The Department of Labor has recently introduced the Foreign Labor Application Gateway, or FLAG. This self-described “newly-modernized portal” is now mandatory for employers to use when submitting a Prevailing Wage Request. Eventually, it will serve as the new application filing and case management solution for all foreign labor certification programs. Currently, the site is plagued by technical issues, which have made it extremely difficult for users to successfully complete what was previously a straightforward application process.
Though FLAG is currently being used for Prevailing Wage applications, the Department of Labor’s website also indicates that users will soon be able to file Labor Condition Applications (for H-1B applications) electronically within this system. While we can appreciate the government’s effort towards paperless filings, it will also make it very easy for the government to cross-check information between the temporary work visa application and the green card process. Fortunately, we have already anticipated such data mining. For this reason, we have always striven to ensure consistency among our clients’ applications.
Justice for immigrants does not come easily. I recently discovered two heroes who brought immigration justice to my family and me. I praise these heroes in my story published in the San Francisco Chronicle and hope it encourages us to stand up for today’s immigrants.
When entering the United States, all travelers are subject to inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at land and air ports of entry. Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike must go through the inspection when they enter the United States from abroad. CBP has broad authority to search people and their baggage upon arrival. Some travelers then have to undergo secondary inspection for more detailed questioning. This process can often be time-consuming, inconvenient, and stressful for travelers.
Finally some good news! CBP has changed the criteria for those required to complete secondary inspection. Consequently, the number of travelers picked for secondary inspection has dropped by about 80%. This change in practice has already been implemented in New York, and will be rolled out across the country in the coming months. This should make the process smoother and faster for most people, and is good news as we head into the busy summer travel months.
We wrote previously about the government’s proposed changes to visa applications to include questions about an applicant’s social media history. About a year later, the Department of State has added a section to Form DS-160 inquiring about visa applicants’ social media presence.
The social media section requests social media information used over the past 5 years. Applicants choose from an extensive list of social media platforms, from Facebook to LinkedIn to YouTube. They then must insert their usernames or handles for each platform.
This new question requires the disclosure of substantial information. It may require applicants to hunt down information from social media accounts they no longer actively use. This adds to the length of the application and raises privacy and free speech concerns. Applicants may be afraid to post freely on social media out of fear that their content may be misconstrued and used to deny them a visa. As always, we remind our clients to make sure any public information on social media sites is truthful and consistent with your immigration strategy. This will minimize the chance of the U.S. government mistakenly claiming it has contradictory evidence.
Happy Pride to our Dayzad Law family! Every year during the LGBT Pride month, we take a little time out to celebrate the LGBT community. While we enjoy our festive treats and decorations (see below), we also reflect upon the advances made so far within the community, as well as the fights that remain. There have been many victories for LGBT immigrants and this year we have seen the success of the first openly gay candidate to make a serious bid for the presidency. However, we also continue to see a presidential administration set on dismantling the rights of the LGBT community, and LGBT immigrants seeking asylum being mistreated and even dying in U.S. immigration custody.
This month as we celebrate our firm’s 13th anniversary, we continue to fight for every immigrant in all communities, including the LGBT community.