The Immigration Blog

About an Ever-Confusing American System

Category: Immigration News

Temporary Pause? Court Temporarily Halts Certain Trump Immigration Orders

Last week, Baurkot & Baurkot reported of the White House Executive Orders that restricted the ability of individuals across the globe to enter the United States. On Tuesday, February 3, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington entered an order temporarily halting the implementation of several provisions of the Executive Order. The order takes an approach that extends its reach across the United States. The Order is, however, only temporary.

The Court order provides that the United States Government:

  • must not stop the entry of ALL immigrants and ALL non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (note that Customs & Border Protection still has broad, discretionary authority to deny entry at any point of entry);
  • must stop prioritizing refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religion for those who are of the minority religion of their home country; and
  • must resume the United States Refugee Admissions Program.

This Order is temporary—a pause, at most. Further, it does little to quell the great and growing uncertainty with respect to the American Immigration system. The White House responded in assuring an aggressive, quick, and proactive response and has already vowed to seek review of the District Court Order before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Given this, what is to occur next may very well occur shortly.

With the continued uncertainty of the American Immigration system, rest assured that the Attorneys at Baurkot & Baurkot are prepared and stand at the forefront of the debate, discussion, representation, and litigation. The Baurkot Immigration Team is continually monitoring developments and making necessary adjustments to ensure all clients—present and future—are protected.

Stay Tuned. This is only a short, short pause.

To read the Federal District Court temporary restraining order, please click here. To discuss your options, contact Baurkot & Baurkot.

New Immigration Fees Take Effect Today.

Effective today, December 23, 2016, filing fees for numerous requests for immigration benefits before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased.

USCIS has confirmed that any application or petition bearing a preally-immigration-fees-up-againostmark of December 22, 2016 or earlier, no matter when it is ultimately received for filing, will be accepted with the old fees.

For informational purposes only, the following link has a comparison of the of fees before and after December 23, 2016.

To download, click on the following:

USCIS Fee Comparison



Immigrants: Knowledge is Power, Protect Your Rights!

Don’t Panic, Get Informed.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump pledged to crack down on immigration, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, end the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and change deportation enforcement priorities. Although President-Elect Trump’s campaign website support these ideas, the timing and scope of any changes to current policies are unclear. There is uncertainty in the American Immigration System.

Do not wait until the last minute.  As more information is known, you can take steps now to protect yourself by understanding your rights and learning the truth. To do so, it is important that you speaking with an immigration attorney that knows immigration law and its complexities. There is too much to lose.

Questions?  Concerns?  Contact Baurkot & Baurkot at (484) 544-0022 to speak to a leading Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Attorney today.  Free Consultation.

Is There a Link Between Immigration and Unemployment?

There is frequently controversy regarding the effects that immigration might have on unemployment rates, especially when a large section of the population is struggling financially. News of corporations seeking H‑1B visas erroneously advances the idea that employers actively recruit foreign workers rather than hire native-born ones. However, there is no link between immigration rates and unemployment patterns. This is due to job market demographics and the benefits immigrants bring to communities.

Different job markets

Immigrants and native-born workers are not usually competing in the same job markets. They offer different education levels and skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, foreign workers were more likely than native-born employees to work in service occupations, including transportation, natural resources, maintenance and construction. Native-born workers faced a greater likelihood of employment in management, professional and sales positions. There is no competition for positions in this scenario.

The earnings disparity between foreign and native-born workers is very wide. In 2015, the average weekly wage for foreign-born workers was $681, which is significantly less than the $837 average for their native-born colleagues. This is likely due to the differences in service occupations versus managerial or professional ones, and further confirms the lack of competition between foreign-born and native-born employees.

Looking at this alone, immigrants do not compete with most native-born workers for jobs. However, there have been concerns about work availability for working class minorities when immigrants move into their communities.

Jobs not “stolen”

Minority unemployment is often the major issue in these discussions. Even with H-1B visas, companies are not allowed to recruit exclusively among foreign workers or offer those workers a lower salary than would be received by a native-born employee. This visa category also affects only the highly educated, a demographic with low unemployment in the United States. However, in communities where there are primarily service jobs, there is concern that working-class immigrants push out native-born workers with similar skills.

Still, even this conclusion is not backed by the evidence. An Immigration Policy Center Special Report reveals that areas with higher immigration from Latin American countries experience lower poverty and unemployment rates. The same report indicates that immigrants did not displace African American workers, but complemented them. Positions that became available simply could not be filled at the current population level. Immigration helped in these cases.

There are also effects that create jobs. Additional workers spending money in the United States increases opportunities and often require companies (especially retailers) to hire additional employees. Immigrants are also more likely than native-born residents to start their own businesses and employ additional workers—foreign and native-born alike.

Immigrants and their potential employers need to secure the correct visas in order to continue working and living in United States. This process can be challenging and time-consuming. If you require assistance in obtaining an immigrant visa, contact the skilled Pennsylvania immigration attorneys at Baurkot & Baurkot today to schedule a consultation.

Employment-Based Immigration Depends on Your Job

If you are looking to immigrate to the United States for employment purposes, some professions are preferred over others. Often called employment-based preferences, these are the positions for which an employment visa is most likely to get approved. Here is an overview of this hierarchy and how it can work for you.

Priority workers always come first

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs releases a visa bulletin each month. In this document, it explains the percentages of visa categories that are accepted and their order of priority. It also reviews educational requirements and procedural updates.

Content in the bulletin includes employment-based preferences. It starts by discussing the E1 visa, which is always at the top of the list. These workers include people with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, education, sciences, business or athletics. Professional athletes fall under this visa, as do multinational executives and well-known researchers and professors of the Nobel Prize variety. This type of visa, if you qualify, is easy to secure and often immediate.

The second priority, the E2 visa, is for skilled workers, professionals and other workers. This may include very well-educated people who do not quite meet the level of the E1. If you have an advanced degree and show gifted abilities, you can likely qualify for this visa and can secure it quickly.

Skilled workers and professionals who fall under the third preference category, E3, have less experience than the E2 and must secure employer sponsorship. Preferences below this category still have a good chance of being granted a visa, but additional steps including forms and sponsorship will also apply.

Employer sponsorship

The clients in these employment-preference visas are frequently employers. Preference visas are often pursued in order to secure the most gifted workers in the world. In professional sports, for example, there is frequently a desire to get a new athlete training with a team as soon as possible, so teams and leagues also pursue legal assistance in immigration matters to make this an easier transition while also following immigration law.

Individuals are also beneficiaries. If you are working for a smaller company that does not have the resources to handle your immigration matters, visiting an attorney with your employment offer and proof of sponsorship is frequently the quickest way to get you into the United States and working sooner.

When you are looking at employment in the United States, speaking with an experienced Pennsylvania corporate immigration attorney will help you get started on the process of securing the correct visa. We work for both companies and individuals to make employment preferences work for you. Contact Baurkot & Baurkot today to get started with this process.

Foreign Entrepreneurs Enjoy Numerous Immigration Options

Foreign entrepreneurs who are considering starting or moving their business within U.S. borders should rest assured that it is not an impossible process. In fact, the U.S. government has created a variety of time-tested pathways that allow foreign entrepreneurs to bring their trade overseas. Whether you are considering permanent or temporary immigration to the United States, it’s important to know the options the government provides.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas for business professionals are provided to those who meet the qualifications for U.S. residency and have a particular set of skills or educational accomplishments. The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability visa allows for those who have demonstrated high potential in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics to immigrate to the United States. That being said, this visa—like most immigrant visas for foreign entrepreneurs—is only afforded to those who can prove they will continue working in their field once living in the United States.

Other types of immigrant visas include the EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional visa—which is for individuals with the equivalent of advanced U.S. degrees or years of workplace experience—a visa for those with exceptional abilities within their field of work and a visa for those with a job offer from a U.S. employer who have demonstrated either exceptional abilities in their field or have an advanced degree.

Nonimmigrant Visas

If you are looking for temporary residency within the United States, there are several available options that may apply to your situation. In contrast to immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas typically have strict time frames in which you must conduct your business. These time frames are dependent upon the type of visa you apply for and receive as well as the extent of your business affairs.

While there are variety of nonimmigrant visas that you may apply for, one type of visa within this category is the B-1 Business Visitor visa, which grants business visitors the right to set up the details of their proposed business within the United States. This visa can be used to find office space, conduct meetings and more. Additionally, the F-1 Optional Practical Training visa allows students to work toward starting a business that is related to their studies. Nonimmigrant visas may also be available to those with specialty occupations, extraordinary skills or achievements in their field, valuable business investments or those who are being transferred from a company oversees.

If you are a foreign entrepreneur and are considering trying to obtain an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to the United States, it’s important to speak with a legal professional who can ensure you’re on the right track. To learn more about how to conduct your business in the United States, consult with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania corporate immigration attorney at Baurkot & Baurkot today.

What Is a Habeas Corpus Petition, and What Role Does It Play in Immigration?

Facing detainment or deportation is a reasonable fear in the immigrant community. Even if people follow all procedures stringently with the assistance of an immigration attorney, administrative errors or unfounded criminal charges could place your legal status in danger. Fortunately, there is a possible remedy under habeas corpus if you or a loved one faces detainment.

General purposes of habeas corpus

The writ of habeas corpus is established in the Judiciary Act of 1789. Its original intention was to prevent the unreasonable detention of citizens without due process. Procedures are available in both federal and state courts, but since immigration is a federal matter, use of habeas corpus in those cases is limited to federal district court.

Pleadings in habeas corpus request review of an “arbitrary and lawless” action. It is mainly used to request the release of people who are held in custody in violation of the Constitution, international law or currently valid treaties.

Application in immigration

Habeas corpus is applied in immigration when people are detained and facing deportation. Since these actions often occur without a hearing or other judicial proceedings, habeas corpus appears to be a good remedy on its face.

There is dispute regarding this procedure in immigration matters. The REAL ID Act (Public L. 109-13 Stat 302) limits review in some ways but expands it in others. Since May 11, 2005, the law has removed habeas corpus review for final orders regarding removal and deportation. However, it expanded options for judicial review for these occurrences, and that is intended to take the place of habeas corpus review.

Even with the REAL ID Act in effect, the Supreme Court upheld the use of habeas corpus to challenge the length and conditions of detention. While your immigration attorney would have to take other options to address a deportation order, for example, habeas corpus remains an available strategy for people detained too long or facing mistreatment.

Also, unlawful custody does not have to include physical detention. If the government places other restrictions on liberty, like the inability to obtain a proper ID or even secure a driver’s license, it can be considered physical detention. Many immigrants successfully challenged these limits as unlawful custody even if they remained at home and not in a detention cell.

If you require habeas corpus, your attorney will file the petition in district court after paying a filing fee. Any final decisions in district court can be appealed to higher courts, just as with other civil proceedings. Contact Baurkot & Baurkot if you are in a position where you require a habeas corpus petition from an experienced Pennsylvania immigration attorney to secure your liberty.

Understanding the Consequences of Aiding Undocumented Immigrants’ Entry Into the United States

For foreign nationals, interest in coming to the United States shows no sign of slowing down. As the process for doing so within the bounds of the law is time-consuming and complex, some individuals attempt to circumvent the law, either by venturing onto U.S. soil on their own or with the help of a smuggler—and sometimes the latter approach is encouraged by relatives already living in the United States.

Unfortunately, the mere act of attempting to help an undocumented immigrant enter the United States is illegal, regardless of whether the attempt is successful. The penalties can be severe, ranging from fines to significant prison time, particularly if someone is injured or killed in the attempt.

What constitutes “aiding”?

When alien smuggling makes the news, it’s often in the form of a vehicle full of undocumented immigrants being pulled over, or worse, being involved in a tragic accident. But under the law, assisting someone’s attempt to unlawfully enter the United States isn’t limited to actually transporting the individual yourself. It can also encompass hiring someone to engage in alien smuggling, either directly or indirectly, as well as providing false documents for an individual to use when attempting to enter the country.

Consequences of alien smuggling

Most immediately, being engaged in alien smuggling can lead to fines and incarceration, regardless of whether anyone successfully made it into the United States and regardless of whether the accused smuggler believes the action was justified. (It is possible to receive a limited waiver in the event that the person being smuggled is a spouse or child of the accused, or someone whose entry into the United States might be justified on humanitarian or public interest grounds.)

But given the fact that much alien smuggling is committed by those who are themselves in some stage of immigrating to the United States, it’s important to note that the consequences may go far beyond fines and prison. Being involved in alien smuggling can have a lasting and severe impact on whether or not a person can receive permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. In both situations, being convicted of alien smuggling results in being barred from becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Furthermore, even without a conviction, a person found to have been involved in aiding the entry of undocumented individuals into the United States might actually be deported for doing so. Again, the relationship or justification may not matter.

If you or a loved one have been accused of trying to help an undocumented person enter the United States, it is critical that you seek the counsel of a qualified and experienced attorney. Consulting with a Pennsylvania immigration and deportation defense attorney at Baurkot & Baurkot can provide you with the information and assistance you need to defend yourself or your loved one. Reach out to our team today for answers to your questions, information about next steps and peace of mind.

What Types of Protection Can a U.S. Embassy or Consulate Provide?

Though safety is a primary concern for most individuals, it is not always possible during moments of political, social or religious unrest. Fortunately, the U.S. government provides protections to certain individuals who are considered in danger or threatened while living in a foreign country. To be qualified for these safeguards, you must meet a set of criteria related to the different types of protections offered by a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Temporary refuge

Individuals who are seeking protection for a specific, limited period of time may apply for temporary refuge. This type of U.S. protection is for those at risk of extreme physical danger. Such danger could include circumstances that could lead to death, critical injury or persecution. Temporary refuge is typically only afforded to those in the most life-threatening circumstances.

Those granted this type of protection may seek shelter inside a U.S. embassy or consulate during any point of the day. It is important to know that temporary refuge does not mean leaving a foreign country or coming to the United States.

Referrals to other agencies

Another type of protection that may be provided by a U.S. embassy or consulate is a referral to the U.S. Refugees Admissions Program. This program calls on other government agencies to review the individual’s files and to determine whether he or she may qualify as a refugee. Such decisions are typically referred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), though the embassy or consulate may be the first point of contact.

Once a referral is complete, you may be considered as an applicant for refugee status. If you qualify as a refugee and wish to claim refugee status, you will be required to relocate to the United States for your protection. In some cases, financial support may be available in helping you leave your current country.

Parole to the U.S.

For individuals who are not eligible for the previous protections and cannot come to the United States in other ways, parole may be an option. Parole is commonly utilized in situations where a person’s health, family or security are at extreme risk. It may also be used in cases where national security is an issue. When parole is granted, an individual is allowed to enter into the United States and live within the country’s borders for a limited period of time.

Distinguishing the parameters of these protections and determining eligibility can be complex. If you would like to seek protection at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the first step is to work with an experienced attorney. Speak with a trusted Pennsylvania immigration lawyer today by contacting Baurkot & Baurkot.

Upcoming U.S. Election, Court Cases Could Impact Future of DACA

While every presidential election has the potential to change the future of those living within a country’s borders, the upcoming 2016 national election in the United States brings a significant amount of uncertainty for young immigrants. In particular, the potential reversal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy could remove many opportunities for undocumented minors.

Understanding DACA

In an effort to protect children who were brought to the United States without proper documentation, U.S. President Barack Obama used executive action to create the DACA immigration policy. Under the policy, immigrants who came to the United States prior to June 2007 and before turning 16 years of age may be eligible for certain protections and opportunities. Most prominently, those who qualify under DACA may be exempt from deportation and be eligible for a two-year U.S. work permit.

What’s at stake?

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case filed by 26 states against DACA and other provisions that allow similar permits and exemptions. Some believe that the future of DACA will also influence or be closely intertwined with the fate of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which issues certain rights to undocumented mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens.

As of last year, more than 800,000 individuals are protected under DACA. Together, the DACA and DAPA immigration policies in question affect up to 5 million people in the United States. Should the court decide in favor of the states and against the president’s policy, those affected by the ruling could face significant changes to their legal status in the United States.

The fate of DACA

The November elections will open the door for significant changes not only in the Oval Office but also in Congress. While some members of government do not agree with the DACA policies, others believe these policies allow authorities to focus on the deportation of immigrants who are involved in dangerous or criminal activity, rather than on the deportation of minors. As Americans head to the polls this fall, the fate of these policies will most likely be left in the hands of those who are voted into office.

Additionally, the elected officials who take office in January may be faced with confirming a new justice to the Supreme Court. With the opening of a seat on the Supreme Court comes further influence on policy and the outcome of the states’ case against DACA.

If you or your loved ones have questions about immigration policies such as DACA or DAPA, a knowledgeable lawyer can help. You can speak with an experienced Pennsylvania immigration and deportation defense attorney today by contacting Baurkot & Baurkot.