NEWSLETTER EXTRA: February 9, 2017

Newsletter – Immigration Update: February 9, 2017

RULING FROM 9TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS EXPECTED VERY SOON

Nawlaw is carefully monitoring the outcome of President Trump’s Executive Order now being decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California. Last Friday, a federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked President Trump’s week-old immigration Executive Order from being enforced nationwide, thereby effectively reopening America’s door to visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries, as well as lawful permanent residents (green card holders). Airlines that had been stopping travelers from boarding planes to the U.S. were then told by the government to begin allowing passengers from banned countries to board. The Justice Department then immediately filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to immediately restore President Trump’s targeted travel ban. This was rejected this past Saturday and signified that travelers from the seven predominantly Muslim nations, as well as vetted refugees from all nations could, for now, continue to enter the United States. Despite Mr. Trump’s vehement criticism of the ruling and the certainty that further litigation will loom, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have moved quickly to comply.

Prior to this decision, courts around the country have halted aspects of Mr. Trump’s temporary ban on travel from the seven countries. Previously, a California federal judge had ordered the federal government to stop enforcing portions of the Executive Order by not detaining, removing or blocking the entry of anyone from the seven countries included in the ban who have a valid immigrant visa.

The Department of Justice has filed an emergency stay of this order to defend President Trump’s Executive Order. The case is currently before a three panel of judges in the Ninth Circuit.

USCIS is currently reviewing, processing and adjudicating applications including those from the seven banned countries.

100,000 VISAS REVOKED UNDER THE TRAVEL BAN

An attorney for the Justice Department has recently asserted that more than 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of President Trump’s ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The 100,000 figure was nevertheless immediately disputed by the State Department, which said the number of visas revoked was roughly 60,000. While revoking someone’s visa without their knowledge has no immediate impact on people already in the United States, these visas will no longer be valid once these individuals leave the United States. This number was revealed during a hearing in a lawsuit by two Yemeni brothers who arrived to the U.S. after President Trump’s Executive Order was enacted. They were quickly put on a return flight to Ethiopia because of the new restrictions.

TRUMP CRITICIZES COURT AND LEGAL COMMUNITY

President Donald Trump has openly criticized the court and the presiding judge that resulted in the decision to block his January 27th Executive Order. Trump regarded Washington state’s U.S. District Judge James L. Robart a “so-called judge” and regarded his decision to halt the immigration ban as “ridiculous.” The President tweeted, “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.” This criticism has resulted in outrage from several members of the legal industry including Trump’s own pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch, who regarded the attacks on the judiciary as “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” President Trump has also criticized the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS RELEASE BILL TO SLASH IMMIGRATION LEVELS

Two Republican senators have introduced a legislation to eventually cut immigration in half by excluding the parents of U.S. citizens from being considered as “immediate relatives,” and eliminating the diversity visa program that allocates 50,000 immigrant visas randomly through a lottery system. The proposal would also restrict the number of refugees allowed to have permanent residency to 50,000 each year, a significant decrease as refugees accounted for 118,431 of those obtaining permanent residency in 2015. The bill is just one in a flurry of immigration proposals that have been unveiled in recent weeks.

SHE SHOWED UP YEARLY TO MEET IMMIGRATION AGENTS. NOW THEY’RE DEPORTING HER

As reported in the New York Times, a Mexican national who was under an “order of supervision” requiring her to report on a regular basis to ICE was taken into custody and will be sent back to Mexico. Ms. Rayos, who came to the U.S. at age 14, was working at Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, when Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies swooped in on Dec. 16, 2008, arresting her and several other employees on charges of suspicion of identity theft and using forged documents to obtain employment. The raid was one of the first ordered by Joe Arpaio, who was sheriff at the time, under an Arizona law authorizing sanctions against employers who knowingly hired undocumented immigrants.

The Obama administration made a priority of deporting people who were deemed a threat to public or national safety, had ties to criminal gangs, or had committed serious felony offenses or a series of misdemeanor crimes. Ms. Rayos did not fit any of these criteria, which is why she was allowed to stay in the United States even after a judge issued a deportation order against her in 2013. That has all changed under the Trump administration. Among the 18 executive orders that he has issued since taking office on January 20th is one stipulating that undocumented immigrants convicted of any criminal offense – and even those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” – have become a priority for deportation.

CALIFORNIA FARMERS BACKED TRUMP, BUT NOW FEAR LOSING FIELD WORKERS

According to a story in the New York Times, California farmers are now deeply alarmed about what the new policies could mean for their workers, most of whom are unauthorized, and the businesses that depend on them. Mr. Trump’s immigration policies could transform California’s Central Valley, a stretch of lowlands that extends from Sacramento to Bakersfield. Approximately 70 percent of all farmworkers here are living in the United States illegally, according to researchers at University of California, Davis. The impact could reverberate throughout the valley’s precarious economy, where agriculture is by far the largest industry. With 6.5 million people living in the valley, the fields in this state bring in $35 billion a year and provide more of the nation’s food than any other state. According to the Times, the consequences of a smaller immigrant work force would ripple not just through the orchards and dairies, but also to locally owned businesses, restaurants, schools and even seemingly unrelated industries, like the insurance market.

WHY SILICON VALLEY WOULD NOT WORK WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS

The New York Times reports that Silicon Valley start-ups are now growing very concerned about President Trump’s latest immigration policies. According to the story, last year, researchers at the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonpartisan think tank, studied the 87 privately held American start-ups that were then valued at $1 billion or more. They discovered something amazing: More than half of them were founded by one or more people from outside the United States. And 71 percent of them employed immigrants in crucial executive roles. Under the Trump, the immigrant-friendly dynamic could change – and it could bring about the ruin of American tech.