Immigrant Businesses Fear Workers Shortage May Get Worse

By Peek & Toland on March 8, 2017

Immigration was frequently couched in negative terms during last year’s presidential campaign. However, immigrant businesses pour billions of dollars into the US economy. Many of them are fearful after the election of Donald Trump as president, according to reports.

A recent report in Marketplace noted Trump’s anti-immigration stance helped pave his road to the White House.

It pointed out that immigrants made up a fifth of all entrepreneurs in the U.S. in 2014 and generated more than $65 billion in business activity.

Concerns of a lack of workers hit immigrant businesses

Immigrant businesses fear a worker shortage

The figures came in a study from The Partnership for a New American Economy. Even undocumented workers are a massive boost to the economy of Texas, studies state.

The Marketplace article quoted Mansoor Eskandari who operates a construction business in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

Immigrant Businesses that Employ Muslims Fear Worker Shortage

He was shocked and concerned by the election of Trump. He’s an Iranian immigrant who moved to the United States in the 1980s. As a Muslim, he has more reasons than most immigrants to be fearful of the Trump administration. He described himself as being in “double jeopardy.”

Immigrant businesses fear a negative impact from Trump policies. Eskandari hires immigrants for construction projects because it can be difficult to find local workers. He already experiences shortages. He fears the issue could be exacerbated under the Trump administration as more immigrants are deported.

Another business owner quoted in the story was Romy Khouraki, the owner of Altayebat Market, in Anaheim, CA. His business is found in an area dubbed Little Arabia. Khouraki fears anti-Islamic policies could harm the neighborhood and deprive businesses of workers.

Big business has also warned that the immigration crackdown could harm the economy. Many fear that Trump will curtail the H1-B visa system that allows companies to bring temporary skilled workers to the United States from abroad.

However, Trump’s stance on these visas that are a mainstay of the tech industry has been contradictory. He initially said he opposed H-1B visas for high-skilled immigrants, but then backtracked on his statements.

Sectors such as the hospitality and hotel industry which employ many low-paid immigrants are also likely to take a hit, reports the Washington Post.

Immigrant businesses are understandably nervous about the new political climate. If you are a business owner who has a pressing immigration issue, please call our Austin immigration attorneys today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Council on American-Islamic Relations Files Lawsuit against USCIS over Long Wait for Muslims to Become Citizens

By Peek & Toland on July 12, 2016

A lawsuit recently filed by an Islamic organization in Missouri raises concerns that Muslims may be facing longer waits for citizenship because of their religion.

Thirteen Muslims from Missouri are suing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), claiming the department conspired with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to delay their claims for citizenship.

Muslims file lawsuit over citizenship waits

According to a report in Mother Jones, the lawsuit’s complaint alleges that the applications for naturalization in the United States went into a secretive Bush-era program called the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP). As part of the little-known program, immigration officials were ordered to flag applicants that they believed might pose a threat to national security.

The lawsuit was filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in May. It takes aim at the CARRP program which was uncovered by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013.

The lawsuit says the CARRP program has illegally branded “innocent, law-abiding residents,” like the 13 Muslims who, it says, pose no security threat.

How Long Have the Muslims Been Waiting?

Immigration attorneys acting for the Muslims say they have been waiting for anything from three to five years for citizenship.

The Mother Jones article highlighted the case of a 49-year-old Iraqi woman named Wafaa Alwan, who applied for citizenship at the end of 2014. She faced a wait of eight months for an interview, which eventually took place on Aug. 31, 2015. She has been waiting to hear a decision on her naturalization ever since. A Pakistani immigrant called Syed Asghar Ali, made his original application in March 2014 and has been in limbo for more than two years, the claim states.

Although the amount of time it takes to become a U.S. citizen varies from location to location, USCIS states in this recent frequently asked questions document that it is cutting wait times and it is looking to reduce processing times to six months once the initial form N-400 is filed.

It, therefore, seems suspicious that these Muslims have waited so long. It makes us wonder about the extent of the secretive CARRP program and how many other permanent residents have been caught up in it.

There are many factors that are taken into consideration in citizenship applications and the road to naturalization can be a long and winding one.

A seasoned Texas immigration lawyer could make the difference in the eventual success of your application. Peek & Toland offers experienced, bilingual legal assistance to those who wish to take the next step to becoming a United States citizen. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Citizenship

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