How Trump Administration is Impacting Immigration in Pennsylvania

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign ran largely on promises to change immigration laws and reform the country’s immigration system as a whole. From building a border wall on the Mexican border to shutting out all Syrian refugees, there was certainly plenty of buzz about immigration as the Trump Administration moved into the White House. Now, a few months later, what has changed and how does this impact the immigration population of Pennsylvania?

H-1B Visa Reform Proposals

Individuals and businesses have had some issue with the way H-1B visas are distributed for quite a while now. The current system uses a lottery to randomly assign 85,000 H-1B visas for foreign specialists seeking gainful employment in America; 20,000 of those employment visas are restricted to foreign specialists with particularly advanced degrees. Companies that rely on foreign specialists for their business to succeed, such as many in budding districts around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, cannot really predict if they will be able to get the new employees they need, or hold onto the ones they have.

But rather than raising the H-1B visa cap limit, the Trump Administration wants to put tighter security on the process overall. It believes that certain companies or individuals might be gaming the system to win petition tickets automatically in the lottery. If new restrictions are put into place through a federal order, it could mean all states, including Pennsylvania, will need to comply with regulations that make it even harder for businesses to secure the workforce desired.

Sanctuary Cities & Increased ICE Activity

The controversial immigration ban executive order was blocked by state-level Supreme Courts, so not much lasting impact was made there. Instead, noticeable changes were made to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Most notably, the agency’s raid schedule was increased, especially in Border States. Stories have arisen coast-to-coast about ICE agents knocking on doors, finding undocumented immigrants, and placing them into removal processes. The Trump Administration also asked local law enforcement officers to perform ICE agent duties whenever possible but without additional compensation.

In response to the increased ICE activity, many cities and counties have declared themselves as “sanctuaries” for undocumented immigrants. In so many words, a sanctuary promises it will not take active steps to locate undocumented immigrants, nor will its police force complete ICE-only duties. In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is the only current sanctuary city but there are multiple sanctuary counties, such as nearby Montgomery County. It is important for undocumented immigrants to remember that they have constitutional rights as well, regardless of recent executive orders.

Do you need legal representation for a criminal defense, employment law, or constitutional law case? Contact Scaringi Law and our Pennsylvania attorneys today. We have a wide professional background and years of combined legal experience to put to good use for your case.


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