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On November 10, 2016, Laura Foote Reiff, Bob Maples, and Rebecca Schechter presented an Immigration Post-Election Update webinar highlighting some of the anticipated key changes to U.S. immigration policy (click here to listen to the webinar).  President-elect Donald Trump will likely begin the change on current U.S. immigration policy as soon as he takes office.  Laura Reiff and Rebecca Schechter highlight below what to expect:

  1. Repealing Executive Orders:  President Barack Obama’s Executive Order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will likely be repealed.  DACA is not a status, but rather, it allowed certain undocumented persons apply for work authorization.  If DACA is repealed, the work authorization is no longer valid, and the question remains as to whether any further actions will be taken for these individuals.
  2. Mandatory E-Verify:  It is likely that legislation will be proposed that makes E-Verify mandatory for employers.
  3. Increased Enforcement:  With President-elect Trump’s stance on immigration, employers will likely see more audits from USCIS and the Department of Labor, as well as more raids.  The enforcement will focus on ensuring that employers are not hiring undocumented workers, and that jobs are not taken away from qualified U.S. workers.
  4. Building the Wall:  A constant promise of President-elect Trump’s campaign has focused on building a wall on the U.S.- Mexico border.  The wall is part of a larger plan for enforcement and border security, and it remains to be seen how this project will be financed.
  5. Extreme Vetting for Visitors into the U.S.:  President-elect Trump has stated that he will temporarily suspend immigration for those who come from countries deemed dangerous and considered dangerous and volatile.  “Extreme vetting” will most likely mean more intense scrutiny of  citizens from countries that are considered “high-risk” and a deeper security review.
  6. H-1B and L-1 Nonimmigrant Visas:  Another of President-elect Trump’s focuses during his campaign was on preserving jobs for American workers.  To do so, it is anticipated that there will be more vetting and more requirements an employer must meet in order to petition for a foreign worker to work in H-1B or L visa status in the United States.    This will most likely include additional scrutiny of the staffing industry’s placement of H-1B and L visa holder’s at third party sites.
  7. Treaty Visas:  President-elect Trump has stated that he will renegotiate a number of treaties, one of which is the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”).  One provision of NAFTA allows for the movement of Mexican and Canadian citizens, who qualify under certain requirements in specific job categories, to lawfully work in the United States.
  8. Expiration of Four Immigration Programs:  We are currently in a “lame duck” session, and the four programs – E-Verify, the “Conrad Waiver” for Rural Doctors, Religious Workers, and EB-5 Regional Center Program –  have been temporarily extended in the Continuing Resolution until December 9, 2016.  It is anticipated that there will be another short-term extension into February or March 2017.

Bob Maples, a federal lobbyist for the firm, commented that “for those businesses that have depended on Washington gridlock to protect you, it is time to make new plans as a Republican controlled Administration and Congress have the opportunity to get things done.”  These are statements President-elect Trump made during his campaign. His policies and his ability to implement his statements may be different.

Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the transition period as well as President-elect Trump’s first 100 days in the White House and will continuously update on important developments.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies,

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.

Photo of Martha Schoonover Martha Schoonover

Martha J. Schoonover focuses her practice on business immigration matters and assists employers in obtaining temporary, nonimmigrant visas for business persons, managers and executives, treaty investors and traders, professionals (including physicians, researchers and scientists, nurses, physical therapists, engineers, computer scientists, and business professionals)…

Martha J. Schoonover focuses her practice on business immigration matters and assists employers in obtaining temporary, nonimmigrant visas for business persons, managers and executives, treaty investors and traders, professionals (including physicians, researchers and scientists, nurses, physical therapists, engineers, computer scientists, and business professionals), exchange visitors, students, and crew members working on the Outer Continental Shelf. In addition, Martha assists in obtaining labor certifications and permanent resident status for professionals, researchers, multinational managers and executives and other priority workers and in obtaining and relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

Photo of Rebecca B. Schechter ‡ Rebecca B. Schechter ‡

Rebecca Schechter focuses her practice on business immigration and compliance, representing multi-national corporations midsized companies, and startups, as well as individual clients. She has experience with all areas of employment-based immigration, particularly H-1B, L-1, O-1 and E-2 petitions, as well as outstanding researcher…

Rebecca Schechter focuses her practice on business immigration and compliance, representing multi-national corporations midsized companies, and startups, as well as individual clients. She has experience with all areas of employment-based immigration, particularly H-1B, L-1, O-1 and E-2 petitions, as well as outstanding researcher petitions and labor certification applications. Rebecca regularly assists GT clients with global immigration matters, including business and work visas to countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. She also works on state and federal I-9 and E-Verify audits. Rebecca has a thorough understanding of third party contractor issues and experience handling complex naturalization, deportation defense, family and employment-based adjustment applications.

Admitted in Maryland and Connecticut. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.