U.S. Election and High-Skilled Immigration Reform
9 Nov, 2016
Last night, Donald Trump upended U.S. politics and defeated Secretary Hilary Clinton in the presidential election. From day one of his campaign, President-elect Trump made immigration enforcement and control a centerpiece of his political platform, carrying the theme throughout the election. He committed to building a Mexican-financed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, declared that he would suspend immigration from certain regions, and said that he would “end the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program.” He also stated, however, that he will welcome immigrants. His companies have leveraged high-skilled and low-skilled visa categories to meet their staffing needs.
Trump’s Immigration Plan
President-elect Trump’s 10 point plan states that, upon assuming the office, he will:
- Begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border, on day one. Mexico will pay for the wall.
- End catch-and-release. Under a Trump administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country.
- Move criminal aliens out day one, in joint operations with local, state, and federal law enforcement. We will terminate the Obama administration’s deadly, non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.
- End sanctuary cities.
- Immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties. All immigration laws will be enforced – we will triple the number of ICE agents. Anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country.
- Suspend the issuance of visas to any place where adequate screening cannot occur, until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place.
- Ensure that other countries take their people back when we order them deported.
- Ensure that a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system is fully implemented at all land, air, and sea ports.
- Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet. Many immigrants come to the U.S. illegally in search of jobs, even though federal law prohibits the employment of illegal immigrants.
- Reform legal immigration to serve the best interests of America and its workers, keeping immigration levels within historic norms.
Though his platform focuses on immigration enforcement, President-elect Trump often criticized the H-1B program while on the campaign trail. U.S. workers who had allegedly been displaced by companies that leverage high-skilled visa categories frequently spoke at campaign events.
It is therefore expected that President-elect Trump’s administration will seek to modify high-skilled immigration policies. But what the policies will look like, when the policies will be implemented, and whether any changes will survive legal challenge, are questions that will be answered in the weeks, months and years ahead.
BAL encourages companies to participate in our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, November 16, to learn about the election and what the implications will be for high-skilled immigration.
Participants in the webinar will include Lynden Melmed, who served as counsel to the Senate Immigration Subcommittee the last time Republicans controlled the White House and Congress, and Scott Corley, one of the leading advocates for high-skilled immigration reform and current Executive Director of Compete America. They will address key questions, including:
- Which regulations will the Obama administration finalize before January 20, 2017?
- Can Trump unilaterally suspend immigration or end the DACA program for undocumented children?
- Will a Republican Congress be willing to tackle H-1B reform and the green card backlog?
- How should employers advise their employees regarding travel and the potential for delays and increased scrutiny?
- How should companies prepare for an upcoming shift in enforcement priorities?
What Employers Should Know Today:
- Donald Trump will be sworn in on January 20, 2017.
- Prior to that date, and absent new policy guidance from the Obama administration, employees should not expect additional or different scrutiny when they travel or when they otherwise seek immigration benefits (e.g. extension of H-1B or L-1B status).
- BAL expects the Obama administration to finalize several immigration-related regulations before January 20. BAL is closely monitoring the rulemaking process and will provide updates as information becomes available.
For Event Questions: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.