Author: Jennifer Minear

When Law Professors Attack: Four False Assumptions in the WSJ Op-Ed

Apparently, it is now fashionable to blame immigration lawyers for the ills of the U.S. immigration system. It started in October when Attorney General Jeff Sessions, railed against the “dirty immigration lawyers,” baselessly charging that they are exploiting loopholes (also known as “the law”) to game our so-called “generous” asylum system.  More recently, law professor Benjamin Edwards opined along similar lines in the Wall Street Journal. Promoting an upcoming law review article in which he purportedly argues for mandatory disclosure of immigration lawyers’ wins and losses, Professor Edwards essentially argues that immigration lawyers who lose a large percentage of...

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The New Front in the War on Immigrants: Administrative Action

A few weeks ago, I read an article proclaiming that the president is winning his “war” on immigration. The conclusion of this opinion piece was that President Trump figured he could take a hard line on immigration that would placate his radical base because the vast majority of Americans – who polls indicate have more moderate views on immigration – would remain passive and do nothing to stop the administration’s deportation machine.  So far, the article argues, the president’s strategy seems to be working. We’re deporting mothers with small children, and asylum seekers, and even DACA recipients are now...

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There’s Always More to Learn

When I first began practicing law, I thought I knew everything I could ever need to know about immigration.  I’d been a business immigration paralegal for several years before law school and had learned a lot about nonimmigrant visas and employment-based green cards.  I’d assisted with processing the full alphabet soup of visa petitions as well as both family and employment-based immigrant petitions, adjustment of status applications, immigrant visa applications and naturalization applications. When I passed the bar and began what would be a (thankfully) short practice as a civil litigator, I took on as much pro bono work...

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In Search of Consistency

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously opined that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” I have often opined (less famously) that, if Emerson is correct, there must be very few small-minded adjudicators at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Even in areas where USCIS has made an open effort to establish uniformity, it often seems that the only thing one can count on consistently is, well, inconsistency. For example, in 2010, USCIS began denying H-1B cap exempt petitions filed by nonprofits affiliated with institutions of higher education even though those same petitioners had repeatedly been approved as cap exempt for years. Particularly hard hit were nonprofit hospitals affiliated with medical schools that rely on cap exempt H-1B filings to sponsor international medical graduates who are completing their U.S. residency and fellowship training in accredited graduate medical education programs. These programs operate on an academic calendar that runs from July 1 – June 30, a time of year when there are no new H-1Bs available. Understandably, the hospitals and medical schools raised a stink with their Congressional representatives who in turn, and along with AILA, took the issue to USCIS. In response, USCIS announced that it would reconsider its policy on affiliation-based cap exemption. Brilliant! In the meantime, USCIS published interim guidance in April 2011 “to promote consistency in adjudications until new guidance is issued.” According to the guidance,...

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