Chad Wolf resigned as the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on January 11. However, Chad Wolf may never have lawfully been the Acting Secretary of DHS. It sounds confusing because it is confusing.
In 2001, I purchased AILA’s Litigation Toolbox with its handy CD-ROM of templates and filed my first mandamus petition. Before the government even filed a response in federal court, the Charlotte INS naturalization supervisor called and said they were swearing in my client, stating, “We’re giving him his own private naturalization ceremony.” Wow. That right there is the power of litigation.
Rather than reserving this heavy handed tactic for dangerous people who pose some risk to the community, thus far the agency has used this strategy to lock up people who, if the interview were to continue, would be approved for a green card, but who – at that moment – were without legal status, despite the fact that they were trying to acquire said legal status in the interview.
A bill that does recognize that reality is the Immigration Innovation Act of 2018, introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on January 25, 2018. If enacted, the bill, known as “I-Squared,” would make significant changes to the U.S. employment-based immigration system to facilitate high-skilled immigration. Among the many positive reforms offered by I-Squared are:An adjustable cap on H-1Bs that rises and falls according to market demands;H-1B cap exemptions and prioritization of H-1Bs in high-demand years for certain individuals with U.S. graduate degrees;Changes to the immigrant visa system to provide relief to those caught in the backlog and to accelerate the time when green card applications can be filed;Added flexibility for H-1B workers and those seeking green cards to change employers;The creation of a “Conditional Immigrant Visa” process for high-skilled workers whose employers wish to immediately sponsor them for a green card;Limitations on situations where an employer would be required to file an amended H-1B petition; andRequiring DHS and DOS to give deference to a prior nonimmigrant petition or visa approval involving the same employer and employee.
Responding to the White House press release, the Cato Institute quickly pointed out: “In our updated terrorism information that runs through the end of 2017, we found that a total of 155 people were killed on U.S. soil in terrorist attacks since January 1, 2002, 34 of them by foreign-born terrorists and 121 of them by domestic terrorists.“
Smart, balanced, rational immigration reform is something we desperately need. However, neither the RAISE Act in the Senate, nor the companion bill in the House, the Immigration in the National Interest Act, exhibit those qualities
In reality, legislation is often difficult to pass. Regulations are subject to all of those pesky procedural safeguards. But maybe the administration can find an easier way to disrupt our current system and create havoc for all those foreigners who are here legally, playing by the rules of the current dysfunctional system. Bingo! It has become apparent that the administration is making great strides at concocting new and creative ways of frustrating, delaying, and denying as many applications and petitions for immigration benefits as possible.