Immigration: Issues With the H1B Visa Program

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
          -Emma Lazarus

That quote used to be imprinted on the Welcome Mat of the United States.  Now, it’s been replaced by: “I’m sorry.  The hotel is full.  Next time make a reservation.”

In recent weeks, the new Administration of the United States has seen fit to clamp down on immigration.  There’s been fiery rhetoric about “bad hombres” apparently sneaking across the United States border with Mexico.  There was the now famous “refugee ban” that created chaos, confusion, hysteria and, now, has been replaced by a new policy that seems also destined to be the subject of multiple court challenges.  There’s even been talk about breaking up families – deporting adults who arrived in this country without going through proper channels but allowing their U.S.-born children to stay.  All of which has created a highly unstable and unpredictable situation with regard to the issue of immigration.

But the issue has not been limited to targeting refugees from nations in the Middle East or undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Latin America.  Indeed, a crucial part of immigration policy is the H1B Visa policy.  The H1B Visa “is a non-immigrant visa which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations for three years, extendable to six years.”

“The H1B visa is designed to be used for foreign workers in ‘speciality occupations’, which require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.”  Id.  Included in the list of those occupations are: “architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, biotechnology, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts.”  Id.

Such workers are in particularly high demand in Silicon Valley and the medical sector.  See

However, there now seems to be a movement afoot to crack down on the issuing of such visas.  “On March 03, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it will temporarily suspend premium processing for H-1B visas from April 03.”

People fear this may be the beginning of a bigger push by the Trump Administration to severely disrupt the H1B Visa system.

For this reason, now more than ever, those who hold H1B Visas that are nearing the period for renewal or who may be seeking a H1B Visa need to be aware of the processes and procedures of that system.  Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy, which has a long history of fighting for justice, has been providing assistance to those in need of immigration counseling and is investigating this issue.


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