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How secure will the future of legal employment-based immigration be under Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General? Roger Algase

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The following post has been revised and updated as of 3:45 pm on January 5:

For an article citing three economic studies by reputable research organizations, American Enterprise Institute, George Mason University and Cato Institute, rebutting Sessions' claims in his "Handbook" (see below) that legal immigrants take away jobs from American workers or lower their living standards, see:

http://reason.com/blog/2015/01/13/je...immigration-li

My revised original post follows:

Will legal employment-based immigration as we know know it continue in America without major negative changes if, as expected, Jeff Sessions is confirmed for the post of Attorney General in the Trump administration? If one takes a close look at his record and statements on this issue, the answer would have to be: don't count on it.

Two actions by Sessions, dating from around a year ago namely a bill that he sponsored in Congress which would have effectively gutted the entire H-1B program by making the eligibility requirements impossible for all but a very few people to meet, imposing high salary requirements well above usual prevailing wages, requiring hiring American workers first and imposing enormous employer fines for violations - see:

https://www.americanactionforum.org/...st-340000-jobs


and a January, 2015 "Handbook" that Sessions wrote for his fellow Congressional Republicans which advocated eliminating or vastly reducing most, if not all, other legal employment-based immigration, showed such bitter hostility to both skilled and less skilled employment-based immigration, that one can only wonder if there will be anything left of this category once Sessions assumes his new office. For a link to the "Handbook", see:

http://www.sessions.senate.gov/publi...h-congress.pdf

Most disturbing of all, on page 10 of the Handbook, Sessions has lavish praise for the notorious "Nordics"-only 1924 Coolidge era immigration law which virtually closed America's doors, not only to Asian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants, but also to Jewish and Catholic immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe.

Sessions, so far as I am aware, has never voted for union rights, minimum wage increases, equal pay legislation or other measures that would really benefit American workers. What is his real reason for wanting to reduce legal immigration levels in general?

Why did Trump support this same objective of reducing legal immigration to "historical levels" in his August 31, 2016 immigration address?

Writer and commentator Michael Arnovitz provides a profound an incisive answer to this question in his carefully researched and brilliantly argued article in medium.com

Donald Trump and the Politics of Race

https://medium.com/@michaelarnovitz/...a7d#.u7u3oc4ry

As Arnovitz shows, and as I will be discussing in more detail in future posts, the real issue in Trump's immigration policies will be whether he (and other opponents of the 1965 immigration reform law which did away with 40 years of whites only immigration quotas under the previous 1924 Coolidge-era law that Sessions has such high praise for) will try to overturn that reform, which has been the foundation of America's immigration policy for the past half century, and take the country back to the overtly racially restrictive immigration policies of a century ago.

In this light, we may be seeing major changes, not only in H-1B visas, but in many other employment-based immigration programs, after January 20. How secure will employers and employees alike be in relying on the integrity of these programs if they are being administered by a president and attorney general who may have other employment-based immigration policy goals, not just those of purportedly raising the living standards of American workers?
__________________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger's practice is focused in H-1B specialty worker and O-1 extraordinary ability work visas, and green cards through labor certification and opposite sex or same sex marriage. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com

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Updated 01-05-2017 at 10:15 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. MKolken's Avatar
    The moment Obama took office employment based immigration became a nightmare, with outlandish requests for evidence, unjustified denials, and revocations of previously approved petitions initiated during visa processing. AILA was required to establish a task force to address these concerns to no avail. I don't recall you voicing your concerns?
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Once again, Matt is confusing John the Baptist with the full Gospel, the Titanic's deckchairs with the iceberg, or to use an even more trite analogy, oranges and apples.

    Certainly, Matt is right that a lot of RFE's have become even more burdensome and outrageous under Obama than they already were under the two previous presidents. I have certainly received my share, and have answered the great majority of them successfully.

    Experienced lawyers such as Matt and myself also know what is likely to trigger an RFE in various types of employment based immigration petitions and to prepare a case carefully and thoroughly in order to avoid an RFE as much as possible.

    To use another analogy, what Matt is talking about is dealing with a windy day as opposed to a tornado or a typhoon.

    Compared to annoying and unnecessary RFE's, which every lawyer has to deal with, Sessions has proposed destroying entire key elements of the employment-based immigration system. About a year ago, for example, he sponsored a bill known as S. 2934, the "American Jobs First Act of 2015", which would have in effect eliminated H-1B visas entirely by imposing eligibility requirements such as having an advanced degree plus ten years of relevant experience after having received the degree, be offered a minimum salary of $110,000 no matter what the position or prevailing wage might actually be, and impose employer fines of up to $500,000 per violation, plus revocation of all existing H-1B visas for that employer. And oh, yes, require the employer to recruit American workers first.

    How many people would, or could be sponsored for H-1B visas with requirements like that? See:

    https://www.americanactionforum.org/...st-340000-jobs

    The only thing that Sessions left out of the bill was requiring an H-1B applicant to show work experience on Mars in order to be eligible.

    If Matt reads Sessions January 2015 "Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority", he will also find (on page 10) effusive praise for an immigration law passed during the Coolidge administration which allegedly helped American workers by "swinging the pendulum back" toward lower immigration levels.

    That law happens to be an obvious reference toward the notorious "Nordics" only 1924 "national origins" immigration act which virtually halted or drastically reduced immigration from southern and eastern Europe, not only the Middle East, Africa and Asia, in order to stop Jews and Catholics from coming in (just as Trump now wants to do with Muslims).

    Sessions, who has not supported any pro-worker union rights or minimum wage increases that I know of, may not want to make America's working people self-sustaining again, but there are many signs that he wants to make America's immigration policies white again.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 01-05-2017 at 10:08 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. MKolken's Avatar
    Roger,

    I don't have to read Session's handbook, as I have read the actual legislation that I helped draft back in the 113th Congress that was shelved the moment Obama went full-executive action. I also have inside knowledge of what may be in store for the 115th to help fix holes on the employment side of the current law. But keep screaming Chicken Little.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    You may have inside knowledge of upcoming immigration proposals. I can only go by publicly available comments and proposals that Sessions or Trump himself have made. These are not proposals that augur well for the future of legal immigration in America in the new administration, for reasons that I have explained above.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
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