With the election of Donald Trump, significant changes to U.S. immigration law and policy are expected in the near future.
Based on the information presently available, we are able to make the following general points:
- The subset of individuals most likely to be immediately impacted by the anticipated changes are those with criminal convictions. Thus, whether you are a lawful permanent resident, visa holder or unlawfully present, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
- Likewise, we anticipate increased enforcement of the laws related to nonimmigrant visa overstays. As such, those individuals present in the United States after having overstayed a valid entry should seek legal counsel.
- It is also likely that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will increase its enforcement of the laws related to unlawful employment, to include increased site visits to worksites. U.S. employers concerned about the immigration status of employees should seek legal counsel.
- It is unclear what the new administration’s position will be on DACA. However, should the administration move to eliminate or make significant changes to the program, lengthy federal administrative law procedures must be followed first. Further, there would likely be a protracted litigation contesting any decision to eliminate or significantly change the program.
- Should the governments of the U.S., Mexico and Canada renegotiate the NAFTA Treaty, there are likely to be changes to the TN visa program. It is too early to speculate as to what these changes would be.
On a broader note, it is reasonable to expect a general increase in the enforcement of the immigration laws, for example heightened scrutiny by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of visa petitions and marriage cases, as well has more aggressive screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) of those seeking admission at airports and ports of entry.
There will possibly be significant changes to the H-1B visa program effective as soon as FY 2018.
We do not have reason to believe at this time that individuals present in the U.S. in compliance with the immigration laws will be affected.