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Experienced Legal Counsel More Important Than Ever

An article in today’s Los Angeles Times points out the importance for anyone who could potentially face immigration-related issues to seek legal guidance and make informed decisions. Individuals must realize they may encounter issues and should be prepared should a situation arise.

Immigration advocacy groups are trying to get the word out and provide information to those most likely to experience problems.

The Los Angeles Times article notes that the Coalition for the Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) is urging people to promptly go for legal consultations. That way, if they are detained for any reason there will be designated attorneys in place familiar with their specific situations. CHIRLA has increased its Know Your Rights workshops to meet growing concerns.

Bottom line—there needs to be a plan in place.

Los Angeles is also making news by being openly defiant of President Donald J. Trump’s aggressive pursuit of undocumented individuals. On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke out, saying, “In Los Angeles, we don’t demonize our hard-working neighbors just because they speak another language or come from another country. That’s un-American.”

The city passed a directive forbidding airport police and fire fighters from cooperating with federal immigration agents. This comes after a previous directive that prohibits the Los Angeles Police Department from asking a suspect’s immigration status.

President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary cities” that shield undocumented individuals, although no specifics have been provided. Several states are in line with the President. Mississippi approved a bill to penalize sanctuary cities, which awaits signature by Governor Phil Bryant. Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Texas have all introduced bills.

In other immigration news, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap as of April 3, 2017. Congress set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year. There is an exemption for 20,000 beneficiaries with advanced degrees. There is a temporary suspension of premium processing for all H-1B petitions that commences on April 3 and may last for as long as six months.