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EIG Dispatch | October 9, 2015

October 9, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Presidential Candidates Weigh in on H-1B Visas
  • Class Action Suit Filed Against the Dept. of State and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Denied
  • Slow Progress on Visa Reform Improvement
  • New Parole Program for Filipino WWII Veterans

Presidential Candidates Weigh in on H-1B Visas

With the Presidential election little more than a year away, frontrunners and fringe candidates alike have begun to take their stance on a variety of platform issues. Among the more contentious issues this cycle is immigration reform, which includes the security of our borders as well as the process for legal immigration.

Groups such as FWD.us, a collection of Silicon Valley CEOs, have already begun sparring with prospective candidates regarding their comments around the H-1B visa program, which is seen by many as critical to the growth and expansion of high profile tech companies. Specifically, FWD.us President, Todd Schulte, would like to see an increase in highly skilled immigrants working in the United States, and believes that more H-1B visas should be issued to fill the rising gap for graduates in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

The following chart is a summary of known positions among the likely Presidential contenders regarding H-1B visas, whose positions are sure to continually evolve as we enter Primary season:

President H-1B Chart


Class Action Suit Filed Against the Dept. of State and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

On September 30, 2015, the EIG Dispatch reported that the October Visa Bulletin sparked a class action lawsuit due to its revision, just 5 days before the new dates for filing Visa Applications were to take effect. The federal class action suit was filed in the State of Washington against the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) on September 28, 2015. The complaint was amended and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) was filed on September 30, 2015, requesting the court to order DHS to accept all Adjustment of Status applications that were eligible for filing under the original October Visa Bulletin that was released on September 9, 2015.

Despite the plaintiffs’ claim that the sudden changes were in violation of their due process rights and an abuse of agency discretion, the court denied that claim. On October 7, 2015 the court stated that the Revised Visa Bulletin did not substantially alter the plaintiffs’ rights, but instead only clarified a prior incorrect statement of their rights. The underlying lawsuit is still pending with the court, but for now the court’s denial of this TRO means that the revised bulletin remains in effect and DHS will not be required to accept Adjustment of Status applications that could have been filed under the original October Visa Bulletin but not under the revised one.


Slow Progress on Visa Reform Improvement 

President Obama released his recommendations for modernizing and streamlining the legal immigration system in July of 2015, though it remains to be seen, given the current legislative climate, if meaningful change will come to the H-1B or O visa process in the near future.

Supported by Silicon Valley executive group FWD.us, the President’s proposal outlines the necessary steps to enhance the current visa process with respect to economic growth, and proposes to clarify several aspects of the H-1B visa process. While portions of the proposal are to be accomplished through the executive rule making process, key aspects would require greater legislative support.

Given that no meaningful immigration legislation has made it to the House or Senate floor thus far this year, it seems unlikely that comprehensive visa modernization will be accomplished in 2015.Bill Chart

 


New Parole Program for Filipino WWII Veterans 

As part of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be creating a new parole program for certain family members of Filipino and Filipino-American World War II veterans to come to the U.S. This parole program was originally announced in November 2014.  Parole does not give an individual permanent rights to remain in the U.S., but it does allow DHS discretion to permit individuals to come to the U.S. for a temporary period based on urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit. To sign up for updates regarding the Filipino WWII Veterans Parole Program, please click here.