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Cyrus Mehta: A Look Back at 2019

January 03, 2020 (4 min read)

Cyrus Mehta, Dec. 31, 2019

"Thank you for reading and supporting The Insightful Immigration Blog.  Listed below are the top 10 most viewed blogs that were published in 2019.  While these are the 10 most viewed blogs, each blog is a carefully crafted gem, and we invite you to read all of them.  In 2019, the Trump Administration continued its assault on immigration to the United States.  The Remain in Mexico policy has severely impacted the ability of asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the US and has also shred any due process protections that are accorded to asylum seekers.  On the business immigration front, although the Trump Administration continues to deny routine H-1B and L visa petitions, many have successfully challenged these denials in federal court although some courts have upheld such denials.  A sudden change in policy that would have rendered foreign students subject to the 3- and 10-year bars for technical violations has also been subject to a preliminary injunction.  The State Department Visa Bulletin continues to reflect intolerable backlogs in the employment-based categories for Indians, and there have been bills seeking to eliminate the per country caps.  The Trump Administration’s effort to restrict immigration through the public charge rule and health insurance proclamation have also been temporarily blocked by the courts.

We covered many of these developments through our  widely disseminated blogs, a labor of love, which endeavor to inform readers so that they effectively advocate and litigate against restrictive immigration laws and policies to ensure that the noble idea of America as a nation of immigrants never ever gets undermined.  In this vein, we have commented on Supreme Court and federal court decisions, which will have a big impact on the immigration landscape.  We have explained complex rules and policy changes,  and advocated how they ought to be interpreted consistent with the statute in the H-1B,  L-1labor certificationEB-1,  I-140 and citizenship contexts.  We have also occasionally done a comparative analysis with respect to legal developments in Canada and India.  With regards to the controversial Indian Citizenship Amendment Act, we have also shown how immigration changes inspired by Hindu nationalism in India, as with white nationalism in the United States, can drastically alter the founding values of great nations.  Our blogs also provide commentary on ethical issues for lawyers, and we have commented on how the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the constitutionality of a smuggling statute can adversely impact immigration lawyers when they advise unauthorized immigrants.

In some respects, this has been a lost decade as far as immigration reform is concerned.  Efforts to comprehensively reform immigration have failed in Congress.  A modern immigration system would surely benefit the United States by attracting global talent, especially allowing foreign students to remain and contribute to the United States upon graduation.  It would also attract entrepreneurs who can startup companies in the United States that could eventually create many jobs for Americans.  Skilled Indian nationals have needlessly languished in the ossified employment-based immigration backlogs for an entire decade.  Comprehensive immigration reform would provide a pathway to both DACA recipients and those who have been in the United States for many years to legalize their status and be on a path to citizenship.  It should also prevent children from cruelly aging out and not being able to immigrate with their parents.  Reform should also provide more humane and sensible waivers for those who are inadmissible based on family ties, hardship to oneself or relatives and rehabilitation, and also accord due process to asylum seekers and those in removal proceedings.  Indeed, creating an independent immigration court outside the DOJ’s interference would assure the independence of immigration judges who decide whether one can remain in the United States or be sent back, which can often be tantamount to either exile or a death sentence.  Finally, a reformed immigration system should allow US employers greater access to temporary visas to higher both highly skilled and essential works while allowing these workers to enjoy job mobility and seek permanent residence.  The United States clearly deserves a rational and compassionate immigration system than the dysfunctional system we have today.

2020 is different from prior years as it signifies the start of a new decade.  We sincerely hope that 2020 bodes more favorably for immigration, and our blogs continue to inform, educate and inspire.  We also wish all of our supporters and well-wishers a very happy New Year notwithstanding the challenges that lie ahead!

Below are the 10 most viewed posts:

  1. To Leave Or Not To Leave: The Devastating Impact of USCIS’s Unlawful Presence Policy on Foreign Students
  2. Musings on the October 2019 State Department Visa Bulletin in Light of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act
  3. Trump Can Provide a Potential Path to Citizenship for H-1B Visa Holders
  4. Trump Administration Imposes Another Unnecessary Obstacle: USCIS to Issue New Version of Form I-539 and New I-539A on March 8
  5. Save Optional Practical Training for Foreign Students
  6. The Nuts and Bolts of Complying with the H-1B Notice Requirements
  7. Need to Plan Ahead Before Sponsoring a Senior Parent for a Green Card
  8. Positive Changes to 90-Day Misrepresentation Guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual – Especially for Foreign Students
  9. The Ethics of Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interests in Light of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act
  10. Judge Issues Nationwide Preliminary Injunction in Unlawful Presence Case: What Does the Injunction Mean for Current F, J, and M Nonimmigrants?"