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article originally appeared in the July 2018 edition of Mobility Magazine.
Immigration policy has been a key
focus of the U.S. Trump administration from its outset and remains in the
headlines. What are the administration’s current immigration-related
priorities, and what can employers of foreign workers expect going forward?
Early on, the administration
articulated several key immigration priorities—some of which have already come
to fruition, and some of which remain to be implemented.
One of President Donald Trump’s first
actions after he took office was to sign an executive order banning
travel to the U.S. of citizens of certain Muslim-majority
countries. This ban was later rescinded and reissued, and neither the first nor
second version of the travel ban is currently in effect.
A third iteration—a “proclamation”
rather than an executive order—was issued on 24 September 2017, and in December
2017 the Supreme Court allowed it to be implemented pending a decision on the
merits of a legal challenge to the ban’s constitutionality.
The travel ban was the most
headline-worthy part of the administration’s call for greater immigration
enforcement, but it has by no means been the only enforcement priority. For
example, the administration had originally called for $23 billion for border
and enforcement infrastructure and personnel, including the construction of a
wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget that was
eventually signed into law in March 2018, however, provided just over $1.5
billion for additional fencing and other barriers along the U.S.-Mexico
Confirms New U.S. Customs and Border Protection Head
The spending package provided funding
for additional Customs and Border Protection officers, and extended four
immigration programs—E-Verify; the Conrad 30 Waiver Program for foreign medical
graduates working in underserved areas; the Special Immigrant Religious Worker
Program for nonministers; and the EB5 Regional Center Program for foreign
investors—through the end of the fiscal year on 30 September 2018.
It also provided limited cap relief
for the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program for this fiscal year
only. It did not, however, provide relief for beneficiaries of the Obama-era
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Citizenship and Immigration Services Revamps E-Verify Website
Another key priority has been to
increase federal immigration enforcement powers, including greater interagency
and state/local collaboration. On the employment front, this has taken the form
of increased worksite compliance initiatives, which are discussed further
On the legislative front, the
administration favors adopting a merits-based points system for new immigrants,
limiting family-based sponsorship to end what it calls “chain migration,” and
terminating the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery program.
Drilling down to adjudication and
policy initiatives that have had an immediate impact on employers, the
administration has issued executive orders and policy memoranda—and implemented
some informal, subregulatory changes—that have especially affected the H-1B
Read the rest
of this article in the July 2018 edition of Mobility Magazine.