Welcome to the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup, where every month we will summarize and provide links to the latest stories impacting U.S. immigration.
Below is the August 2021 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:
Implications of remote and hybrid work on immigration status: What to consider when developing office strategies
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of employers transitioned to a remote-only or partially remote workplace in 2020 and into 2021, with 71% of workers who can do their jobs from home currently teleworking, according to a recent study performed by the Pew Research Center.
Many employers are now developing a return-to-work strategy as vaccines become more widely disseminated, while others are considering hybrid or remote-only environments as part of the permanent post-pandemic landscape.
Specific work locations have important implications for immigration compliance, and it is imperative that employers develop a system to track their employees’ locations.
Ur Jaddou confirmed as immigration agency director
Ur Jaddou was confirmed by the Senate and appointed as the next director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in early August.
Jaddou is the first Senate-confirmed USCIS director in more than two years, according to the congressional news outlet Roll Call.
“As a proud American and a daughter of immigrants, I am deeply humbled and honored to return to USCIS as director,” Jaddou said in a statement shortly after she was confirmed. “I look forward to leading a team of dedicated public servants committed to honoring the aspirations of people like my parents and millions of others who are proud to choose this country as their own. USCIS embodies America’s welcoming spirit as a land of opportunity for all and a place where possibilities are realized.”
“Since January, USCIS has taken immediate steps to reduce barriers to legal immigration, increase accessibility for immigration benefits, and reinvigorate the size and scope of humanitarian relief. As USCIS director, I will work each and every day to ensure our nation’s legal immigration system is managed in a way that honors our heritage as a nation of welcome and as a beacon of hope to the world; reducing unnecessary barriers and supporting our agency’s modernization.”
U.S. extends non-essential travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico
The United States land borders with both Canada and Mexico have been closed for “nonessential travel” since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those measures have been extended multiple times since they were initially put into place, most recently earlier this month. They will now last until at least Sept. 21, 2021.
“In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel,” the Department of Homeland Security wrote on Twitter in late August.
Find out more here via CNN.
Business leaders pressure Congress for immigration changes
Business leaders are calling on Democrats to include significant immigration reforms, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, “in their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package,” according to a report published by Roll Call in mid-August.
“After decades of waiting, our economy, the business community, workers and families simply cannot wait any longer,” Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, told Roll Call.
The Roll Call story added: “Democrats’ ability to pass immigration measures as part of reconciliation will hinge on an eventual determination from the Senate parliamentarian on whether such provisions comply with Senate reconciliation rules, which limit provisions to those affected by federal spending and revenue.”
International students remain a primary source of U.S. tech talent
In this piece, Forbes senior contributor Stuart Anderson examines new data from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) about the impact of international students at U.S. colleges and universities.
“The U.S. economy, technology companies and American universities owe a debt to international students,” Anderson writes. “Without international students, the United States would have far fewer graduate students and other highly-educated individuals with backgrounds in science and engineering, and an even more significant talent gap between economic demand and the ability to fill that demand.”
“A significant warning sign in the data: The number of full-time international students enrolled in graduate-level electrical engineering at U.S. universities declined 19.5% between 2015 and 2019. The number of full-time international students enrolled in graduate-level computer and information sciences at U.S. universities fell 9.5% between 2016 and 2019.”
U.S. developing plan to require foreign visitors to be vaccinated, official says
The United States is developing a plan that will ultimately require “nearly all foreign visitors” to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the country, according to this report from Reuters.
The plan will be a “part of eventually lifting travel restrictions that bar much of the world from entering the United States,” the report said.
“The White House wants to re-open travel, which would boost business for the airlines and tourism industry but is not ready to immediately lift restrictions because of the rising COVID-19 case load and highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant,” the report read.