Updates from April, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:49 am on April 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #ExecutiveOrder,   

    Trump Halts Immigration to the United States 

    On Monday evening, the President announced that he was going to sign an Executive Order to temporarily halt immigration to the United States. On Tuesday, he held a press conference where he answered questions about immigration, and this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer watched almost the entire press conference.

    Ever since the President’s announcement on Monday, I have been inundated by calls, emails and messages asking about the effect of the new immigration ban. Unfortunately, there has been nothing in writing, but only leaks about what might be in the ban. Even at yesterday’s press conference, the President did not reveal much, other than there would be a temporary halt.

    I will follow-up with another blog post in a day or two analyzing the President’s Executive Order halting immigration, once it is written and signed, which he predicted would be today or tomorrow.

    Here’s what we know directly from the President. It will be a temporary halt. The reason for it, as he stated yesterday, is to protect American jobs that have been lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. He made it very clear however, that he was not halting immigration because immigrants can bring coronavirus to the United States, but rather he was halting immigration to protect American jobs.

    As a lawyer, this is very interesting that a President can cancel existing laws “to protect the job market,” especially when those laws were passed with protecting the job market in mind. Moreover, it is being done without any empirical study on the effect of immigration and the  current job market. Of course, prior studies have shown the contrary, how immigration and immigrants actually improve the overall job market by becoming consumers,  creating jobs and through investment.

    While it may sound good and logical to the average person………halt immigration to protect American jobs……….the consequences of allowing a President to cancel existing laws passed by Congress and signed by prior presidents, can have very serious repercussions in the future. This can set a very dangerous precedent.

    Moreover, our country has a long history of  debating and passing immigration laws where there has always been a tug-of-war between the pro-immigration lobby and the labor lobby. Historically, and we are talking about many decades, the labor lobby (unions, etc) have wanted to limit immigration in order to protect American jobs. So, as Congress would pass laws about immigration, there would always be compromise in order to protect the American labor market.  As a result, our immigration laws have been passed with certain rules already built-in to protect the labor market for American workers. It is no simple task for any company to bring in foreign workers, and it can take years with various levels of proof being submitted to the government to show that American workers are not being displaced.

    The Executive Order to halt immigration reminds me of the Obama Executive Order to extend DACA-like protection to parents of U.S. citizens who are presently in the country. In that situation, the courts stopped the Obama program saying that he cannot extend immigration laws by Executive Order. It would be interesting to see if the courts say that Trump cannot limit or halt the laws by stopping immigration, by Executive Order. Like many past Executive Orders about immigration by President Trump, this new Executive Order  will be immediately challenged in court, and no doubt, be temporarily enjoined from being enforced by a federal judge. As with his other Executive Orders, it will likely end up in the Supreme Court, and if recent precedent holds true, the Supreme Court will allow the temporary ban, perhaps in a more narrow fashion.

    I will not speculate as to what forms of immigration will be banned, because the Order itself is coming at any moment and it will be specific.  However, from his press conference and from the leaks so far, it seems that it will affect only immigrants who are currently outside the U.S., and not immigrants who have cases pending for work permits or green cards inside the U.S.  Of course, I could be wrong and we will just have to see what it actually says.

    Will the Order have an effect on applications for immigration such as extensions of B-2 visitor status or E-2 investor status, or even H-1B or L-1 visa status? The answer is almost certainly, no. That would be way too broad to get past the Supreme Court in my opinion. Will it stop an immigration lawyer like me from submitting visa petitions for my clients? The answer is that it is very unlikely to have that effect. All indications are that it is a temporary halt on a very narrow basis, as affects people entering the United States from abroad. So, for people here, it almost certainly will not halt the immigration situation within the United States………but we will see, so,watch for my update.

    Finally, as a practical matter, there is already an effective immigration halt because immigrant and non-immigrant visas are issued by U.S. Consulates and U.S. Embassies around the world and they have all been closed since last month and are not issuing any visas. Additionally, most airlines are no longer flying into the United States, so that even those with visas cannot get into the country right now.

    Bruce Coane is a Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer who is Board Certified in Immigration & Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or by phone at 305.538.6800 or 713.850.0066. The website is http://www.coane.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 12:42 pm on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #ImmigrationCourt, #SocialDistancing   

    Immigration Cases continue to be Processed 

    While many offices close and the population shelters in place, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is open for business (via mail and online filings) and continues to process cases.

    Our office also remains open, although most consultations these days are done by phone, WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. The front desk in all three of our offices is still manned by our excellent staff who continue to receive in-person packages and materials from clients and vendors. We also continue  to do  in-person appointments.

    The USCIS has stopped interviewing at local offices and has canceled naturalization ceremonies which is very unfortunate. But, with social distancing, such large ceremonies would have been impossible. Hopefully they will resume in the near future, otherwise their backlog of cases will be almost insurmountable with further delays in adjudications.

    As for foreign visitors to the USA and others on non-immigrant visas, many are in quite a predicament. If a non-immigrant worker such as H-1B or L-1 worker gets laid off, they can’t exactly leave the country right now, and they can quickly fall out of status once their grace period expires. And, those on ESTA or B-2 visitor status with expiration dates fast approaching have a serious dilemma where they cannot leave the USA and where there are limitations on extending status.

    This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer continues to work tirelessly, both at home and at the office to preserve the legal rights of clients and to timely file applications so that clients do not miss critical deadlines.

    As for immigration courts, the courts that handle jail cases are still operating on a daily basis. The regular immigration courts that handle cases for foreign nationals who are not in jail, have canceled cases through April 10. That will most likely be extended in light of the president’s announcement extending social distancing for another 30 days.

    For further information, you may contact the  author, Bruce Coane, who is a lawyer Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is available 24/7 at bruce.coane@gmail.com. He may also be reached at 713.850.0066 and 305.538.6800 during the week. The website is http://www.coane.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 11:39 am on February 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Oil, ,   

    Nigeria Travel Ban Hits Hard 

    The Trump administration announced a travel ban on citizens of Nigeria, to go into effect later this month. As soon as this was publicized, this Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer ‘s phone started ringing off the wall and the emails began to pile up.

    Nigeria is Africa’s largest country and it is one of the top  oil-producing nations in the world. Most large oil companies like Shell, Chevron and others have a large presence in Nigeria. Moreover, these companies often move Nigerian petroleum engineers and other management employees back and forth between Nigeria and the U.S. But oil is not the only industry that will be affected by the all-out travel ban.

    The tourism industry will be hit very hard. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Nigerians traveling to the U.S. every year.Many come to visit family that live here and have immigrated here.

    Just this morning I was thinking about the annual International Bar Association (IBA) conference which will be held in Miami later this year. Usually, the Nigerian delegation of lawyers and judges attending this international event is close to 1,000. With the new countries being added to the travel ban, I would have to think this will be the last IBA annual conference held in America. There are just too many lawyers and judges who would otherwise attend but are being barred by the current administration.

    The number of flights that will be lost to the travel ban, and the effect on the Miami economy (hotel rooms, registration fees, restaurants, etc) from the loss of almost 1000 lawyers and judges coming from Nigeria for this event will be huge.

    Many of my clients from Nigeria are in the oil industry and worry about their families and separation from their families. Some are working in Nigeria for Chevron or Shell or Schlumberger, while their spouse and children are in the U.S. on student visas. The spouse working in Nigeria will typically come 3-4 times a year to visit with their family in Houston or California or Alaska, where they typically live in the U.S.

    Our office will be able to continue the green card process of visa petitions for these workers, but the actual issuance of an immigrant visa (following approval of a visa petition) will be barred. For those oil and gas workers from Nigeria who are temporarily working in the U.S. right now, they will be able to finish their green card cases and receive a green card as long as they stay here. It is only those who must get a visa at a USA Embassy who will likely be affected by the ban. And, certainly lawyers, judges, tourists and students trying to fly to the U.S. with a temporary visa will be barred from entry.

    For further information this Board Certified immigration lawyer may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:46 am on November 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #BusinessImmigration, #CEO, , #L1A, , ,   

    L-1 Visa Lawsuit Filed to Overrule USCIS Denial 

    This past week, our law firm sued the federal government in U.S. District Court in Miami, over the denial of an extension of an L-1A, intracompany transfer working visa.

    Our client, from Europe, had started his branch office in the USA and has over 10 American workers in Florida. The USCIS, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security had already previously approved him for an L-1A visa to work in the United States. After starting the business here and hiring more than ten employees, it was time to file for an extension of his stay in L-1A status.

    In denying the extension of stay and rendering the business owner out of status, the  government now claimed that he was not a manager or executive who managed management employees, even though all the evidence submitted indicated that he was the CEO of the U.S.-based company.

    President Trump, through an executive order, has stated that the government would give a more difficult time to intracompany transfer workers, but he did not say the USCIS should not follow the law and should not approve cases that clearly qualify under the law.

    This Miami immigration lawyer and Houston immigration lawyer has been suing the federal government on improperly denied immigration visa cases for over thirty years. Normally, such cases are resolved in favor of the foreign national, based on my own personal experience. Moreover, if the government waits for the federal judge to overrule their decision, the federal government is often on the hook to pay attorney’s fees of the foreign national.

    The government is expected to file an answer to the lawsuit in the next 60 days, with a 2021 trial date most likely on the horizon.

    About the author: Bruce Coane is a Miami immigration lawyer and a Houston immigration lawyer and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Coane practices immigration law in all 50 states and has clients all around the world.He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:49 pm on July 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #I-9, #ICEraids, #Notice of Inspection, #W-4   

    Crackdown by ICE Targeting Employers 



    This article appeared in the Miami Herald a few days ago and confirmed my suspicion that ICE was cracking down on employers who possibly hire undocumented workers.

    This immigration lawyer has seen an unusual uptick in I-9 Notice of Inspection cases at my office. I see those types of immigration cases about once every few years, but recently, I saw three in the past six months (two in the past 60 days).

    What exactly is an I-9 case or a Notice of Inspection? Many small employers who do not have an HR department may not be aware of the paperwork requirements under federal immigration law. For example, each time an employer hires a new employee, they must get a completed I-9 form, together with the normal W-4 and other new employee paperwork.

    The I-9 form process is full of traps, so ICE knows that any small employer is an easy target. If any employer fails to perfectly complete the form for each new hire, there are fines for EVERY mistake on each form. That means there can be thousands of dollars of fines for each form not completed correctly, including a fine for failure to complete the form within three days of hire. And, of course, as a Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer, I must inform my clients that there are serious fines and penalties for failure to complete the form at all.

    What if the employer has lots of turnover, like the local hamburger store or a Subway franchise. When ICE hand-delivers the Notice of Inspection, they often ask to see I-9 forms for every employee (including former employees) for the past two, or three years. Imagine what the fine could look like for a small business with lots of turnover and thousands of dollars in fines for each form not done perfectly (or at all).

    When I showed this article to my wife, she asked if the employer has to have I-9 forms for American workers as well. Many small businesses may be shocked at the answer, which is, “yes.”  The I-9 must be on file for EVERY employee, including American citizens.

    Bruce Coane, Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer  is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. For further information, I may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 (Texas office) or 305.538.6800 (Florida office).

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:44 pm on May 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , #ImmigrationDenials,   

    Immigration Update for 2019 

    In this video, I talk about the USA immigration situation through the first quarter of 2019. While illegal immigration gets much of the news, there have been serious attacks on legal immigration as well. Cases for citizenship and green cards are being denied in greatly exaggerated numbers. I discuss these issues, together with immigration delays, improper denials, and what the general public can do about it.

    Bruce Coane is a Board Certified Immigration Lawyer with offices in Houston and Miami Beach. He may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800 or via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:24 pm on February 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    How to Win an H-1B Case After Denial 

    It is well-known that the government has put the H-1B visa program under attack. The USCIS has been denying thousands of cases over frivolous issues which are not even part of the law, but rather pursuant to their warped interpretation of the law or regulations.

    The way to try to win a case that has been denied is to take it to federal court by filing a lawsuit against USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security. Before doing so, however, you must make sure you have made a full and complete record. So, if there is any possible merit to any basis for the denial, I first recommend that the individual or company do a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider, and submit additional evidence to rebut every basis for the denial.

    When you take case to court, you must have a full and complete record from before the USCIS. A federal judge is not normally going to consider any new evidence. So, once the rebuttal evidence is submitted to USCIS through a Motion, and the case is denied again, it is time for court (assuming there are now no valid grounds for denial; if they have new grounds, then do another motion).

    A lawsuit in federal court will challenge the decision, typically, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because the decision is arbitrary, caprices, or not in accordance with the law.  This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami invigoration lawyer has filed many immigration lawsuits under the APA.

    Often, the government simply responds by saying they will not fight the case, and will approve the H-1B. Other times, if they choose to fight, then ultimately a federal judge will decide if they were right to deny the case. The good thing is that most federal judges are not biased and do not have a vendetta like USCIS to attack the H-1B program. So, a fair adjudication is typically expected. Moreover, if a person wins the case, they may be able to recover attorney’s fees for bringing the case, pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act.

    Many individuals who lose an H-1B case simply give up and leave the country. Or, they appeal, lose and then leave the country. However, a lawsuit is the next step, and the filing of lawsuit provides a real opportunity for justice and a fair consideration of the H-1B case.

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 305.538.6800 or 713.850.0066

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 1:43 pm on January 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    Hebrew-Speaking Client discusses her Immigration Case at our Office 

    Here is a short video at our immigration law office in Florida where our client from Israel has a few nice words to say about our law firm in her native language of Hebrew. She has lived in the USA for almost 15 years and we were finally successful in getting her the green card. We represented her for the past five years in getting her case on track so the government could approve it. We join in sharing her happiness.

    Bruce Coane is a Houston immigration lawyer and a Miami immigration lawyer and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, or at 305.538.6800 or 713.850.0066.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:57 pm on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Immigration Law: Successful Migration Still Exists 


    In recent days, I have had several very happy clients, following their immigration experience. First, in the photo to the left, is a client from Israel. She has lived in the United States for 15 years and has finally received a green card to permanently reside here. She suffered for years with no work permit and no driver’s license, but now, she is finally, fully legal.

    The other photo is of a family from Africa. I handled their employment-based self-petition for an extraordinary worker in the oil and gas industry. The photo was taken at the Houston immigration office following their adjustment of status interview. They are still waiting to receive the green card because the extraordinary worker visa category is now backlogged with a waiting list for visa issuance. In the meantime, they are all authorized to stay and work in the U.S. until the visa number gets reached.

    This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer takes pride in helping immigrants to legally navigate through the complex immigration system.

    Bruce Coane is Board Certified in Immigration & Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email: bruce.coane@gmail.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:11 am on August 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Refugees,   

    U.S. Citizenship and Green Cards Denied to Legal Immigrants who Legally Received Government Benefits? 

    I was quoted in this news article this week, about a story concerning the administration’s new way of looking at the immigration law’s public charge language.

    Generally, no person may immigrate (other than perhaps, refugees) to the United States unless they can prove they will not become a public charge, meaning, they won’t need the government to support them.

    The administration recently announced that they will be looking at the legal receipt of government benefits as evidence that a person is, in fact, a public charge. The article discusses this in greater detail.


    Trump ‘planning to make it harder for legal immigrants to gain citizenship’


    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

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