All posts by MJDEditor

Trump’s Immigration Order is Affecting International Students

student in fencing, immigrationPresident Trump’s immigration order is affecting international students from countries around the world. Nearly a million international students attend American universities, with numbers continuing to rise. These students contribute to the U.S. economy, and universities across the nation are speaking out against the ban.

Students From Iran Are Most Affected

Nearly 16,000 students were prohibited from entering or re-entering the U.S. in January. The countries affected were:

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Sudan

Over 11,000 of the students were from Iran. The immigration ban once again challenges the already fragile relationship between Iran and the U.S. Immigrant students from these countries should speak to an immigration lawyer in Chicago before attempting to travel.

Financial Costs to Universities Because of Travel Ban

U.S. schools are expected to lose around $500 million because of the travel ban, assuming an average tuition of $33,500 for each of the 16,000 students turned away. In addition, international students contribute over $30 billion to the U.S. economy by purchasing housing, food, utilities, clothing, etc.

Many research universities are panicking because foreign workers are fueling the growth in STEM sectors (science, technology, engineering, and math). International students are increasingly specializing in STEM areas, and when these students are prohibited from studying and working, research will suffer. An immigration lawyer in Chicago can answer questions for students who face uncertainty regarding status.

Universities Are Fighting Back in Support of Students

Universities have united against the Trump administration, releasing statements that reject the blanket ban on immigration solely because of geography. Columbia University, the University of Notre Dame, and Wesleyan are among the institutions that have recently published statements in support of international students. The University of Michigan announced that the school would not share the immigration status of its students with the government. Students who have questions about the travel ban should contact an immigration lawyer in Chicago before leaving the United States.

Awkward Cultural Moments Nothing New for Trump

In November of 2016, Trump made comments to Steve Bannon about making sure that international students would be able to study in the U.S. Bannon’s answer was not promising for international students, as he remarked that most of the CEOs in Silicon Valley were from South Asia or Asia.

In 2015, Harvard student Joseph Choe asked Trump a question about South Korea. Trump interrupted the question and asked if Choe was from South Korea. Choe replied that he was born in Texas. The audience laughed, and Choe’s question remained unanswered.

https://psmag.com/trumps-immigration-order-is-a-major-blow-to-american-universities-8cf19abc1c6b#.djckzsiwr

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/15/448718726/south-korea-trumps-where-are-you-from-moment

How is the Immigration Crackdown Affecting Public Safety?

iron net with an American flag, DeportationPresident Trump’s recent crackdown on immigrants has already begun to affect the safety of the American public, and this is just the beginning. Although the immigration crackdown was intended to remove crime-committing immigrants from the U.S., it has begun to affect other types of criminal cases in numerous ways. According to a recent report published by Business Insider, by ramping up deportations- even in sanctuary cities, prosecutors across the United States say that the Trump Administration is forcing undocumented immigrants to do everything they can to avoid law enforcement. Unfortunately, the fear and distrust that has developed throughout the nation is causing these immigrants to decline to testify in criminal cases and even refuse to report crimes.

Deportation Fears Spread Throughout the U.S.

Recently cases of refusal to report or testify for criminal cases have popped up all over the country.

  • In Denver, four undocumented immigrant women refused to cooperate in domestic battery cases because of their fear of deportation.
  • In Austin, Texas, at least one other woman has refused to pursue a domestic violence case because of her fear of being seen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. In other areas of Texas, immigration fears led three other victims to withdraw their charges. And El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal has reported a disturbing 12 percent drop in victims seeking protective orders not long after an unauthorized immigrant was arrested at a courthouse where she was attempting to obtain a protective order.
  • Authorities in Los Angeles have reported a drop of 25 percent in Latino-reported sexual assault cases and a 10 percent drop in domestic violence reports.
  • Chicago, which is a sanctuary city that refuses to comply with ICE requests, has fallen under particular scrutiny, but continues to maintain that the city’s law enforcement officials must build relationships based on trust in order to solve crimes within the community.

Without witnesses and victims to come forward and report crimes or testify against offenders, charges are often dismissed. This results in violent perpetrators never having to suffer consequences for their actions, and as they go free, America’s streets become more dangerous than ever. Unfortunately, sanctuary cities throughout the country who refuse to honor ICE detainer requests continue to be shamed publicly. In the past, however, federal judges have ruled that localities are not in any way obligated to honor such requests as they are not legally binding.

House of Representatives Considers H-1B Changes

Diagram House of Representatives, H1B visa changesCalifornia Representatives Darrell Issa and Scott Peters have proposed changing the requirements for H-1B visas. Most notably, the proposals included within the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” would raise the salary threshold companies would be required to pay foreign workers within the program.

Under current rules, companies must pay foreign workers within the program a minimum of $60,000 per year. Issa’s and Peters’ proposal would raise that threshold to $100,000 per year. It would also eliminate the exemption for those individuals who hold a Master’s Degree.

It is the legislators’ belief that the changes proposed within the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” will reduce abuse of the H-1B system while at the same time raising the salary standards for foreign workers who secure employment through the program. The changes were proposed after high-profile companies including Disney and SoCal Edison were found to have laid off American staff and filled their positions with foreign workers whom they paid less than their American counterparts.

Ostensibly, such a change would help protect the income of workers whose salaries should be above the proposed threshold. However, this change would also make it difficult for companies to fill positions between the existing and proposed threshold with foreign workers through the H-1B program.

Issa and Peters proposed Master’s Degree exemption is intended to address concerns over degree fraud. Critics of the existing exemption claim that foreign workers are obtaining degrees of questionable veracity in order to qualify for the exemption. However, evidence supporting these claims is lacking and does not show serious deficiencies in the quality of Master’s degrees obtained by foreign workers. Removing the Master’s Degree exemption which currently grants up to 20,000 workers visas each year will decrease the number of foreign workers who will be able to obtain an H-1B visa as they will have to compete for spots within the existing cap of 65,000.

As the legislative year begins, it is clear that immigration reform is going to be a front-page topic throughout 2017. As such, those currently living and working in the US via any of the existing visa programs should pay close attention to any changes that can affect them, their employer, or their family. Moreover, those who are considering applying for a visa to the United States should speak with a Chicago immigration lawyer and seek guidance navigating the application and approval process.

How Immigration Affects the U.S. Economy

Image of economy chart, immigration benefitsIn the current political environment, immigrants are facing a considerable amount of negative backlash. With the possible rollback or elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly calls the DACA Program, the financial consequences could be costly. According to calculations at the CATO Institute, the deportation of 750,000 will cost in excess of $60 billion. They also estimated that in addition to this substantial financial cost, the loss of these immigrants would cost approximately $280 billion in economic growth between now and 2027.

Immigration has been part of the foundation of the United States. While immigrants have certainly been discouraged over the country’s history, with different places and eras being particularly opposed to certain nationalities, the truth is that immigration has benefited the economy.

Financial Benefits

The US benefits from the arrival of immigrants as much as immigrants benefit from being in the country. One of the failings of the recently re-introduced H-1B visa bill is that it fails to account for those benefits. The focus has been on how much immigrants cost the US, but ideology fails to account for the economic benefits that usually outweigh the costs.

With the assistance of DACA, immigrants were able to find jobs, earn raises, and pay taxes. They are more likely to start new businesses, as well as file patents, at a rate much higher than Americans. According to The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, the second generation American (the child of an immigrant) provides a net positive growth.

Other Economic Growth

One of the greatest economic benefits from the continuously changing social and cultural norms is innovation. The US has been one of the leaders of innovation and technology for nearly the last 100 years.

With globalization, the ability to innovate is what makes countries competitive on a large scale. Some of the biggest names in technology are first, second, and third generation immigrants. Immigration helps innovation by bringing in new ideas and ways of accomplishing tasks. It also lowers the cost of doing business. It creates new jobs and encourages development that is less prevalent in countries that have stagnant ideas.

Immigrants face a range of problems, both socially and legally, that require careful consideration. An immigration lawyer can help those in need to understand the laws and their rights, from visas to family matters. As politicians consider changing the laws regarding immigration, it is important to consult an immigration lawyer about current requirements and possible changes.

Proposed Bill Targets H-1B Visas

 

Two passports with a stamp, H1B visaOn January 4, 2017, United States Representative Darrell Issa reintroduced a very controversial H-1B visa reform bill that, if passed, will make significant changes to the existing program. The bill, commonly known as the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, was initially introduced in July of 2016. It faced strong opposition and criticism in Congress. With President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to reshape immigration in the U.S., and his focus on the H-1B program specifically, the bill is expected to be a hot issue in the coming year.

The bill comes after a variety of companies including Disney, Southern California Edison and others allegedly used the H-1B visa program to hire foreign workers instead of attempting to fill positions with the existing workforce. According to Rep. Darrel Issa and co-sponsoring Rep. Scott Peters, both of California, the bill will help reduce the number of companies that are guilty of abusing the program by employing less expensive immigrant workers who do not have exceptional training or skills. Representative Zoe Lofgren, also of California, disagrees. According to Lofgren, the bill does nothing to prevent outsourcing and will simply encourage companies who abuse the visa program to concentrate on higher paying jobs.

Understanding the H-1B Visa Program

The H-1B visa program was initially designed to help American companies maintain a competitive workforce by employing highly trained foreign workers in positions that could not be filled by the existing workforce. Beneficial to both immigrants and the American economy, the program has brought innovation and expertise to science, engineering, math and technology industries.

Unfortunately, critics of the program say that many immigrant workers are severely underpaid which pushes down the wages of American workers in these fields. Under the new proposal, the minimum annual wage for H-1B visa holders would rise from just $60,000 per year to $100,000 per year.

Another concern that is targeted by the H-1B reform bill is importing workers who are not truly qualified for the positions they are brought to fill. With some foreign workers obtaining low-quality certificates in an attempt to qualify for exemptions, many positions are not left open for immigrants who are truly highly-skilled. Issa claims that by eliminating the master’s degree exemption, the legislation would cut down on abuse of the H-1B visa program. According to supporters, the bill will help ensure that the most talented foreign workers throughout the world have the opportunity to work in the United States.