(972) 386-9544
13355 Noel Rd #1940
Dalls, TX 75240
Request a Case Evaluation

Immigration Court Backlog Exceeds All-Time High Reaching Over 610,000 Pending Cases

July 21, 2017

Filed under: Immigration — drgump @ 5:02 pm

The backlog of pending cases in immigration court reached an all-time high in the month of June. According to records obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the Transactions Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University the immigration court backlog jumped by about 11,000 cases in one month, reaching a record high of 610,524. The TRAC report also detected a 9.3 percent drop in final dispositions issued in immigration court cases since President Trump took office, decreasing from 84,956 over a five-month period last year to 77,085 over that same time frame this year. The TRAC report breaks down the backlog by state and then court within that state and provides numerous graphs to help create a visual image of the drastic increase in pending cases since the mid-2000’s. It can be found here.

The increase in backlog and decrease in final dispositions could be attributed to a number of variables. These include recent shifts in judge assignments, revised case processing priorities, and the almost complete end of prosecutorial discretion in closing cases. The use of prosecutorial discretion had helped lessen the court’s backlog in recent years; however, the number of cases pending in courts nationwide has been steadily increasing since about 2008. Prosecutorial discretion has been essentially handcuffed by the current administration and ICE has even started reopening cases that had been closed for years under previous priority hierarchies.

President Trump allocated additional funds to the Department of Homeland Security in his May budget proposal and there has been talk of hiring additional judges and support staff. Since the backlog has been increasing for almost a decade and high numbers of judges have been hired and trained in recent years, it is unlikely that throwing more judges into the mix will have any meaningful impact on the backlog because of the rate that people are being put in proceedings and because old cases are being reopened.

Our office recently had an individual hearing postponed from December 2017 until May 2020. If something is not done to prioritize cases more effectively and provide for a shorter start to finish timeline for non-detained individuals, then efforts at increasing border security and discouraging people from overstaying their visas will not be able to overcome the current culture of “press you luck”. Word will get around that a person who gets put in proceedings and applies for relief can remain and wait in the U.S. for an additional two years, five years, ten years, who knows. What incentive does a person have to return to his or her home country if our current laws, policies, and outrageous backlog will allow that person to remain here for an almost indefinite period of time? Now, each case presents its own issues and a person’s immigration and criminal history may dictate whether he or she lingers in proceedings for years or is sent back to his or her home country on a bus or plane the next day. However, if our overarching goals are to create a set of immigration laws that encourage and reward compliance and to ensure that our borders are being respected—we have a mountain of over 610,000 cases to climb before we get there.

USCIS To Begin Issuing Redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Cards

May 9, 2017

Filed under: I-9,Immigration — drgump @ 5:25 pm

Beginning this week, employers may start seeing a new design of both green cards and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD’s) presented to them by employees for I-9 employment verification purposes. The cards have been redesigned with added security features in an effort to make forgeries more difficult. The new cards will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

You can check a card presented to you by an employee against the sample below (also found at uscis.gov). The new cards will have been issued on May 1, 2017 or later. USCIS may use up the remaining stock of the previous card design before moving on to the new cards.

Our firm offers I-9 training services and conducts internal audits to ensure your company is complying with proper I-9 completion, storage, and verification processes to prevent future fines in the event of an ICE or Department of Labor investigation or audit. ICE audits could be on the rise and employers may want to become compliant for a small price now rather than waiting to be hit by a large government fine later.

Advice on Dealing with Trump’s Executive Order Travel Ban

January 30, 2017

Filed under: Immigration — drgump @ 7:27 pm

Here are some key things to keep in mind in light of President Trump’s most recent Executive Order regarding immigrant and non-immigrant citizens and refugees of certain countries:

  • The Executive Order applies to all individuals “from” the seven designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. That can include Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), non-immigrant visa holders, immigrant visa holders, refugees, derivative asylees, Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), etc.
  • Anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is “from” there—this includes dual citizens.
  • Until we have clarity on the ability of a certain person to gain entry, we advise anyone from a designated country not to travel outside the United States.
  • If you, an employee, or someone you know, is from a designated country and is already outside the US, obtain his or her return date and current status and contact us so that we may determine his or her ability to re-enter the US at that time.
  • Further study regarding this new vetting process is needed, and the little information that is available does not allow us to provide answers on the process or timing with much certainty.
  • The order itself and the court cases associated with it are constantly evolving, so please make sure you have the most up to date information prior to making a decision.

We also anticipate another Executive Order to be signed sometime soon that may impact the way in which visas are issued at Consulates. This could include additional vetting as well as prohibiting the waiver of an interview, meaning all applicants may be required to attend an interview at the Consulate. Please be prepared to adapt to these new procedures and reach out to us if you have any questions.

We will provide updates on the ever-changing immigration environment as often as we are able, but please do not hesitate to call or email us if you have any questions, concerns, or issues.

Concerns for Employers of Foreign Workers Heading Towards a Trump Administration

December 8, 2016

Filed under: E Verify,ICE,Immigration — drgump @ 5:42 pm

Assessment of Employer Concerns Over the Next Few years


1.  DACA is likely dead. Current work permits may be allowed to expire without being withdrawn, but new and renewal DACA filings can be swept away with the stroke of the President’s pen. This may mean some of your employees may lose their work permits and you will not be able to continue to hire them.

     a.DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) allows certain undocumented immigrants to the U.S. who entered the country as minors to receive a               renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for work authorization.

     b.DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and expanded DACA programs will likely never be implemented.

2.Unauthorized workers will likely be targeted at the workplace via ICE raids. As employers may recall, prior to 2009 ICE conducted numerous raids on employers as opposed to audits. It is believed that more raids will be forthcoming. Employers should be prepared for these raids by ensuring that a point person exists who can manage the situation and call our office if and when a raid is in progress.  The President can authorized this change of policy without Congress.

3.E-Verify will become mandatory for all employers. While mandatory E-Verify will have to be legislatively enacted, for employers who are already active users of the system it might be less likely that a raid will occur.

4.Deportation may increase. Even though an employer may employ an individual prior to its E-Verify use and who presented what appeared to be a valid work authorization document, this individual could still be arrested and deported if he/she is illegally in the U.S.


We believe that President-elect Trump and a Republican Congress will be more business friendly, even in the immigration context. However, persons here illegally and companies that knowingly hire illegals, especially if they have any crimes, will be targets for removal and fines.

Report Finds That Immigrants Make Essential and Beneficial Contributions to U.S. Economy

September 23, 2016

Filed under: Immigration,Uncategorized — drgump @ 2:02 pm

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a report, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, that examined a decade’s worth of data to come to the conclusion that immigrants and their offspring make important contributions to economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the U.S. Immigrant workers will be vital in replacing the tax and economy loss of retiring Baby Boomers and they serve as an essential counterpart to other native born workers. As has been found in a number of other reports before, the NAS report showed that immigrant workers cause little to no negative effects on the wages or overall employment levels of native-born workers and adverse consequences are generally found only for U.S. workers without a high school degree.

The report also found that the estimated GDP growth due to contributions of immigrant workers from 2015 to 2016 amounted to nearly $2 trillion. Children of immigrants continue to be some of the top economic contributors among the U.S. population. While first generation immigrants may be slightly more costly to the government than a native-born American, that is usually due to a lower income and paying less in taxes, not because they are a drain on federally-sponsored programs. Furthermore, Americans now spend less on consumer goods and services like child care, food preparation, house cleaning and repair, and construction thanks to immigrants.

Our immigration system is in dire need of reform; but, even in its current broken state, immigrants continue to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the U.S. economy. Any reforms that could potentially be passed by a newly elected Congress next year could only continue to provide economic benefits throughout the nation.


U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Immigration

June 24, 2016

Filed under: Immigration — drgump @ 3:44 pm

It is important to take a step back and review what the one sentence tie vote decision leaves open:

1. We don’t have any further clarification on the extent of Executive Action by any President in the future on immigration or any other issue which needs attention as the result of inaction by Congress.

2. States appear to be left with the power to sue the federal government any time they disagree with a federal policy. Will states ramp up such lawsuits in the future?

3. What do we do with the millions of unauthorized aliens currently living in the U.S? Do we try to deport them all regardless of their age when or how they came in, whether they overstayed visas, committed crimes, have a family in the U.S.and/or are gainfully employed? Do we try to categorize these immigration violators by a gradient of punishment  which matches the gravity of the offense (e.g. minor to major fines, incarceration, deportation)? Think of traffic violators, who range from parking tickets to negligent homicide from a DUI.

Perhaps it is best the U.S. Supreme Court has left the issues open for citizens and their elected federal officials to make the hard decisions which will lead to concrete guidelines on who and how foreign nationals get punished for violations and who and how others in the future can visit, work, and/or live in our country.

Senators and Representatives of Congress, are you listening to your people, who are frustrated and mad at your inability and lack of desire to solve problems?

Additional Security Questions Added to the ESTA Application

June 21, 2016

Filed under: Homeland Security,Immigration — drgump @ 12:38 pm

Pursuant to the Secretary of Homeland Security’s announcement in February 2016 naming Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as countries of concern, the U.S. CBP has added additional security questions to the ESTA application.

Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries who have been present in these three countries at any time on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited government/military exceptions) are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP, absent a waiver issued in the law enforcement or national security interest of the United States.

Individuals who are no longer eligible for travel under VWP may still apply for a visa at U.S. embassies or consulates.



May 18, 2016

Filed under: Immigration — drgump @ 8:17 pm

I’ve worked with foreign investors seeking to live in the U.S. since 1974. The current program, called EB-5, was started in 1990 as a means of promoting economic development. In its early years it was so limited very few investors came forth. When other nations, like Canada, attracted investors and let them live in their country, the U.S. took note and expanded the program. If the rules are followed, it works well – projects get funded (with otherwise unavailable or more expensive alternatives), jobs are created, talented and wealthy individuals come to live in the U.S. However, as is true in many “too good to be true” opportunities, greed begets cheating but it is accepted because “everyone is doing it”. Unfortunately, the flood of developers wanting cheap money and investors needing to move funds broke the dam of the government’s compliance efforts. The government has been overwhelmed, the SEC has gotten under the tent, and investigations appear to be uncovering actors from benign negligence to outright fraud.


It will be a shame if the politicians burn down the barn to get rid of rats. The EB-5 program brings in funding for needed projects and creates new jobs. The government’s job should be to create a better set of rules, provide timely service and enforcement, and let entrepreneurs do what they do best. Then everyone wins – the investor, the developer, and the community.


Please click here to read the full article – http://abcnews.go.com/US/forget-red-cards-soccers-500k-green-card-wealthy/story?id=39169790

DHS Issues Final Rule on STEM OPT Extensions

March 14, 2016

Filed under: Homeland Security,Immigration — drgump @ 8:16 pm

In the Spring of 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a new regulation allowing F-1 students who receive degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), are employed by employers enrolled in E-Verify, and who have received an initial grant of post-completion optional practical training (OPT) related to such a degree, to apply for a 17-month extension of their OPT status.

On August 12, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the 17-month STEM extension for F-1 students was invalid, as the Department of Homeland Security implemented the rule without going through the regulatory notice and comment period. In light of the substantial hardship that this ruling would cause, the U.S. District Court gave the DHS until February 12, 2016 to go through the proper channels and implement a new rule regarding STEM OPT extensions.

In December 2015, DHS submitted a motion requesting an extension of time to complete the new rule. This motion was granted on January 23, 2016.

On March 9, 2016, DHS announced that the new final rule will go into effect on May 10, 2016. The final rule now allows foreign students with STEM degrees to obtain an additional 24-month extension (instead of the current 17-month extension). This will now provide foreign students with a full three years of OPT. As with the prior STEM OPT rule, extensions are permitted only for students employed by employers who participate in E-Verify.

In addition to the 24 month extension, the new rule includes some additional safeguard such as: requiring individualized training plans developed by the employer and the student; requiring the student to regularly report to the university’s designated school official; requiring the employer to attest that the student will not replace a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker; requiring an employer to offer the same terms, conditions, hours, and compensation to the STEM OPT student as similarly situated U.S. workers; and allowing extensions only to students with degrees from accredited schools.

The new rule also authorizes ICE to perform site visits to verify training plans, compensation, and non-displacement attestations are in place.

U.S. District Court Grants 90-Day Extension to Department of Homeland Security for STEM OPT Rule

February 1, 2016

Filed under: Homeland Security,Immigration — drgump @ 3:45 pm

U.S. District Court Grants 90-Day Extension to Department of Homeland Security for STEM OPT Rule

Upon completion of a U.S. undergraduate or graduate program, students with F-1 status receive 12 months of employment authorization, commonly called OPT (Optional Practical Training) to obtain practical training in their field of studies.

In the Spring of 2008, the Department of Homeland Security implemented a new regulation allowing F-1 students who receive degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), are employed by employers enrolled in E-Verify, and who have received an initial grant of post-completion OPT related to such a degree to apply for a 17-month extension of their OPT status.

STEM extensions have been a great backup plan for employers and eligible foreign nationals who are unable to obtain H-1B status due to H-1B cap issues.

On August 12, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the 17 month STEM extension for F-1 students was invalid, as the Department of Homeland Security implemented the rule without going through the regulatory notice and comment period. In light of the substantial hardship that this ruling would cause, the U.S. District Court gave the DHS until February 12, 2016 to go through the proper channels and implement a new rule regarding STEM OPT extensions.

In December 2015, DHS submitted a motion requesting an extension of time to complete the new rule, citing the unexpected and unprecedented number (50,500) of public responses received on the proposed rule. The request asked for a 90 day extension, which would provide an additional 30 days to complete the rulemaking and 60 days for a “delayed-effective-date” period, during which time the DHS would complete the required training of agency personnel. During this 60 day period, the agency would also develop guidance and train officers on the new program requirements, as well as develop and distribute training aids and materials to foreign students, U.S. schools and U.S. employers.

On January 23, the Court granted the DHS’s motion for an extension of time to finalize the STEM OPT extension rule. The DHS has been granted a 90 day extension, giving them until May 10 2016, to finalize and implement the new rule, as well as provide training to agency personnel, and develop training aids and materials.

Employers and foreign nationals who miss the H-1B cap filing deadline of April 1, 2016 will be watching for the new regulations to be announced on or before May 10, 2016. If the DHS does not implement a new STEM program before that time, it will be disastrous for employers and foreign nationals alike. Employers will lose their skilled and talented foreign nationals; greatly affecting productivity and profits. Foreign nationals will be forced to decide to remain in the U.S. and return to school to pursue a higher degree program, or if they will have to give up their dream and return to their home country.

Since its implementation in 2008, the STEM program has provided thousands of employers the opportunity to retain talented foreign nationals who were not selected for the H-1B lottery. The loss of the STEM program would be devastating for employers and foreign nationals.

Older Posts »