About Last Week…

May 2017 Collage

Last week the WIL team was busier than usual.

Besides looking after and taking care of our clients, we attended a corporate relocation-focused conference where we met some very interesting corporations that work with ex-pats and immigrants and learned a lot about global mobility future trends. We also had some team building while making chocolate deliciousness.


Border Crossings Declining for Years. Know Why?

UntitledNew government data points to a decline in apprehensions of undocumented immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border over the past few months. This can be attributed to a range of factors. It is also important to note that this decline was a trend since 2006, so it is not really something new.

Apprehensions normally go up and down over the year, and they were trending downward in the years before Trump was president. This was a result not only of intensified immigration enforcement, but also improving economic prospects in Mexico—as well as growth in the United States of the less-skilled jobs most commonly filled by undocumented immigrants.

As a result, there were more Mexicans in the United States heading back home from 2009 to 2014 than there were Mexicans coming to the United States. Regardless, declining apprehensions over the first four months of the Trump administration don’t mean that unauthorized immigration has fallen substantially. There are many factors aside from the administration’s rhetoric.

For example, cartels play a role in how many individuals cross the border, and there are reports that the price “coyotes” charge is on the rise. Higher costs could mean fewer people attempting to cross.

During the last few years the Mexican economy has improved and its unemployment rate is below 4%. More opportunity at home translates into fewer people leaving the country. The decline in apprehensions could also be due to the fact that the Border Patrol is unlawfully turning away asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

All of these factors make it very difficult to determine what is actually happening at the U.S.-Mexico border. There is no way to accurately measure the effectiveness of border-enforcement measures. The number of apprehensions is only assumed to reflect how many undocumented immigrants are trying to enter the country. But apprehension statistics don’t give any indication of how many undocumented immigrants actually make it into the country successfully.

Info from www.immigrationimpact.com


Happy Mother’s Day!

Love. Is the purest of emotions and a natural one. We are programmed for it, it is our deepest instinct and we need it to live. And the purest and most unconditional of all loves is a Mother’s love to her children.  Happy Mother’s day to all the wonderful mommies! 20170426_190337

News On the “Travel Ban” court process

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard arguments from both sides yesterday about President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. A 13-judge panel is examining a ruling that blocks the administration from temporarily barring visas for citizens in six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

An attorney for President Trump is urging the court to focus on the religiously neutral text of Trump’s revised travel ban rather than the Republican’s anti-Muslim campaign statements.

Outside the courthouse, anti-ban protesters marched with signs and chanted. Inside the courthouse, the panel of judges questioned the attorneys about the constitutionality of the travel ban.

A major line of questions from the judges focused on whether President Trump’s campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. can be considered the intent of this ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.

There is no date set for when the judges will announce their decision. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii will hear oral arguments on May 15 on the other injunction on the travel ban. If parties in either case choose to appeal their verdicts, the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Latest Nomination For The Citizenship and Immigration Services department

13680366_1262721410427636_6467469965092443199_oThe Trump administration does not cease to surprise us with its nominations. Just yesterday, the new Ombudsman for the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department was appointed, and the person chosen is Julie Kirchner.

Kirchner was the head of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) for the last 10 years. This has been designated as a hate group with proven ties to white supremacists and eugenicists. The organization was also very well known for its anti-immigrant positions.

If you wonder what the role of the ombudsman is, it is basically the nonbiased figure whose role is to give assistance to both immigrants and the Department of Homeland Security, independent from the influence of the agency or White House. In her new position, Kirchner will act in a number of roles, including as a connection between immigrants and their employers who are unable to resolve their immigration cases. She will also be responsible for submitting an annual report to Congress identifying and offering suggestions to fix issues with DHS.

Kirchner has called for reductions of refugee admissions and she has previously campaigned against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. During her term at FAIR, she helped launch an initiative to end the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision (it grants citizenship to all individuals born on U.S. soil, regardless of the status of their parents).

We believe that appointing Kirchner as Ombudsman undermines the purpose of the agency and shuts down one more opportunity for holding the government accountable to the rights and needs of non-citizens in this country.

This is what our people say

Our clients are our best ambassadors. That is why we want to share one of the latest reviews we received from one of them. Our prize is knowing that they are happy with the work that we do. Thank you for your nice words, Yingjie!


Dealing with Problems

What is one thing that everyone has in common? We’ve all got problems. No matter who you are, or what you’re doing, you will run into one of them eventually. And what can you do to avoid them?

I’m sorry to tell you this but the answer is nothing. Problems cannot be avoided, or perfection would be reality. But the truth is that nothing goes perfectly. Instead of trying to focus on perfection and to make sure that everything is ideal, try to work on your reaction to situations when something doesn’t go as planned. You have basically 3 options:

Number 1: Freak out, lose control and cry yourself to sleep in the fetal position.

Number 2: Ignore the problem and hope for the best.

Number 3: Try to stay positive, open minded and look for a solution.

I don’t know which one of those sounds the best to you, but probably number 3 is a safe bet. The truth is that when things go wrong, all you can do is try to fix them or to find an alternative. Sometimes, the alternative ends up being better than the original, but you can’t experience that if you just freak out and freeze.

As Joyce Meyer said “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Almost as important as thinking positively throughout hardships, is that people around you do it too. If you are in a leadership position, you have to lead this attitude by example. If others see you calm, with a smile on your face, they will know that everything is okay and they will also be calm and think clearly. Let’s be honest: if you look back in five years at a bad moment, and it doesn’t seem that bad, then your problem really isn’t that big. And with a calm demeanor and positive thinking, you can always come up with a solution that will smooth things over.

Next time when you find yourself in a difficult situation, and you feel like there is nothing else that can do to fix it, take a moment, or a day, or a week; breathe and stay positive, then you will come up with an alternative or a solution for it.

New Executive Order concerning H-1B visas

On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order entitled “Buy American and Hire American.”  The EO calls for the enforcement and administration of laws governing both the promotion of domestic manufacturing of goods and the entry of foreign workers to the United States, as well as the issuance of new guidance and the revision of existing rules to protect the interests of U.S. workers and prevent fraud and abuse.  With respect to the H-1B program, this is what it says: “In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”

It is still a mystery how it is going to be determined who those beneficiaries are, and if there will be a change in the process of selection for the visas and companies. As you know, the petitions are drawn into a lottery, because the number of available visas is a total of 85,000 (of which 20,000 are for Master degree level applicants) and the number of petitions is around the 200,000. Actually, FY 2018 is the first in 5 years that USCIS received less than 200,000 petitions (they received 199,000).

They are Wasting YOUR Taxes. Agree?

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, announced a big shift in policy for the Department of Justice last week. U.S. Attorneys will prioritize criminal immigration enforcement and expand federal court prosecutions of immigration violators in the country.

The Attorney General is demanding of all 94 U.S. Attorney offices in the country to focus their resources away from prosecution of serious criminals and national security threats, to prosecuting individuals who crossed the border without inspection. This will end up in rushed processes and overpopulation of prisons that will be filled with low risk immigration offenders paid by the taxpayers.

To ensure this is enforced, the U.S. Government will also make sure that every office has a Border Security coordinator as of last Tuesday, April 18. These will have the mission of collecting and reporting on statistics, giving legal advice to U.S. Attorneys, and overseeing prosecutions.

This looks like a waste of taxpayer money by prosecuting people who crossed the border without permission, many just looking to join their families and make a living, rather than going after violent offenders and gun and drug smugglers who pose a threat to American communities.

This further criminalization of border crossers is troubling but not really surprising in the world of federal law-enforcement, where half of all arrests are already for immigration-related offenses like entering or re-entering the United States without authorization.

Considering that the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants entered the country to work or reunite with family members, this new policy announcement represents a very poor use of federal resources and is a huge step backwards.

Has your petition been chosen?

On April 7, 2017, USCIS announced that it received enough H-1B petitions to reach the cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency made the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap. As announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for up to six months. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

* Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;

* Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;

* Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and

* Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently