* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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startup-593341_640-300x200Council officials in Santa Clara County and San Jose have laid out their plans to resist any attempts by the incoming Trump administration to arrest and remove all undocumented immigrants in Silicon Valley. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, as well as San Jose’s City Council, each passed formal resolutions last week designed to oppose federal immigration programs that target immigrants.

The resolutions go a step further, creating a communications program that will inform immigrants about their rights and options to obtain legal citizenship.

During the City Council meeting, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo emphasized the importance of responding to the incoming immigrant crisis as a community, given how unpredictable immigration policy could be once President-elect Trump takes office on January 20.

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bars-1177698_640-300x200Despite the efforts of the Obama administration to reduce the number of so-called “sanctuary cities” in the United States, more than 270 municipalities still refuse to cooperate with immigration agents in handling cases involving undocumented immigrants. According to a year-end report by the Department of Homeland Security, sanctuary communities were responsible for freeing over 2,000 illegal immigrants, instead of turning them over to federal authorities in the 2016 fiscal year.

Moreover, these cities are well on their way to releasing even more undocumented immigrants for the first two months of the 2017 fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2016. The report is part of the DHS’s annual immigrant enforcement update, which also noted a clear uptick in immigrants trying to cross into the U.S., in what has been described as a spike of migration.

However, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are apprehending fewer undocumented immigrants inside the country, as the Obama administration tries to keep its promise of only deporting undocumented immigrants that have committed serious crimes.

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statue-of-liberty-1210001_640-300x200Allison Brady is just one of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children, who have managed to find legal work thanks to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.

Brady’s parents brought her to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when she was just 10 years old, living in New York City for the next 20 years. In 2012, she was granted the opportunity to seek legal employment in the United States under DACA. In October 2016, Brady received her second temporary employment authorization card, which allowed her to seek employment and receive a two-year relief period against deportation.

But as President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office this month, more than 740,000 other “Dreamers” face uncertainty over their immigrations status, with Trump pledging to repeal Obama’s immigration executive actions.

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russia-95311_640-300x200With 2017 finally upon us, now is as good a time as any for employers to begin planning for the incoming cap of H-1B visas for the 2018 Fiscal Year, which officially begins on October 1 this year. The H-1B is a major visa category in U.S. immigration policy that allows highly skilled foreign professionals to enter the United States for employment purposes.

Not surprisingly, the number of H-1B visa applications has been on a steady rise. In 2015, around 36 percent of H-1B petitions were chosen in the lottery. That same year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received close to 233,000 H-1B applications. The following year, this increased to 236,000 petitions. And employers can expect this upward trend to continue, which is why immigration authorities are recommending that they file their petitions as early as possible, beginning on April 3, 2017.

Under existing immigration law, only 65,000 new H-1B petitions are approved during each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 petitions are open to immigrant applicants with advanced degrees from an educational institution in the United States.

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trump-1822121_640-300x213It’s no secret that President-elect Donald Trump made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, not shying away from making controversial statements about U.S. immigration policy and undocumented immigrants.

From saying that Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals and promising to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, to pledging that he would deport millions of undocumented immigrants and enforcing a temporary ban against foreign Muslims from entering the country, Trump has taken a hard-line stance on immigration, galvanizing the Republican base to put him in office.

As the President-elect officially takes office this month, we look at some areas where the immigration fight is expected to take place.

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barack-obama-1166062_640-233x300In one of his last actions in the waning days of his presidency, President Obama signed H.R. 2028 (Pub. L. 114-254), a stopgap spending bill designed to ensure that the federal government will continue to run through April 28, 2017. But immigration rights activists will be pleased to know that H.R. 2028, signed on December 9, 2016, also comes with a Continuing Resolution that effectively grants an extension to these four immigration programs.

  1. The Conrad 30 J Waiver

    The Conrad 30 J Waiver Program allows foreign physicians trained in the United States to waive their two-year home residence requirement, which requires them to return home and work for two years. In exchange, the program requires foreign physicians to provide full-time medical care for three years to patients in areas with a shortage of health professionals, or in underserved populations in the U.S.

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study-862994_640-300x200When asked about his plans to create a registry for Muslims and to establish a temporary ban for Muslim immigrants in the United States, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to double down on his earlier stand, saying, “You know my plans all along.”

Speaking to reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump added that the recent Christmas attack in Berlin, claimed by ISIS to be their doing, had vindicated his proposed plans. According to German authorities, a 24-year-old migrant from Tunisia, reported to have ties with the Islamic State, was responsible for the attack, which resulted in the deaths of 12 individuals and serious injury of dozens. The suspect was later killed in a shootout with police authorities in Milan.

“I’ve been proven to be right. One-hundred-percent correct,” Trump said.

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student-1647136_640-300x214After President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview with Time Magazine that he would “work something out” for DREAMers, two U.S. senators are seeking to pass a bill that would protect young immigrants, who entered or stayed in the country outside of the law, from deportation.

Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, have crossed party lines to push legislation that would effectively protect young undocumented immigrants from removal should Donald Trump repeal executive action before Congress can deliberate on what to with the issue of immigration. The stopgap measure, however, would only last until Congress can arrive at a decision.

The bill, dubbed the BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream And Grow Our Economy) Act, will be re-submitted to Congress when it convenes in 2017. So far, the bill has generated the support of Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

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nypd-780387_640-300x200New York City Commissioner James O’Neill is reassuring New Yorkers that the NYPD is focused on fighting crime and violence, and not an individual’s immigration status. O’Neill, who has been commissioner since September 2016, is responding to concerns that President-elect Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration law would discourage undocumented immigrants from cooperating with the police.

It’s no secret that Trump has made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, promising mass deportation, banning of Muslim immigrants, and the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, O’Neill said that he would not enforce the law based on a person’s immigration status, but rather on the crimes committed. Moreover, the commissioner added that the NYPD would not return to the use of stop-and-frisks, an enforcement measure praised by Trump, despite the fact that a federal court found it being used unconstitutionally to target minorities, especially Hispanics and African Americans.

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detroit-1714938_640-300x200The City of Detroit is issuing identification cards to all eligible residents, allowing them to avail of city services available only to holders of official IDs. Dubbed the “Detroit ID,” the identification card is available to all Detroit residents 14 years and older, regardless of their immigration status. City officials say the card will help holders open bank accounts, enter libraries and cultural institutions, and avail of discounts offered by several business in the city.

According to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, “We’re trying to build a city where everybody is included, where everybody is valued, and everybody can access the basic services of the city in a way that doesn’t cause them stress.”

“For most of us that have driver’s licenses, we don’t know what the experience is not to have ID and how hard everyday life can be,” he added.