Immigration Update

July 2012                                                          Vol. 4 Issue 6

In the July 2012 Issue
CBP Checklist for International Travel
Columbia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
H-1B's Gone!
Deporting of Young Immigrants Stops
I-9 Fines Continue
Arizona Immigration Law
Reviewing Visa Dates
New and Noteworthy
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Summer is Here and the Heat is On!
Hopefully you all had a safe and happy Independence Day! We are delighted to continue to update you on evolving immigration and business matters.  If you know any one who would benefit from our enewsletters, please see the "Share this Update" icon to help spread the word! 
I have the honor to serve as the General Counsel for the JAX Chamber of Commerce, and I am happy to include a new section, New and Noteworthy, dedicated to exciting news and events happening in our beautiful region including the #ilovejax campaign, new publications and others. I hope to see you at some of these event and that  you enjoy this month's immigration update!
CBP Offering Checklist for International Travelers

 Tickets to the 2012 Olympic games in London, check. Flight arrangements confirmed, check. Hotel booked, check. Bags are packed, check. What else do you need for a speedy and safe travel abroad this summer? Whether you are attending the Olympic games or vacationing internationally you want to be certain you have all your documents in order. The CBP has provided a travel checklist for all international travelers to remind them of the documentation required to travel abroad as well as additional details regarding merchandise purchased and possible inspections. To read the entire checklist, click

Columbia -U.S. Free Trade Agreement Takes Effect

On May 15th, the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) went into effect after five years of

negotiations.  While the obvious benefits of eliminated duties on most U.S. exports to Colombia dominated the agreement's media attention, the advantage of U.S. foreign investor protection deserve equal notice. Prior to the CTPA enactment, U.S. foreign investors whose investments were seized could only seek legal recourse through the Colombian government. Now, these investors have additional protections which encourage safer transactions between the two countries.  A similar agreement with Panama is set to take effect on October 1, 2012.
H-1B Visa's are Going, Going, Gone!

US VisaSome U.S. employers who need highly-skilled foreign workers might need to wait until April 1st, 2013 when the H-1B cap reopens to re-apply for these visas. Those that qualify for these visas, will have a start work date of October 2013.  In the meantime, employers and foreign workers affected by this situation should consider discussing alternative options with an immigration attorney. 

These options include:  applying for an alternative nonimmigrant visa status such as an O-1, L-1 or TN visas, extending the F-1 OPT status, and exploring employment positions with a cap-exempt employer. Options should be considered and implemented on a case-by-case basis.  Click here to read the official announcement.


U.S. to Stop Deporting Young Undocumented Immigrants 

President Obama has issued a policy  to clear the way for thousands of young immigrants to remain in the U.S. via a deferred action process. The government has indicated  that it might begin accepting applications from qualified applicants by mid-August.  We are awaiting information on how the application process will work and will provide updates. 


Applications for deferred action will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and not every young immigrant will qualify.  Those found ineligible may be subject to removal.   The policy does not grant any permanent legal status but is expected to allow some young adults to work and remain in the U.S. without present fear of deportation. To read Secretary Napolitano's memorandum for additional information, click here 

I-9 High Fines Continue

 A theme of many of my recent posts has been the presence and severity of ICE audits and penalties, which could be lessened proactively.  So, far this fiscal year, ICE has issued 2,000 Notices of Inspection to employers around the country and on May 1, 2012, a Washington organic farm, HerbCo International, Inc. was sentenced to $1,000,000 in criminal fines and five years' probation for hiring, firing, and then rehiring illegal immigrants. In addition, three company executives pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense and were sentenced to one year of probation for aiding and abetting a pattern of employing illegal immigrants. Click here to read article.


Arizona Immigration Law

 After the U.S. Supreme Court issued  its decision on Arizona SB 1070,  both the state of Arizona and the White House claimed victories as three of the bill's four provisions were struck down as unconstitutional, leaving as enforceable the most controversial portion, that which allows law enforcement to check the immigration status of persons arrested for other violations.  The stricken provisions included the requirement for immigrants to carry their documents at all times; making seeking or engaging in unauthorized work a misdemeanor; and allowing for the warrantless arrest of an immigrant believed to have committed a crime that qualifies as a removable offense. Read the decision here.

Future Visa Priority Dates Reviewed


 Charlie Oppenheim of the Visa office made some predictions recently in regards to the future of visa priority dates and demand for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013. In October, (the beginning of FY2013) the EB-2 cut-off dates for China and India, which are currently unavailable, is expected to move to August or September 2007 and it is unlikely that they will move forward for the first half of FY2013.  The EB-2 worldwide category which recently retrogressed should return to current in October 2012. To view the August Visa Bulletin, click here.


The Jacksonville region is a great place to work, live and play. The #ilovejax

campaign developed by the Jax Chamber provide us all with an opportunity to learn and share what we love about the Jax region.  Learn more and join the conversation at the  #ilovejax  facebook page.
I would like to also share an article I wrote for the North Florida Chapter Association of Corporate Counsel's newsletter.  Click here and scroll to page six to learn about, Hiring and Retaining Global Talent - The ABC's of Employment-Based Immigration for In-House Counsel.
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Giselle Carson
Attorney at Law
Marks Gray, P.A.
1200 Riverplace Blvd., Suite 800
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 398-0900
If you need assistance with any immigration-related issues, please contact Giselle Carson or Thyra Reveron at (904) 398-0900.

Marks Gray, P.A. is dedicated to customer service. We monitor proposed and current developments in the law. The contents of this newsletter are not intended as legal advice related to individual situations. If you have any questions about your particular situation, please contact a lawyer.