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  1. H-1 CAP 2018: USCIS UPDATE

    by , 01-29-2018 at 10:57 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Maria Schneider

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association recently confirmed with the USICS Service Center Operations Directorate that the USCIS is not anticipating any procedural changes to the H-1B cap for the coming April 2018 filing season. The USCIS confirmed they intend to follow the same procedure using for April 2017 filings this year and will not require any type of pre-registration for H-1Bs filings.

    In addition, the USCIS confirmed that they do not anticipate premium processing will be suspended for non-cap H-1B petitions, including H-1B transfers, amendments, or extensions. However, there may be a brief moratorium on premium processing for H-1B cap petitions filed in April 2018.

    Musillo Unkenholt is hosting an H-1B Cap Webinar on January 31. We will be discussing a variety of immigration issues, including present and forthcoming Trump administration policy changes.

    To register, please visit:


    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at and You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitterand LinknedIn.
  2. Sources Shared on Twitter: A Case Study on Immigration

    by , 01-29-2018 at 10:40 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Media contact: Hannah Klein, 202-419-4372,

    Sources Shared on Twitter: A Case Study on Immigration
    An analysis of 9.7 million tweets reveals news organizations played the largest role in which content was linked to compared with other information providers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 29, 2018) – As news organizations battle charges of “fake news,” compete with alternate sources of information, and face low levels of trust from a skeptical public, a new Pew Research Center study suggests that news outlets still play the largest role in content that gets shared on Twitter, at least when it comes to one contentious issue in the news: immigration.

    Approximately one year after President Trump signed an executive order that restricted entry to the U.S. by people from certain countries, the analysis, which aims to better understand the types of information sources that users of one popular social media platform might encounter about a major national policy issue, finds that news organizations played a far larger role than other types of content providers, such as commentary or government sites.

    Researchers identified all English-language tweets on the topic of immigration during the first month of the Trump administration, Jan. 20 – Feb. 20, 2017, that included at least one external link. Any site that was linked to at least 750 times during this period was included in the study. This resulted in 9.7 million tweets that contained links to 1,030 sites.

    Roughly four-in-ten (42%) of these sites were legacy and digital-native news organizations, defined in this study as News Organizations, entities that showed evidence of original reporting in their most prominent articles. Legacy news organizations accounted for twice as many sites as digital-native news organizations: 28% of all sites compared with 14%. The prominent role news organizations played in discussions about immigration on Twitter is underscored by the frequency with which these sites were shared: fully 75% of the tweets analyzed in this study contained links to them.

    The study also finds little clear evidence that “fake news” sites were a major factor in the information stream on Twitter around immigration. Although verifying the accuracy of all reporting was beyond the scope of this study, researchers found that few of the 1,030 sites had attributes associated with sites that create “made-up” political content. Overall, only 18 sites – just 2% of all sites included in this study – were found on at least one of three widely circulated “fake news” lists created by external organizations. Additionally, the majority (94%) of News Organizations sites were established before 2015, suggesting they were not created solely for influence during the 2016 election.

    “While the study does not directly address the broader question of fake news entities’ influence on the public, or examine who is sharing what types of sites, it does shed light on the degree to which consumers are exposed to different types of information providers on a policy issue debated in the news,” said Director of Journalism Research Amy Mitchell.

    In addition to News Organizations, another roughly three-in-ten sites (29%) linked to during this time wereOther Information Providers, which focus on current events and public affairs, such as nonprofit/advocacy organizations, digital-native commentary/blog sites or government sites.

    To get a sense of the degree to which the most linked-to content providers outwardly specified an ideological orientation, researchers analyzed the “about” pages on the official websites and social media profiles of sites in the News Organizations and Other Information Providers categories. Just 14% of these sites clearly specified a conservative or liberal ideological orientation. Sites were about equally as likely to specify their ideology to be conservative (9%) as liberal (5%).

    Even fewer sites stated that their mission is to produce news and information not being covered by traditional media or politicians – which researchers coded as “anti-establishment orientation.” Only 8% of News Organizations and Other Information Providers sites declared an anti-establishment orientation. Digital-native news organizations (14%) were about three times more likely to use anti-establishment language than legacy news sites (4%). Digital-native commentary/blog sites, at 19%, were the most common of all sites to declare an anti-establishment orientation.

    Read the report:

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Hannah Klein at or202-419-4372.

    Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on ourFact Tank blog.
  3. Letters of the Week: January 29 - February 04

  4. Trump Offers Bone to Progressives and Red Meat to White Nationalists: Citizenship for 1.8m DREAMERS While Ending Family, Lottery Visas. Roger Algase

    Update, January 27 at 4:25 pm:

    For another perspective on the same topic below, see Juan Escalante in the January 26 Huffington Post:

    The White House Deamer Deal Isn't a Compromise. It's a Racist Ransom Note

    The title says it all. (Link to be provided.)

    My original comment appears below.

    In a proposal which is strongly opposed by both sides, Trump has offered to trade deportation relief and eventual US citizenship for up to 1.8 million DREAMERS in exchange for making two major changes in the legal immigration system which would drastically reduce immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. These changes would consist of ending family-based green cards for the parents and siblings of US citizens and eliminating the Diversity Visa lottery.

    These changes in the legal immigration system would be consistent with personal views which the president has expressed on many recent occasions. He has indicated sympathy for the plight of DREAMERS (whose DACA protections he himself abolished), while calling "Chain Migration" (a pejorative term for extended family immigration) "horrible" and the Diversity Visa lottery "ridiculous" (in a December 29, 2017 tweet sent to his 43 million Twitter followers).

    Trump also referred to African, Caribbean and Central American countries whose citizens have benefited from the current family and lottery immigration programs as "shithole" countries, which he considers to be undesirable sources of immigration compared to "countries like Norway" (in a January White House meeting with a group of Senators which caused outrage throughout America and around the world, including, among many other critics, a human rights spokesman for the United Nations who, as reported in the Associated Press, called Trump's comments "racist", "shocking and shameful"; and said they were "opening the door to humanity's worst side".

    Both immigration progressives and restrictionists have vigorously condemned Trump's proposal, virtually ensuring that it will never become law.

    When one looks at the numbers of people who would benefit from these respective proposals - slightly under 2 million mainly Latin American immigrants, compared to approximately 1 million immigrants mainly from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America who have benefited from the Diversity Visa lottery in the past 20 years - a program which would be abolished under the White House proposal - there would certainly appear to be some parity in the scope and effect of the two proposals.

    Therefore one could justifiably argue that abolishing the visa lottery in exchange for deportation relief and eventual citizenship for DREAMERS is not unfair or unreasonable. This is especially true in light of the fact that the DREAMERS, almost by definition, are people who have spent most of their lives in the United States and know no other country, were brought to America through no fault of their own, and are Americans in all but their paperwork.

    In contrast, visa lottery applicants are, again almost by definition, people who have little or no connection with the US. If they did have a connection, they would presumably have some other means of immigrating to this country.

    But the equation changes dramatically when the proposal to eliminate immigration by parents and siblings of US citizens, which has enabled some 30 to 40 million legal immigrants to come to America over the past half century from non-European parts of the world and changed the demographic face of America, is taken into account.

    Ironically, the provisions for extended family immigration, which the president and supporters are not only attacking with the racially coded term "chain migration". as mentioned above, but have been trying to link with a recent attempted terror attack by one single immigrant out of tens of millions of other legal immigrants who have come to America to join their families, were originally added to the landmark 1965 immigration reform act in order to preserve the mainly white, European character of US immigration as it had been prior to that time.

    This is explained in detail in a comprehensive analysis by writer Tom Gjelten of the 1965 law in The Atlantic:

    The visa lottery was initially instituted around 25 years later for the same purpose. The original visa lottery, known as AA-1, was openly intended to increase the proportion of white immigrants, after it became apparent that the family immigration provisions if the 1965 law had increased immigration from non-white parts of the world far more than it had from Europe.

    The AA-1 lottery was limited to applicants from predominantly white countries, mainly in Europe, with especially large set-asides for Ireland and Poland in particular. There were only two major non-white countries in the list, Japan and Indonesia.

    In order to make sure that the purpose of bringing in more white immigrants was accomplished, the AA-1 lottery included automatic waivers of inadmissibility for both visa fraud and previous deportation for immigrants selected in the lottery process!

    These automatic waivers, were, to the surprise of no one, eliminated when the AA-1 lottery was changed to the present Diversity Visa lottery open to all parts of the world. For a fuller discussion of the history of the visa lottery, see POLITICO:

    The Irish Roots of the Diversity Visa Lottery

    Regarding family immigration, which is at the top of the Trump/restrictionist hit list along with the diversity lottery, a article dated December 29, 2017 in reaction to Trump's above referred to tweet explains:

    "...'chain migration' has been a longtime target of immigration restrictionists, even when the Republican party as a whole was attempting to welcome legal immigrants. For people whose biggest fear regarding immigration is that immigrants will change the face of America - that they'll trample the country's 'traditionally' white, Christian majority - there's little more potent than the idea of immigrants bringing over huge families - replanting their communities in American soil."


    'Chain migration', and why Donald Trump wants to end it, explained

    And as a January 18 comment by Jane Coaston sums it up in the context of Trump's "shithole" statement about dark skinned immigrants from Haiti and African countries:

    "Bannon may be out of the White House (and Breitbart News). But his attitudes regarding immigration and immigrants remain in place, voiced by fellow immigration restrictionists like Sessions and Miller who believe that immigration poses a danger to American culture and American life - unless that immigration is from a predominantly white country."

    Significantly, the author adds:

    "This has a direct impact on immigration policy, including current negotiations regarding DACA and discussions of so-called merit-based immigration."


    The scary ideology behind Trump's immigration instincts.

    To be sure, Trump's offer of relief from deportation and eventual citizenship to 1.8 DREAMERS is welcome on its own terms, and generous enough to attract fierce opposition from "amnesty" opponents such as Numbers USA and the Heritage Foundation which normally are part of Trump's base on immigration.

    But relief for just under 2 million DREAMERS, whose present predicament Trump created himself as pointed out above, is a one-time action with limited, if any, effect on America's overall demographics. In contrast, eliminating family immigration outside the immediate nuclear family, which Trump refers to as "chain migration", would affect America's immigration demographics far into the future. It would be a major step toward accomplishing the goal of those who believe that making America Great Again means making America White Again.

    This is why, reasonable as Trump's offer to the DREAMERS may be by itself, or even as part of a trade off in return for ending the visa lottery alone, it is only a bone thrown to immigration advocates in comparison with the red meat of ending "chain migration" being offered to Trump's white supremacist base.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 01-28-2018 at 03:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Asylum and the Limits of Mercy in a Nation of Laws

    The case of Ded Rranxburgaj, a rejected Albanian asylum seeker living in Detroit, has been getting attention lately. Mr. Rranxburgaj arrived in the United States in about 2001 and applied for asylum. An Immigration Judge rejected his claim in 2006, and the BIA denied his appeal in 2009. Instead of deporting him, the government allowed him to remain in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons: He was the primary caretaker for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis. Mr. Rranxburgaj's wife is wheelchair bound, and she recently suffered a stroke. Doctors say that she is too sick to travel.

    Rev. Zundel: When life gives you ICE, make ice cream.

    There seems little doubt that Mr. Rranxburgaj is a "decent, family man" who does not pose a danger to the United States. According to his wife, he is a "very good husband" who helps her "take a shower... change clothes [and] cook." Besides his wife, he has two sons in the United States--a DACA recipient and a U.S. citizen.

    Mr. Rranxburgaj was living here peacefully since his case ended in 2009, but events took a turn for the worse last year when ICE decided to implement his removal order. According to an ICE spokesman: "In October 2017, ICE allowed Mr. Rranxburgaj to remain free from custody while making preparations for his departure pursuant to the judge’s order, which he had satisfactorily done." "He was again instructed to report to ICE [to be deported this week], but did not report as instructed."

    Instead, Mr. Rranxburgaj took refuge in the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. Since ICE generally does not arrest people from churches, Mr. Rranxburgaj apparently hopes to avoid removal by remaining there, at least until something can be done about his deportation order. His lawyer has requested a stay of removal from ICE, but there is no decision yet, and ICE does not appear willing to play nice. An agency spokesman says that Mr. Rranxburgaj is considered a "fugitive."

    Meanwhile, the church is standing with Mr. Rranxburgaj and his family. The Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jill Zundel, said that the decision was in line with the teachings of Jesus, who had "compassion for those who seek new hope in a new land." Rev. Zundel, who--if I can say this about a member of the clergy--seems like a real bad ***, has a tattoo on her arm that reads, "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty."

    There are different ways to look at Mr. Rranxburgaj's case. On the one hand, he is a man who has been in the United States for 17 years, his immediate family members are all here, he takes care of his sick wife, and he does not pose a danger to our country. So he should be allowed to stay. On the other hand, he is a man whose asylum case and appeal were rejected, and who is violating the law by remaining in our country. Allowing him to remain here will only encourage others to follow his lead. Therefore, he must go.

    In short, Mr. Rranxburgaj's story lays bare the conflict between enforcing the immigration law and showing mercy in a sympathetic case.

    This situation reminds me of another--much older--conflict between law and mercy (or, more accurately, between law and justice, but I think the concepts of mercy and justice are closely related). After he was unjustly sentenced to death, Socrates sat in his cell waiting to be executed. His friend Crito arrived to help him escape. In the ensuing dialogue (creatively named The Crito), Socrates argues that he cannot violate a law, even an unjust law. He says that he entered into a social contract with "The Law" by choosing to live in Athens, and he gained benefits accordingly. To violate the rules now would undermine the social contract and ultimately destroy the city. Rather than breaking the law to escape, Socrates believed he should try to persuade the authorities to let him go. Failing that, he must accept death, since he could not justly attack The Law (by escaping) on account of having been unjustly convicted. In other words, Socrates disagrees with Rev. Zundel's tattoo.

    So where does this leave us?

    I must admit that my sympathies lie with Mr. Rranxburgaj and his family. They are not doing anyone any harm. What is the benefit of ripping the family apart, especially considering the wife's vulnerable position? Thomas Aquinas writes that "Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty."
    In Mr. Rranxburgaj's case, fealty to the abstract concept of "The Law" seems cruel in the face of family separation and the wife's illness.

    On the macro level, Mr. Rranxburgaj's case begs the question whether there is room for mercy (justice?) in the enforcement of our nation's immigration laws. Well, why shouldn't there be? Every person convicted of a crime is not subject to the maximum penalty. Indeed, due to mitigating factors and prosecutorial discretion, very few criminals actually receive the maximum sentence. The same is true for government enforcement in the civil arena: Not everyone who breaks the speed limit receives a ticket. If there is room for mercy and justice in the implementation of the criminal and civil law, why can't the immigration laws be interpreted in a similar manner?

    Unfortunately, that is not the view of the Trump Administration, which seems hell-bent on enforcement. To be fair, restricting immigration was an important plank of Mr. Trump's campaign, and so it makes sense that he would crack down on illegal immigration. However, in Mr. Rranxburgaj's case, and in many other instances, the Administration's policies defy common sense. In the rush to implement The Law, the Administration has lost sight of justice. And of humanity.

    When our government replaces mercy with cruelty, it is not only "illegals" who will suffer. We all will. And so it is heartening to see brave people like Rev. Zundel and her congregation standing up for justice, even when it sometimes means disobeying the law.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
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