its language is wide enough to lead to racial profiling and other discriminatory practices.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a suit against the bill on behalf of San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldaña and three nonprofit groups: La Unión Del Pueblo Entero, the Worker’s Defense Project and the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education.

The American Civil Liberties Union has warned its members against traveling to Texas over the new legislation.

If you feel you have been unfairly questioned about your immigration status or are in a deportation action, please call our Austin immigration lawyers today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Extreme Vetting Fears Lead to Upsurge in Calls To Texas Immigration Lawyers

By Peek & Toland on March 28, 2017

Under Donald Trump’s presidency, more immigrants fear “extreme vetting.” In turn, it has led to an increase in calls to immigration lawyers.

A report in the Washington Post noted the trend. The fear is not restricted to undocumented immigrants. Green card holders are desperately eyeing citizenship to allay their fears of deportation and permanent residents who are Muslims fear “extreme vetting.”

The concerns were apparent before the controversial immigration executive order in January that banned arrivals from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 60 days. Even green card holders from those countries faced extreme vetting.

The article also highlighted the case of a Hispanic couple in the Washington suburbs. One of them is in the country legally, the other is not. They are weighing up whether to apply for a provisional waiver. The undocumented spouse faces being stuck south of the border if the waiver request is denied.

immigration lawyers receive more calls over extreme vetting

the increase in extreme vetting led to more calls to immigration lawyers

The Post noted how immigration lawyers say they have seen a surge in consultations, contact from immigrants and clients since Trump’s success on Election Day. The success of the anti-immigration candidate has alarmed arrivals in the United States. Texas immigration lawyers experienced a similar trend.

Immigrants fear many of Trump’s policies, including:

  1. The plan to create a “deportation task force.”
  2. The “extreme vetting” of immigrants from Muslim countries.
  3. The prospect of the 90-day immigration bans from seven counties being extended.
  4. Beneficiaries of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who fear their applications won’t be renewed.

The “extreme vetting policy” has parallels with the period after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Muslims came under intense scrutiny.

The Post spoke to Joung E. Lee, who chairs the D.C. chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Her group’s members saw a 20 to 25 percent increase in calls and requests for consultations since the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Texas Immigration Lawyers Can Help

An article in The Atlantic said some immigration lawyer have seen a ten-fold increase in calls since the election.

The lack of clarity in Trump’s immigration policies has not helped, leading to more uncertainty among immigrants. Trump threatened to deport millions of undocumented immigrants during the election campaign. More recently he said only undocumented immigrants with criminal records will be deported.

The Atlantic pointed out that Trump’s rhetoric about walls and religious bans has added to the anxiety felt by immigrants.

It’s sometimes forgotten that Obama was nicknamed the “deporter in chief.” He removed more than 2 million immigrants, more than all of the 20th Century presidents combined.

However, deportations slowed in the last four years of Obama’s term and he introduced immigration reforms to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to work in the United States. The bulk of his immigration reform was stymied in a deadlock in the Supreme Court last year.

We are well aware of the anxiety felt by immigrant families in Texas. We can offer concrete help and reassurance to immigrant families. See our success stories here. Call us for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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H-1B Visa Lawyer Advice on the Future of the Program

By Peek & Toland on February 2, 2017

President Donald Trump’s stance on H-1B visas remains unclear but there are plenty of indications the program will be restricted. In this blog our H-1B visa lawyer looks at some of the possibilities.

The H-1B visa program is likely to be undermined by Trump’s insistence that American workers are offered jobs first and his view that companies are using the H1-B visa program to bring over skilled workers and pay them less than Americans.

Many of the big tech companies have denied this. They point to a local skills shortage in some key areas. The H-1B visa program is used to bring over people with the right skill sets, particularly from countries like India.

An H1-B visa lawyer can help with your application

Trump’s harshest comments on these visas were made in March 2016. He said.

“I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”

Although these comments do not seem ambiguous business leaders have pointed to some evidence of Trump flip-flopping over H-1B visas. Our H-1B visa lawyer has some questions about how the program would be restricted.

The Washington Post accused Trump of changing his position on these non-immigrant temporary visas.

However, even if H1-B visas survive, change is likely. Trump has spoken of raising the wages associated with the visas and adding a recruitment requirement on firms to seek out American workers before hiring foreign ones.

Talk to An H-1B Visa Lawyer if You Are Seeking Indian Workers

An article in QZ.com pointed out Indian workers are likely to be hit the hardest by changes to the H1-B visa.

Over the last couple of years, Indians have been the recipients of the highest number of these skilled visas that allow foreigners to work full-time in the United States for up to six years.

Inevitably, supply outpaces demand for H-1B visas. An H-1B visa lawyer can help you with your application and ensure you don’t make any mistakes that will impede you before you enter the visa lottery in the spring.

Of course, there is no guarantee of success in the lottery. Last year the visa cap of 65,000 was hit in just a week. Given the likely future restrictions to the program, it’s vital that you get your application prepared as soon as possible.

Our visa lawyers can help you in this respect. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 or contact us here.

Posted in Immigration, Visas

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