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Trump’s Hard Line Includes Business Immigration


May 17, 2019

Media attention on President Trump’s immigration policy tends to focus on illegal border crossing. But Trump also has called for a big reduction in legal immigration and has specifically targeted U.S. businesses that hire foreign professionals. This Today’s General Counsel, by attorney David Leopold, looks at the recent history and current status of that effort, starting with the signing in 2017 of the “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, which has made it more difficult for a skilled foreign professional to get an H-1B visa. Other business-related visa categories also have been restricted, and meanwhile ICE has stepped up its I-9 audits. “The Trump administration has not changed a single provision of immigration law,” Leopold notes. “What it has done is restrictively interpret the myriad statutes and regulations that govern the issuance of business visas.” What else it has done, he says, is to create a major challenge for general counsel, who must fashion a strategy that both protects the recruitment and retention of foreign professionals and ensures compliance with the employment verification rules.

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