Welcome to Fall!
On Monday, October 12th, America will be celebrating Columbus Day—the celebration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas! In August 1492, Columbus and 90 crewmen set sail in search of the East Indies. On October 12, 1492, Columbus first saw the islands of the New World, landing in the Bahamas, and thought he had reached Southeast Asia. Columbus’s important journey was the first connection between Europe and the Americas, resulting in the permanent European colonies in the New World, which later became the United States of America.
SILICON VALLEY PUSHES FOR MORE HIGH-SKILLED FOREIGN WORKERS
FWD.us is a lobbying group that was co-founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that advocates for immigration reform. As the U.S. presidential campaign heats up, the tech tycoons behind FWD.us are pushing for presidential hopefuls allow more high-skilled immigrant workers to be able to legally live and work in the U.S to their political agendas. A spokesperson for the organization explained that the needs of today’s economy and market require that the current cap for these highly competitive work visas be raised. Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed legislation allowing 140,000 employment-based green cards and 65,000 H-1B visas each year. This year, the H-1B visa slots were filled within one week of accepting applications. The number of U.S. citizens who graduate with degrees in science, math, and engineering are not high enough to meet the demands of the U.S. tech industries. These low visa quotas are forcing extremely qualified foreign students who have been educated in the U.S. to leave to find work.
BUILDING WELCOMING COMMUNITIES CAMPAIGN
The White House has a Task Force whose goal is to improve the federal government’s immigrant and refugee integration efforts. The Task Force has launched two initiatives: the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign which aims to raise awareness about the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship and the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign. Local communities play a huge part in creating a welcoming environment for immigrants. Communities are encouraged to focus on civic, economic, and linguistic integration. To date, 40 communities (small and large cities and counties) have joined the campaign. Some of the participating cities are Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin, Los Angeles and more.
BIG CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION PRIORITIES
There are encouraging changes in immigration priorities, based on recently released statistics. Homeland Security’s (DHS) use of a controversial device to deport undocumented immigrants has declined by 30% in the last few months. Also, in a 6 month time period, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed 30% fewer requests with local police departments for detainers to hold undocumented immigrants targeted for deportation for 48 hours after their scheduled release from custody. Under a new policy, ICE can ask to be notified 48 hours before an immigrant is released from custody. These changes support DHS’s plans to focus enforcement efforts on convicted criminals, threats of terrorism, and those who have recently crossed the border illegally.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office!