We have written previously about how immigration enforcement operations against employers have increased during the Trump administration. In 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has continued that trend, conducting nearly 6,000 worksite audits. Of these audits, it seems the crackdowns focused on the employees, as opposed to employers responsible for hiring undocumented employees. Even still, employers should always be prepared for the possibility of a workplace audit. This means ensuring all employees’ immigration documents are updated and I-9s are accurate. For guidance on what employers and employees should do before and during an immigration raid, feel free to contact us.
The government shutdown began in late December when President Trump refused to sign a bill to keep the government running because the bill did not include $5 Billion for a border wall. The partial shutdown affects the following Immigration-related agencies: the Department of Homeland Security and its immigration-related components, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State. Fortunately, the shutdown does not affect the Department of Labor, because it has already received separate funding through the end of September 2019.
In the past, USCIS and visa and passport operations have continued to operate because they are fee-funded. However, their operating status and funding will need to be monitored closely. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website will not be actively managed during the shutdown. Therefore, your travel history and I-94 record on this website may not be up to date. Transactions submitted via this website might not be processed. CBP will not be able to respond to inquiries until after appropriations are enacted.
We will continue to monitor the case status of all of our current clients, but please be advised that the shutdown may cause delays in case processing times. We hope that an agreement is reached promptly, so that the government may resume operating without serious delays.
In this year’s annual Dayzad Law Thanksgiving holiday card, we asked for your nominations for your favorite charity, so we could make a donation. We received amazing charity nominations from the Dayzad Law family, such as LA Gay and Lesbian Center; Bet Tzedek; Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law; Immigrant Defenders; American Cancer Society; Justice Campaign Housed within the AIC; Midnight Mission; UNICEF; Looking Beyond; The Innocence Project; and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
These are truly great charities. To break the tie, we took a run-off vote and ultimately sent a check to Immigrant Defenders, a local legal aid nonprofit working with the immigrant community. They provide deportation defense for hundreds of immigrants each year who would otherwise not have access to legal representation. This work is critical during a time when the government has made it extremely difficult for immigrants to receive a fair process. We are so grateful for legal aid groups like the Immigrant Defenders!
We kicked off the holidays by joining one of our clients in their annual “Shoeboxes of Love” program. Each member of our firm sponsored children in need, by sending a box of holiday gifts to each of them. This a tradition we cherish each year, as it is a blessing to bring joy to these immigrant children.
We hope you and your family have a happy and safe holiday season!
The President recently signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, along with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. This agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, but (“NAFTA”) is largely the same agreement in many respects. As many of our clients know, NAFTA created the TN status for Canadian and Mexican nationals to temporarily live and work in the United States. Fortunately, TN status has not been changed in the new agreement. While some sections have been repackaged and reworded, the relevant immigration NAFTA provisions remain the same. This is good news for TN candidates and employers alike who can now breathe a (at least temporary) sigh of relief.
We are so grateful to be able to work with such great companies and individuals everyday. Even when times get tough, it is our clients that help us push through. During the holiday season it is important to reflect on what we have, but also on what we continue to fight for. It is clients like those below that remind us what is important and how in our practice we have the opportunity to bring communities, families, and workplaces together. We are thankful for your continued support and look forward to future success in the year to come.