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Phoenix Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

The reasons why nonimmigrant visas may be revoked

Some foreing visitors travel to Arizona each year by using B2 nonimmigrant visas. These visas may be revoked by U.S. consuls for several reasons. It is important for people to understand why this can happen.

If a consul determines that the visitor actually intends to try to immigrate to the U.S. by overstaying a visitor visa, the consul may then revoke it. The intention must be demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence such as working while the visitor is in the U.S. The nonimmigrant visa may also be revoked if the person receives an immigrant visa. If the person removes the visa from his or her passport, it may also be revoked. Finally, the visa holder may also have the visa revoked if he or she has had a conviction for driving while intoxicated within the previous five years.

University program helps immigrants stay in the U.S.

Arizona residents may be interested to know that immigrants are responsible for founding many startups in America, according to immigration advocates. However, there is no specific visa for foreigners who wish to start their own companies in the United States. In many cases, employers can sponsor foreigners who want to stay in the country, but that doesn't work for those who are their own bosses.

This is why the University of Massachusetts Boston created the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, which allows the self-employed to stay in the country legally. It started as an experiment in 2014 that had two people enrolled in its first year of existence. It currently has more than three dozen participants. The system works by having a university sponsor a foreign resident for an H-1B visa. The university technically acts as a participant's employer, and unlike most companies, there are no caps as to how many such visas a college can get.

H-1B visa programs may take on a new form under Trump

Immigrants who work in Arizona or other parts of the U.S. on H-1B visas may have to deal with evolving political and legislative landscapes thanks to President Donald Trump. Although Trump has long spoken out against potential flaws in the immigration system, in mid-April 2017, he took what some observers say was his first official move in efforts to bring change to federal work visa programs. Although some legal observers said that his actions lacked teeth, they could represent a shifting tide of official federal policy and open the door to more formal legislation that favors American workers.

Trump's executive order directed a number of federal entities to devise new reforms for the H-1B visa program. According to the text of the order, these changes should promote policies that guarantee that visa winners have high skills and fulfill high-paid job positions.

Tougher immigration penalties may be imposed

Many Arizona residents are concerned about immigration issues. They may be immigrants themselves, have family members who are interested in immigrating, or may know people who are unsure of their immigration status. Changes in immigration law and policy has made many of them even more anxious.

The federal government has announced a policy of getting tough on immigrants who break the law while in the United States, as well as individuals who are in the country illegally. For example, immigrants who have been convicted of or even charged with crimes may be prioritized for deportation. In addition, a Justice Department memo stated that felony penalties might be applied to individuals who assist in helping people arrive in the United States illegally. These penalties would also be applied to those who "harbor" undocumented immigrants.

Border agents detaining holders of special immigration visas

As a result of living in a border state, many Arizona residents are aware of immigration issues, and a new era of aggressive enforcement appears to have dawned. Even holders of special immigration visas, who have sometimes undergone years of vetting and background checks, cannot know for certain if they can enter the United States. The director of the International Refugee Assistance Project said that people in possession of an SIV had not been detained or deported by border agents until recently.

For example, a man from Afghanistan whose life was at risk because he worked for U.S. development authorities in Kabul obtained an SIV to move to the United States with his wife and four young children. Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained him at the airport. Only after five hours of questioning did agents allow him to proceed.

Expedited processing for H-1B visas suspended

Arizona business owners may be interested to learn that, starting April 3, expedited processing for H-1B visas were scheduled to be suspended. These particular visas are used by U.S. companies to sponsor foreign talent and allow them to stay in the country for up to six years.

This suspension hits the technology industry particularly hard as some observers believe that there are not enough U.S. workers with the skills needed to fill all of the positions that will be left open. According to the co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance, companies who do not have the ability to hire people with the skills that they need to expand will be hit hard and may have trouble competing and surviving. Firms that have plans for large-scale projects, universities and some nonprofit groups may also be impacted.

Resistance to Trump's immigration policy emerges

Many Arizona residents could be affected by President Trump's February 2017 order concerning immigration. Immigration and Customs Enforcement quickly arrested 680 alien residents residing in the nation without legal permanent resident status. Many arrested were student visa or family visa holders who had allowed their visas to expire. Senators Cortez Masto and Tammy Duckworth have come to the forefront of congressional and legislative opposition to Trump's order. Purportedly acting to protect immigrant rights, these senators have proposed legislation to immediately repeal Trump's order on illegal immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security is the managing agency for the push to identify visa application fraud and undocumented migrants. While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided technical assistance, Customs and Border Protection is stepping up efforts to separate dual citizen cases, green card holders and undocumented migrants.

Proposed immigration bill would cut legal immigration

Many Arizona residents are no doubt aware that President Donald Trump has been focused on reducing illegal immigration. Now, two Republican senators are proposing a law that would reduce the number of immigrants who enter the country legally. They believe that the proposed bill would bring the number of green cards that are issued each year down from about 1 million to 600,000.

The proposed immigration bill would reduce the number of green cards that are issued to foreign nationals with U.S. citizen family members. Right now, family-based immigration is the largest legal immigration category. The proposed bill would also reduce the number of immigrants that are granted refugee status by 50 percent. The diversity visa program, a lottery system that grants green cards to citizens of countries with low immigration rates, would be completely eliminated under the proposed bill.

Fast-changing immigration rules could further clog courts

People who need to go through immigration courts in Arizona and around the country may find their cases delayed even longer. Immigrants already wait approximately two years for their case to be heard. With new regulations from the Trump administration, the system could be even more overloaded.

In 2015, there were 237 sitting immigration judges. By Feb. 3, that number should be at 302. However, this may not be enough to keep up with the number of cases. In 2014, the Washington Post found that judges only had about seven minutes to give to each case. Furthermore, many of the immigrants lacked legal representation. A 2011 study found that about 60 percent of immigrants did not have an attorney at the time of case completion. Having an attorney leads to significantly better results. The same study reported that around 75 percent of immigrants who were not detained and who had attorneys were successful while only around 10 percent without legal counsel were.

Employer planning for H-1B visa needs

Arizona employers considering hiring individuals from other countries might do so by helping those future workers to seek H-1B visas. However, it is important to recognize that an application for this program does not guarantee that a worker will be approved. Because of the lottery system used to award these visas, it is important to apply promptly for consideration. In 2017, the earliest date for filing an H-1B petition will be April 3.

A factor that has significantly affected an applicant's chances of being accepted is the fact that the number of applications each year has consistently risen. U.S. immigration law limits the number of H-1B visa approvals to 65,000 per year, but 20,000 additional visas can be offered for applicants that have earned advanced degrees from educational institutions in the U.S. In 2016, approximately one-third of applicants were successful in being selected through the lottery program.

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