Author: Leslie Holman

148,000 Missed Opportunities

I’m just now fully coming out of the chaotic, hectic darkness that has clouded every H-1B season for the past many years.  Once again, I find myself struggling with “Immigration PTSD”  – Post Traumatic Submission Disorder.  The cause of this syndrome is two-fold.  First, I live with the dreaded anticipation that the number of submissions will be such that not even a fair percentage of my submitted applications have a realistic hope of selection.  To make matters worse, I live in fear that, heaven forbid, I have made a minute non-material error, which will cause even a selected application to fail. Sadly, my fears are once again well founded. This year the USCIS received 233,000 applications for 85,000 available slots.  Thus, 148,000, almost two thirds, of the petitions received in the first five days of April will be rejected out of hand without any review. A lottery has been held and the unpicked petitions so painstakingly pulled together by immigration lawyers, with help from innumerable paralegals and legal assistants, and dutifully delivered on time by FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service, will be returned. The data shows that the number of submissions is a direct reflection of the fact that American employers desperately need the workers for whom they petitioned. Simply, they need these foreign workers to help create products, technology, ideas, and innovations.  No employer in its...

Read More

Starting Off the New Year

I promised myself that this year I would sleep in and not rush to my email and/or open my computer before I had my first cup of coffee. Sigh. At 6:45 a.m. on the first day of 2015 I had already broken my first resolution. Resolutions are the bane of many an existence right about now. They are at the same time harbingers of hope and change and also the unwelcome reminders of good intentions forgotten or ignored. Although our President did not call his recent statements and plans for changes to our immigration system “resolutions,” I am considering them such and I am resolved (Holman Resolution #2) to see that he keeps them. Heck, I’m aiming big. Why not?  Surely it is an easier resolution to keep than following some new-fangled diet or juice cleanse. The President told us that business development in the U.S. and keeping families together are of paramount importance to him and necessary for the wellbeing of our country. I agree. We all agree. Lets make it so, now, in early 2015. The President doesn’t need to wait for regulations to be written. If he and his administration take the following four easy steps we can and will start to immediately see some of the reform we desperately need. Direct the agencies responsible for immigration (USCIS, CBP, ICE, DOS) to follow the laws as...

Read More

Action at Last

I watched with bated breath. I listened to President Obama make his last case for why administrative action was not just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do. And I heard from him what his plans entailed. I read, amazed, the barrage of news reports and opinion pieces before, during, and after the announcement. I combed through the documents AILA compiled and posted. I’m gathering as much information as possible. The whole time I have been thinking nonstop. I’ve been running through my clients, tagging those I think will be affected by some of the announced plans (though I’m waiting for those devilish details). I’ve been jotting down questions I have about L-1s and entrepreneurs, about DAPA and DACA, about all the moving parts of these announcements. I also thought about families I’ve never met. Children and parents I’ve never seen who are feeling so hopeful now. I thought about Jose Antonio Vargas, someone I had the pleasure to talk with at our Annual Conference at the opening of his movie, who now becomes eligible for Deferred Action – and to see his mom – because of this administrative relief. There is so much damage done to so many lives, to so many businesses and communities because of our broken immigration system. And I’m fed up. To be honest, I wanted and still want...

Read More

What It Boils Down To

Well, pundits are hashing over what happened on Tuesday but here’s what it boils down to: Republicans will have control of the Senate in the next Congress (at least 52-43), as well as strengthening their majority in the House (at least 243-175). A new Congress offers possibilities, offers the hope of action to revamp our immigration laws. We had quite the time over the last Congress with the Senate passing bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. We were full of hope. And then…crickets chirped while we stood waiting for the House to act. No such luck. But here’s the thing, AILA worked with both Republicans and Democrats as we always do and will continue to do so, offering expertise about what parts of our immigration system are broken and solutions for how to create a new system that actually works for business, families, and our country as a whole. One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that the majority of Americans want action on immigration reform, and that the possibility of legalizing the undocumented still wins out over “deport them all.” That’s heartening as we head into the holidays and the last few weeks of this lame duck Congressional period. We have some time left before 2015 and President Obama must keep his promise to deliver major administrative reforms by the end of the year. Delay has only meant more...

Read More

Championing the Vulnerable

As an immigration lawyer from Vermont, I was thrilled to see the recent letter that Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy (D-VT), one of my Senators, led the charge on. What does that letter to the Department of Homeland Security condemn? The heartless and inhumane expansion of family detention. It is appalling to me that our government is ramping up jails for mothers and children who are fleeing violence – domestic or gang-based – and desperately seeking safety. These women and children are kept in facilities, far from anywhere with a large contingent of immigration lawyers who could help them make their legitimate case for asylum to an immigration judge. Instead they are stuck in makeshift facilities like Artesia, NM, and Karnes, TX and soon Dilley, TX as well. Our stalwart members have volunteered in shifts, making their way to these outposts and advising these women, fighting for their rights to due process, and making a huge difference. I’m so happy to see these ten Senators standing with these women and children. Instead of ramping up detention, we need to look at humane and effective alternatives to detention. These moms and their kids aren’t national security threats that need to be confined for our safety, they are victims and they need our help. Here are some excerpts from the letter: “This decision threatens to make permanent a practice of presumptive detention...

Read More

Take Action

Take Action

AILA’s Advocacy Action Center allows you to advocate for legislative and policy reforms consistent with AILA’s principles and priorities.


Follow AILA on Twitter

Immigration 2017 – A New President and Congress

Immigration 2017

Visit this resource page to stay on top of the changing immigration environment under the Trump administration.

Immigration Quicktakes

AILA Quicktake #204: Trump Administration Budget Proposal

AILA Events

Calendar

Stay informed and connected with AILA's in-person and online events.