• February 2011

Linda Rahal Updates Us on "The Invisible Fence"

By Linda Rahal
Attorney / Owner / Founder
Trow & Rahal, P.C.

Since opening our doors in 1993, Trow & Rahal has helped obtain visas for hundreds of employers who are bringing educated international professionals to work in America. In that time I have seen a dramatic shift in our immigration laws, and I firmly believe the U.S. government is building an “invisible fence” around our borders. In my opinion, this is not healthy for the fiscal future of the country.

Here’s why: If you build a tangible fence with gates, people know there is a barrier to entry and they can plan accordingly if they want to come through. But if you build an invisible fence, people can’t see it until they crash into it. There’s no way for them to plan or prepare, and so they plan to go elsewhere. That’s the unfortunate situation we are finding ourselves in today.

The result, I worry, is that a lot of creative and innovative people are being driven away, or are giving up on trying to come to the United States, because of a lack of transparency regarding the rules.

It’s incredibly frustrating for companies to hire foreign nationals or to bring foreign nationals from offices abroad when the rules for who can work in the country change regularly, and with no prior notice. Plus, there is inconsistent decision-making, which makes the system less predictable. What worked yesterday may not work today or tomorrow.

The bottom line is that this invisible fence is keeping the wrong people out.

That is why I started my blog, The Invisible Fence.

Each month I share thoughts and insights that explain what is happening in terms of immigration in corporations.

I am not alone speaking up about this plight. Back on December 12, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was featured on Meet The Press, where he continued his crusade against the invisible fence that our government is building.

The Mayor argued that the United States is keeping the wrong people out and reiterated his campaign to liberalize the restrictions on immigration for highly skilled workers. He realizes they will bring innovation to the United States and help improve the U.S. economy, and espouses that the U.S. open its doors for those who have the skills from around the world.

Bloomberg also advocates issuing a green card to any foreign national who graduates from a U.S. university with a graduate degree (which was first advocated by Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, who is also the author of The World is Flat).

“Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory asked: “As you look at this landscape of spending, entitlements, other parts of the budget, immigration, what is a tough choice that you would support Washington making now that moves the country forward?”

The Mayor answered: “First thing is to open the doors to those with the skills we need from around the world. [As far as] the whole issue of what you do with 11 million undocumented, I feel very strongly we should give them a path to citizenship.

“But, regardless, the whole issue of family reunification, it’s a compassion thing, understand that, but we cannot let those two issues, which are controversial and will take some time to work out, get in the way of right away starting to make sure anybody that gets a graduate degree in America from overseas gets a green card attached to their diploma.

“That’s the way that we are going to keep going. You know, all these other countries are trying to attract the best and the brightest, and we’re helping them. It’s even worse, we’re educating them and then helping them. This is craziness. I call it national suicide. We have to go and, and get the immigrants here. So the first thing I would do is that, and that doesn’t cost any money.” “Watch the “Meet the Press” video clip on YouTube.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyXGiTqdrls Read the entire transcript here.

CIS denies L-1 extension: Another example of the problem

Earlier in December, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) posted an entry on its blog entitled, “USCIS: You Can Help the Economy.” Written by the leadership of the organization, it talks about another L-1 case that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied for someone who had already invested in the United States, started a business, and created 10 jobs.

This case represents one of many where the USCIS is interpreting L-1 regulations more strictly than previously to deny visas to people who want to invest in the United States, bring business to the United States, hire U.S. workers, and help the U.S. economy.

This is just one more example of the invisible fence that the USCIS is building through its new interpretations of regulations causing denials of visas for immigrants who are actually helping the United States. These new interpretations are keeping the wrong people out! While the person in this case was able to obtain another visa and remain in the United States and thereby save the 10 U.S. jobs at stake, this option isn’t always available. Click here to read the blog entry..