Trump’s trade and immigration stances are partly right and partly wrong, economists say

By Don LeeContact Reporter

Donald Trump’s economic message is loud and clear: Misguided Washington policymakers have allowed foreign countries to steal American jobs, and uncontrolled immigration is driving wages down.

Trump is partly right in saying that trade has cost the U.S. economy jobs and held down wages.

He may also be correct — to a degree — in saying that low-skilled immigrants have depressed salaries for certain jobs or industries, the latest economic research shows.

Where Trump gets things wrong, economists say, is in exaggerating the downside and ignoring the benefits that trade and immigration provide to the economy.

And his proposed solutions, such as imposing a 45% tariff on Chinese imports and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, would make the economy worse, not better, many experts warn.

“Slapping high tariffs would be catastrophic for a wide range of American businesses,” said John McLaren, an economics professor at the University of Virginia. “It would throw the World Trade Organization into chaos. We would be open to all sorts of retaliation, and that would likely trigger a trade war that would be devastating.”

Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, warned last week that Trump’s policies would be disastrous for the U.S. economy. “If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into a prolonged recession,” Romney said in an unprecedented attack by the party’s onetime standard-bearer against the current front-runner.

Yet Trump’s diagnosis of the nation’s economic problems has tapped into deep-seated concerns about globalization shared by millions of Americans.

Recent research backs him up partly. Studies increasingly have confirmed that imports and trade deficits, notably involving China, have led to significant losses for workers in the U.S. as well as in other countries, with the biggest impact on those without college degrees.

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have estimated that soaring Chinese imports resulted in a net loss of 2 million to 2.4 million domestic jobs from 1999 to 2011. Chinese imports to the U.S. reached a record $482 billion last year.

At the same time, Trump exaggerates the extent of these impacts, economists say.

“Yes, Trump is hitting on something that’s real, yet he’s exploiting it in a way that’s distorted the issue.” said Harry Holzer, a public policy professor at Georgetown University.

For example, economists note that the wave of globalization and imports has also reduced prices of goods, benefiting poorer American families. Thanks to cheaper imports, the dollars of all Americans go further — not just at Wal-Mart but at the Apple Store and other upscale establishments.

“It may be that it’s enough to offset the effect on wages,” McLaren said.

Holzer and other experts also say that technology, skills-training and other policy choices have played more significant roles than trade in the worsening condition of many workers — and these are factors that are largely ignored by Trump.

In blaming immigrants for America’s economic troubles, Trump is on even more slippery ground.

Although some studies have suggested that low-skilled immigrant labor reduces wages in certain industries, whether meatpacking or gardening, the bulk of economic research analyzing data over the last 40 years shows that immigration has had no significant detrimental impact on wages or employment for American workers overall, said Giovanni Peri, a leading authority on the subject at UC Davis.

On the contrary, Peri said it may have more of the opposite effect. Large-scale immigrant labor adds to demand for services. Immigrants hold down costs of farm products, child-care and other goods and services. Moreover, in doing manual work, Peri said, immigrants create opportunities for those companies to create other jobs in sales, clerical or management that are more attractive and likely to be taken by native-born workers.

One in six U.S. workers is foreign-born. Immigrant workers are much more likely to work in service industries, and in construction, warehousing and maintenance jobs. The median pay for foreign-born workers was $664 a week in 2014, or 81% of the pay for U.S.-born, according to the Labor Department.

College-educated immigrants, on the other hand, earn slightly more than their U.S.-born counterparts, reflecting the larger share of foreign-born workers with graduate or professional degrees.

And immigrants are disproportionately starting new businesses and injecting capital and fresh ideas into the economy.

In a recent study of about 900 individuals who have contributed to notable technological innovations, a little more than one-third were found to be immigrants, although they account for just 13.5% of the nation’s overall population.

“Even if there’s some evidence of constraining wages at the lower end, it’s hard to make the case that high-skilled immigration is not a win-win,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan research group in Washington that produced the study on Demographics of Innovation.

Atkinson credits Trump for talking about trade and immigration in the context of America’s economic competitiveness, but worries that the candidate’s fiery comments will hamper efforts to increase work visas for people with expertise in science, technology, engineering and math — known as STEM.

“I understand why Trump’s message — ‘make America great again’ — is getting resonance,” Atkinson said. But “the purple rhetoric around immigrants taking our jobs — that’s going to flow into STEM immigration and make it harder to deal with.”

Maybe not. Previously Trump had advocated eliminating work visas for high-skilled immigrants, but during the debate Thursday he changed his tune.

“We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in,” Trump said. “I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.”

Hours later his campaign issued another statement, reversing again and saying Trump still opposes such visas.

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GOP Cares a Lot Less About Immigration Than Donald Trump Says

Immigration — the singular issue that catapulted Donald Trump to a near uncontested power grab of the GOP presidential nomination — is almost universally the issue that Republican voters care the least about.

In exit polls from nearly every state so far this primary season, Republican voters ranked immigration as dead last when asked to choose the “most important” issues facing the country. Instead, the economy, jobs and government spending routinely topped as the most pressing concerns.

As for “amnesty” — a term so reviled by the right wing that candidates have contorted their words into Navy-grade knots just to avoid any association with the policy — the issue squares pretty down the middle for many Republican voters.

Republicans were asked about what’s known as amnesty in just a handful of states, but in each, roughly half of voters said they supported offering undocumented immigrants a chance to apply for legal status in the U.S. In most all cases, even a sizable share of Trump supporters said they backed what is effectively amnesty.

Trump’s early ascent in the race built on vilifying undocumented immigrants as the source of America’s festering problems. His status at the top of polls appeared to be buoyed by each new discriminatory policy proposal — building a giant wall at the border, deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., even unprecedented degrees of expressly discriminatory actions toward Muslims.

And now Trump is well on his way to clinching enough delegates to secure the nomination. And yet, the issue at the heart of his candidacy — and one of the few areas where Trump actually has outlined a clear policy stance — doesn’t appear to resonate with voters at a level that echoes the vitriol in his rhetoric.

The disconnect taps into the theme of style over substance dominating the GOP presidential field. Trump started from day one saying things that no other politician would be caught dead uttering. His rise in popularity gave a stiff middle finger to conventional politics, and when an issue became too controversial, Trump would respond by doubling down.

But instead of running with the talking points that keep Trump perennially in the headlines, voters are concerned about the issues that they tend to always worry about — indeed, it’s the economy, stupid.

What’s important to note is that the four issues that voters are asked to rank in exit polls — immigration, economy/jobs, terrorism and government spending — are invariably interconnected. For example, a voter could care about immigration primarily through an economic lens and raise concerns about cheap labor or displaced jobs. But by and large, the low rankings for immigration makes sense in that it doesn’t impact the average American’s day to day.

Nevada was single outlier where the last place rankings were not statistically significant — immigration and terrorism hovered as the two lower-tiered issues. But the state also that has the highest proportion of undocumented immigrants in the country.

The rankings are significant in providing a road map of voters’ priorities that are expected from a potential presidential nominee. For an issue as politically toxic as immigration, would a new president want to expend their first-term political capital on an issue that ranks low on the priority list of voters?

This gets at the GOP fault lines over “amnesty.” For all the public rancor over allowing undocumented immigrants to work legally in the U.S., the exit polls over the last few months reflect public opinion going back several years. The American public has been divided almost directly in half on how to address the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently estimated to be in the country.

And so, despite Trump’s resounding Super Tuesday sweep, do voters universally support his policies? According to exit polls, not particularly. They seem pretty divided. Except for one very important issue.

In states across the Northeast and deep South, Republican voters in exit polls said they would support a temporary ban on allowing Muslims enter the United States. In New Hampshire, 65 percent of Republicans backed the ban. In Tennessee, it was 71 percent. Arkansas had a resounding 76 percent.

What’s apparent out of the recent exit polls is that a controversial position, like banning an entire class of people based on their faith, is becoming increasingly the norm in this presidential election cycle.

On one hand, Trump is playing up his outsider status by truly thinking outside of the box. On the other hand, there’s a reason no other candidate has dared to go this far.

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Industry lobby CII slams US decision to raise visa fees for temporary tech workers

By Anirban Sen

BENGALURU: Industry lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has come out strongly against the recent decision by US policymakers to raise fees for H1B and L1 visas for temporary high-skilled workers, saying that the law was not only “highly discriminatory” but would also end up having “a very negative impact on American businesses.”

Earlier in December, the US house of representatives passed a $1.15-trillion spending bill, as part of which companies that have more than 50 employees and more than 50 per cent of employees on H1B or L1 Visa status will have to pay an additional $ 4,000 per H-1B visa application.

“The law is highly discriminatory and punitive and is specifically geared towards India and Indian-centric technology companies. Companies having more than 50 employees and having more than 50 per cent of their US employees on h1B and L1 visas would have to pay the new fee when the next visa application session kicks off on April 1, 2016,” CII said in a statement on Tuesday.

Almost all Indian IT companies will now have to fork out between $ 8,000 and $ 10,000 per H1B visa from April 1, when the next annual H-1B visa filing session starts, as part of the new bill which was signed into law by US President Barack Obama.

The controversial law is expected to severely impact India’s top outsourcing firms, as it will raise the cost of doing business in the US for these firms and impact their business models. India’s largest software firms TCS and Infosys typically send thousands of employees on temporary work visas to the US, which generates over 60% of revenues for India’s $146-billion IT industry.

“The fee, in addition to the documentation process involving premium processing fees, Lawyers, Social security, Medicare add a huge financial burden on these companies. This move could also have a very negative effect on American businesses that include the Fortune 500 companies and their access to highly-skilled IT talent that Indian companies provide. The net effect of increased fees will lead to more work going offshore and will undercut efforts to build a US tech workforce, while at the same time will hinder US companies’ ability to innovate,” CII said.

CII, which urged US lawmakers to rethink the provisions of the bill that specifically targeted Indian IT firms, said that the new law this move may end up having “a very detrimental effect on the two way trade and commercial partnership” between the US and India.

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Obama signs Omnibus spending bill into law; raises H1B visa fee


U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday signed into law a USD 1.8 trillion spending package which among other things introduces a hefty USD 4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and USD 4,500 for L1 visa.

The law comes as a shock for the Indian IT companies as they would have to pay millions of dollars while applying for H-1B visas, as they heavily rely on this work visa for highly skilled IT workers to get their work done in the U.S.

Indian IT companies have termed it as highly discriminatory and punitive as the text of the legislation has been written in such a way that such a high fee would have to be paid by only major Indian IT companies.

Companies having more than 50 employees and having more than 50 per cent of their US employees on H-1B and L1 visas would have to pay the new fee when the next visa application session kicks off on April 1, 2016.

This year’s Congressional approved quota of 65,000 H-1B visas was filled up in the first few days of the start of the application process on April 1.

In fact the U.S. government had to resort to a computerized draw of lots as it received several times the quota of 65,000.

The ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016’ signed into law by Obama, includes a USD 1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government until September 30, 2016, as well as a USD 680 billion tax package.

Among other things, the new law makes US aid to Pakistan more stringent by asking the secretaries of state and defense to certify that Islamabad is taking actions against terrorist networks and meeting other conditions.

But the provision of a national interest waiver nullifies such conditionalities.

The law also paves the way for the implementation of the long pending IMF Quota and Governance Reforms.

Approved and passed by the IMF in 2010, it could not be implemented because the Congress had not passed it.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the adoption of legislation by the U.S. Congress to authorize the 2010 Quota and Governance Reforms is a welcome and crucial step forward that will strengthen the IMF in its role of supporting global financial stability.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said essential to this legislation are the IMF quota and governance reforms.

“The IMF has promoted stability, jobs and growth for the past 70 years, and these reforms will strengthen the US leadership position in this critical institution, while putting the Fund on a strong financial footing,” he said.

“Along with passage of Trade Promotion Authority and the conclusion of the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement this year, the IMF reforms reinforce the central leadership role of the United States in the global economic system and demonstrate our commitment to maintaining that position,” Mr. Lew said.

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New US bill with H1B visa curbs to hurt IT firms

by Shilpa Phadnis

BENGALURU: The US is set to pass a bill on immigration with major implications for the $146-billion Indian IT sector and its employees. The bill seeks to prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people in the US and more than 50% of those employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

The bill, if passed, will place severe restrictions on Indian IT companies that are the largest users of H-1B visas. Though companies do not disclose the data, it is believed that the large Indian IT companies have more than 50% of their employees on H-1Bs and L-1s.

Last week, Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin introduced a bipartisan legislation that would reform the H-1B visa program, consistent with the US Congress’s intent to ensure that qualified American workers are given the first opportunity at high-skilled job opportunities. The duo has argued that the H-1B visa was meant to fill gaps in specialized areas that cannot be filled by Americans. “There’s a sense of urgency here for Americans who are losing their jobs to lesser skilled workers who are coming in at lower wages on a visa program that has gotten away from its original intent. Reform of the H-1B visa program must be a priority,” Grassley said in a press statement recently.

The two have argued that outsourcing companies import large numbers of H-1B and L-1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home country to do the work of Americans.

Indian IT companies have been the largest recipients of H-1B visas and have come under intense scrutiny by lawmakers. “Undoubtedly, this is a major set-back for Indian IT companies. The Bill, if it goes on to become a law, would be a speed breaker for the thriving IT business. Even though the Bill purportedly targets saving ‘qualified American jobs’, this development should also be seen in the background of the forthcoming US Presidential elections scheduled in 2016. Senators will take up people centric issues,” said Rakesh Prabhu, partner-immigration practice in Bengaluru-based ALMT Legal.

Vikram Shroff, head of HR law practice at leading law firm Nishith Desai Associates, said while the Bill does not seek a complete ban on H-1B and L-1 visas, given that Indian technology companies are heavily dependent on this route to send their employees to the US for implementing client projects, any restriction imposed on such visa categories was likely to lead to a significant impact and could trigger a review of their client commitments and existing business model.

The Bill also gives the labor department enhanced authority to review, investigate, and audit employer compliance with program requirements, as well as to penalize fraudulent or abusive conduct. It requires the production of extensive statistical data about the H-1B and L-1 programs, including wage data, worker education levels, place of employment and gender. “If this Bill is enacted, US companies would be prohibited from hiring foreign workers under the H-1B and L-1 visa categories if at least 50% of their employees have already been employed on such visas. The Bill also gives wide powers to the law enforcement authorities to investigate and penalize for non-compliances,” Shroff said.

Ryan’s cynical statements on immigration reform

By Raul A. Reyes, contributor

Well, that was fast. Only three days after being sworn in as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has made it clear that he will not be working with the Obama administration on immigration reform. “Look, I think it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue,” Ryan said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Ryan said that because the president had tried to “go it alone” on immigration, there would be no movement on the issue until at least 2017.

The argument that President Obama cannot be trusted on immigration is a cliche that ignores history. The fact that Ryan is openly stating that he will not be working on an issue of critical importance is as cynical as it is predictable. By making this commitment to not even attempt to lead, he is handing the Democrats an issue to capitalize on in 2016.On Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Ryan said, “The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue (immigration) because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.” Ryan conveniently forgets that the president only acted after former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refused to bring the bipartisan Gang of Eight immigration bill up for a vote. That bill, the best shot at reforming our broken immigration system in a generation, likely would have passed the House with bipartisan support. But Boehner was unwilling to anger his far-right caucus, or hand the president a victory, and the bill died in the House.

Besides, it is inaccurate of Ryan to say that the president tried to “rewrite the law himself.” Obama simply attempted to do what every president as far back as Eisenhower has done, which is to take lawful executive action on immigration. He was not offering anyone “amnesty,” a green card or a path to citizenship. He was offering temporary relief from deportation in face of continued inaction by House Republicans.

In fact, before he announced his executive action on immigration, Obama showed restraint and willingness to compromise. In January 2014, he said during a Google Hangout that he would not seriously consider executive actions until the House had had its chance to develop its own legislation, which it never did. In 2013, he said he was open to a piecemeal approach to immigration, and in January 2014, he said that he would consider legislation that did not include a path to citizenship.

Obama also delayed the timing of his executive action for months, angering immigration reform advocates, because he was determined to give the House every last chance to act. Presenting Obama’s executive action on immigration out of context, as Ryan did, is self-serving and deceptive.

If Ryan’s comments on Obama being “untrustworthy” on immigration sound familiar, that’s because we’ve heard these excuses before. Boehner played this same blame game in 2014. “There is widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said last year, “and it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.” Yet Obama was responsible for record levels of deportations, in a misguided attempt to prove to Republicans that he could work with them on immigration. Instead, all he got for his efforts was the ire of immigrant and Latino advocacy organizations, and the ugly label “Deporter-in-Chief.”

Sure, coming out against immigration reform will probably win Ryan short-term support among the so-called Freedom Caucus. However, in the long run, he risks losing his influence and position, because Democrats will have a field day mobilizing Latino voters around the immigration issue in the upcoming election. And consider that the public continues to favor letting undocumented immigrants stay here. An August Gallup poll found that 79 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship or legal status for the undocumented, while an NBC News poll found that a majority of Republican voters do as well.

It appears the new House Speaker has learned little from the troubled tenure of his predecessor. Ryan’s readiness to blame Obama for his own lack of leadership on immigration is dangerous for the GOP and bad news for the nation.

Reyes is an attorney and columnist in New York City.

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At border, Trump says he backs legal immigration

David Jackson, USA TODAY

Donald Trump spent Thursday touring the U.S.-Mexico border, the area that has fueled his rise in Republican politics and spawned criticism of him by opponents and Hispanic groups.

“There is a huge problem with the illegals coming through,” Trump said during his visit, repeating his pledge to build a wall on parts of the too-leaky border.

“In certain sections, you have to have a wall,” Trump said.

Under attack for accusing Mexico of sending “criminals” and “rapists” across the U.S. border, Trump said he supports legal immigration, and claimed that most Hispanics agree with him. The New York businessman, wearing a white hat with the slogan “Make America Great Again,”  said he employs “thousands” of Hispanics, and his relationships with them are very good.

Another sign said: “Trump’s hair is illegal.”

Asked about the protesters, Trump said he didn’t notice them, but did mention demonstrators who “were chanting for me.”

Many of Trump’s Republican opponents said he is providing false information about migrants, and that his harsh tone is turning off moderate voters of all stripes.

Former Texas governor Rick Perry said he’s glad the businessman is “finally” traveling to the border, and “I hope he will explain to the Hispanic Americans he meets why he thinks they are rapists and murderers.”

During a brief news conference, someone told Trump that “killers come from all over the globe.” Trump replied, “I agree with that.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex., criticized local elected officials in the Laredo for accommodating the visitor. “Donald Trump just used you and the other council members to make him look good,” he said in a tweet. “Embarrassing for South Texas and Hispanics.”

The Republican candidate, who’s leading recent national polls, met with local law enforcement officials, with one notable exception: A union of border patrol agents says its members would not accompany him, because, they said, the event had become too politicized.

“Just to be clear, an endorsement was never discussed for any presidential candidate,” said a statement from Hector Garza, president of Local 2455 of the National Border Patrol Council. “Local 2455 does not endorse candidates for any political office.”

Trump said border agents extended the invitation in order to show the “the tremendous problems” and “:the tremendous crime” they have to deal with. He accused the agents’ superiors in Washington, D.C., of silencing them just ahead of the visit, and said that agents “want to be able to do their jobs.”

In his statement, Garza said “our intentions to meet with Mr. Trump was to provide a ‘Boots on the Ground’ perspective to not only Mr. Trump, but to the media that would be in attendance at this event.”  Now, he said, “it has been decided by Local 2455 to pull out of all events involving Donald Trump.”

Garza also said, “make no mistake, our border with Mexico is not secure and there’s no doubt that we need to have an honest discussion about that with the American people. Local 2455 will continue to represent our members to the best of our abilities and will make sure that our members concerns are heard by the American people.”

Trump has made illegal immigration the centerpiece of his insurgent campaign, but also has drawn criticism from immigration groups who say the businessman is anti-Hispanic.

After his tour, Trump also pledged to drive tougher trade deals with Mexico, China, and other global competitors. “I’ll bring those jobs back, and the Hispanics are going to get those jobs,” Trump said.

Trump also thanked local officials for touring with him.

“We were treated so nicely,” Trump said. “We learned so much.”

Trump, who traveled to border areas in a long motorcade with heavy security, including roadblocks that backed up local traffic, said he felt compelled to make the trip despite safety concerns. A USA TODAY investigation in 2011 found that U.S. border cities were statistically safer on average than other cities in their states.

The Economic and Moral Toll of Our Immigration Bureaucracy

One of the barriers to comprehensive immigration reform is the misguided belief that talented foreigners willing to work for less are taking jobs from American workers. To address this problem, some suggest that the number of H-1B visas that allow people with special skills to work here should be reduced. This argument is wrong.

If America is going to continue producing the largest and most innovative companies in the world, we need access to more talented workers, not fewer. Immigration is a complicated issue, but removing barriers for those who already have a willing employer should be comparatively simple.

If you talk to any entrepreneur, he or she will tell you the data agrees with their personal experience. Finding and retaining top talent is as difficult and competitive as ever: Forgivable loans, signing bonuses, stock incentives and bidding wars are often the new normal. This is a good thing for those lucky enough to be here already, but relying on labor shortages to keep wages high is fundamentally inefficient.

There’s ample evidence to suggest that bringing in great numbers of qualified workers would raise wages, not repress them. An often-cited statistic from a study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute found that every job created in the high-tech sector nets four more jobs spread out over the local economy. Critically, by reducing the number of high-skill visas, we don’t save jobs — we reduce them.

Here in California, the problem is even more pronounced. LA-based Science, one of the city’s startup builders, is awash with young companies that are hiring people to fill all sorts of roles, not just engineers; two of these companies, SpringRole and FameBit, were both founded by recent immigrants working on H-1B visas. More than 76 percent of patents processed by the University of California in 2011 were held by at least one foreign-born inventor.

When you look at the founding teams of Google, PayPal, Yahoo, Tesla and Facebook, you see one thing in common: At least one immigrant. An immigrant is twice as likely as others to start their own businesses. This should come as no surprise — immigrants must save up, take risks and work extraordinarily hard just to come to the U.S. It’s hard to imagine better training for the determination and boldness it takes to be an effective business leader.

To ensure American competitiveness both now and in the future, we must make the entire process simpler and more compassionate. To start, we could peg the number of H-1Bs to GDP growth, as opposed to the arbitrary thresholds we use now, and we must think of a better system than to have cumbersome and inefficient lotteries that offer no rational assurance of getting visas. We must also work on expanding the number of green cards available to immigrants, and make it much easier for foreign-born students to stay in the country, start a business and create American jobs.

It is evident that Congress is failing our businesses with a broken immigration system that erects barriers to recruiting new talent and undermines our global competitiveness. Failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform also keeps millions of people in the shadows and incentivizes an underground economy. In order to ensure the longevity of our nation’s economic success, we need to create policies that harness human potential and empower our businesses and job creators, not hinder them.

America’s immigrant population has been a cornerstone of our success, and there is no doubt that access to the world’s best and brightest is part of why we enjoy such prosperity today. Retaining that advantage demands that we continue to be a country that attracts top talent. If America is going to compete in the 21st century, we need comprehensive immigration reform now and one element of that reform needs to be improving America’s ability to provide a workforce that employers need.

Legal Loophole Allows Out of Status Students to Get Work Visa

Being a full time international student can be expensive and maintain student status isn’t always easy. Sometimes, through of fault of their own, an international student will fall out of status. Falling out of status can happen for a variety of reasons including but not limited to running out of funds. For example, in one recent case our office encountered an international student who was traveling to Canada in 2002 got stuck there and could not re-enter the USA because our government was having technical problems with the SEVIS student computer system. By the time he was able to re-enter the United States, the semester was already halfway over and the school would not allow him to enroll. Later, he found out that his failure to enroll — which was not his fault — was an immigration status violation making him out of legal status. He did not know what to do until he consulted with The Immigration Professor, Attorney Robert A. Perkins.

As it turns out, the client had several college degrees and with our help his employer was able to sponsor him for an H-1B work visa. The client was able to get approved for this visa in the USA and interviewed at his home embassy to get his visa stamp. Unlawful presence in the USA of more than six (6) months normally bars a client from entering the USA for three (3) years. However, during the interview, our office showed the embassy a legal loophole which says that a student who is admitted to the USA for Duration of Status (“D/S”) does not accumulate any unlawful presence. Based on this loophole the client was able to enter the USA with his new H-1B visa.

There are many more exceptions to the unlawful presence bar. For more information about this or any immigration issue please call, click or visit us. Contact The Immigration Professor at 310-384-0200,