Arizona employers who wish to obtain an H-1B visa for foreign workers must prepare well before the filing season opens on April 1. Although the fiscal year in which those workers would be eligible for employment does not begin until Oct. 1, the volume of applications means the window of eligibility is usually only open for one week. The cap may be reached even sooner. In 2018, it took only five days.
Arizona residents are likely aware that several thousand migrants from Central America are gathered in Tijuana, Mexico, and plan to apply for asylum in the United States. Many of these migrants have tried to cross the border illegally at the San Ysidro port of entry, which has prompted the Trump administration to change the way asylum claims are processed. Department of Homeland Security officials have announced that asylum-seekers apprehended in the United States will now be returned to Mexico to wait until their petitions are reviewed.
Citizens of Arizona may be interested to learn that despite the Trump administration promising to streamline the legal immigration system, plenty of the decisions made by the administration have proven deleterious to the immigration courts, the latest of which has been the government shutdown and how it has been causing the cancellation of 20,000 cases every week. Experts believe that if the shutdown persists until the end of January, the number of backlogged cases during these five weeks could be more than 100,000.
In most cases, those looking to appeal an immigration decision will do so through the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or, as a last resort, federal court. Since immigration is a function of the executive branch, the rules may differ from those imposed in an Arizona courtroom. Whether an appeal is made to the AAO or BIA depends on which agency made the original immigration decision.
Those living in Arizona or any other state as a permanent resident may not have thought much about becoming a full citizen. However, as a result of recent immigration policies, the number of applications for naturalization is on the rise. In Minnesota alone, there has been an increase of 88 percent since 2016. To apply for citizenship, an individual needs to wait two years, pass a test and take part in a naturalization ceremony.
People in Arizona who are concerned with LGBT rights and immigration issues may be disturbed to learn about a Trump administration policy announcement concerning diplomatic visas for the same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats. The administration ordered unmarried domestic partners to marry before the end of 2018 or lose their visas and ability to stay in the country. The policy would apply to foreign diplomats and United Nations employees, whose unmarried same-sex partners were given until Dec. 31 to show proof of marriage to the State Department.
Those wishing to enter Arizona or immigrants already residing in the country legally could experience trouble getting visas or green cards if they collect public benefits. The Trump administration has put forward a new rule that would alter an existing law that already curtailed the ability of immigrants to get documentation to live in the country if they had received cash benefits. After the public comment period, the proposed rule could expand the disqualifying benefits to include food assistance, Section 8 housing vouchers, Medicaid or the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy.
Making the adjustment to the American way of life can be difficult for some lawful permanent resident immigrants as they take the necessary steps to become U.S. citizens. One aspect of which many immigrants are experiencing first-hand is the often cumbersome American bureaucracy. Although there has a backlog for years, since the Trump administration has assumed the reins of power, the time required to become a citizen has doubled or tripled in Arizona and most areas of the country. In sections where there are large immigrant communities, the wait could be four to six times as long.
The debate over immigration has been contentious in Arizona and around the country since Donald Trump announced that he would be running for president in 2015, and the row over H1-B visas has been particularly fierce. These are the employment-based visas that allow companies to attract job candidates from overseas when workers with the necessary skills cannot be found locally, but critics of the program say that technology firms in particular take advantage of H1-B visas and use them to bring in cheap foreign labor instead of paying fair market rates to Americans.
The Trump administration's hardline immigration stance has resulted in many deportations from Arizona and the rest of the nation. While the government may try to claim that the immigration policies are focused on law and order, that claim is belied by the recent focus on deporting undocumented immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens.