There are about 34 million people who live in Colorado and throughout the United States as legal immigrants. Some have temporary visas that allow them to work or study in the country while others have permanent legal status. Individuals may enter the country if they have family members who are willing to sponsor them. However, proposed changes to the immigration system would put a greater emphasis on the characteristics of the person looking to enter the country.
It's getting harder for people from other nations to secure employment in California and the rest of the country due to factors like an improving economy and Presidential executive orders. More than 200,000 individuals applied for H1-B skilled worker visas in 2019; only 85,000 such visas will be issued. The H1-B lottery was used to select 42% of applicants, but those applicants have more to do before their visas are approved.
Immigrant organizations in California and around the country are concerned about a presidential memorandum issued on April 22 that orders the Secretary of State to open talks with countries that have visa overstay rates of 10% or more. The vast majority of the countries affected are African. The organizations question the validity of the memorandum because it relies on data from Department of Homeland Security entry and exit reports to calculate overstay rates.
California's state sanctuary laws were upheld by a federal appeals court on Apr. 18, in a rejection of a lawsuit filed by the Trump administration. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that California's state laws do not unlawfully interfere with federal immigration enforcement. Earlier, the Trump administration sued the state over three laws, including one that prohibits local law enforcement officials from informing federal immigration agencies about the release dates for imprisoned immigrants.
Those who are hoping to immigrate to California from Mexico may be denied a visa if they are deemed to be a potential drain on the United States government. One man was refused a spousal visa because the government believed that he could become a public charge. This was despite the fact that he had a guaranteed job paying him $18 per hour as well as a relative who pledged to provide financial support if necessary.
Many people in California have been following developments regarding the Trump Administration's policy plans to require asylum-seekers from Central America to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed inside the United States. A federal judge acted on April 8 to block implementation of the order, saying that the Department of Homeland Security was exceeding its authority under immigration law. The judge ordered the plaintiffs who had brought the case, including migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to enter the United States in the coming two days.
California residents may be interested in hearing how President Donald Trump doubled down on his threat to close the United States' border with Mexico. Through tweets, he reiterated his thought that fixing the immigration laws would be easy and placed blame for what he considered "stupid immigration laws" on Democrats.
Companies in California and across the country, especially in the tech sector, are working to adjust to a sudden change announced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On March 19, less than two weeks before the April 1 deadline for H-1B applications, USCIS declared a new procedure for premium processing of some of these applications. The H-1B process involves companies looking to hire highly skilled international workers. In many cases, the workers involved are recent or soon-to-be graduates of U.S. universities with advanced scientific skills and technical training. Successful H-1B visa applicants are chosen under a lottery process that restricts the number of visas available for qualified workers.
The U.S. Supreme Court voted along ideological lines on March 19 when it ruled that immigrants in California and around the country who have spent time behind bars can be detained without a bond hearing, even if they are picked up years after being released. In a case brought on behalf of a group of lawful permanent residents, the American Civil Liberties Union argued that an ICE detention without a bond hearing violates constitutional protections unless it takes place immediately after an immigrant is released from custody.
People in California from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua may be pleased to learn about the extension of temporary protected status, or TPS, for these four countries by the Department of Homeland Security. TPS protects citizens of countries that are suffering from natural or human-caused disasters, allowing them to remain in the United States and receive work permits even if they would otherwise face difficulties staying in the country. The program is meant to provide temporary protection until the affected people's home nations recover.