Immigration Law Ever-changing With Societal Views

U.S. immigration regulations have been a hot-button topic in 2019.

According to David Leopold, partner and chair of the immigration law group at Ulmer & Berne LLP, and Margaret W. Wong, founder and managing partner at Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC, both in Cleveland, though immigration law hasn’t changed much, society’s view of it has.

“Most of the changes proposed by our current administration have been proposed since April 1997,” Wong said. “They very much more refined it and developed it. USCIS acting head Ken Cuccinelli announced a rule change to be effective on Oct. 15, stating that future green card applicants, which does not apply to current green card holders, need to prove that they’re not unlikely to become a public charge.”

She said this movement began with former President Ronald Reagan, but the basics have remained the same.

“You can still get a green card through only four ways: an investment visa, family-based, employment-based, and religious or widow based,” Wong added. “The change of media between print and digital and the far-left and far-right conspiracy theories also contribute to all these rumors and gossip about changes.”

Leopold added it’s not so much the law that has changed, but the way that it is administered and practiced.

“The practice is much more difficult because we’re constantly fighting the government’s overreaching, whether its with deportation, at the border or within business immigration,” he said.

Leopold said it is important for every type of law, including immigration law, to be fluid enough to develop with current events.

“Law, in general, should serve the interests of the country and its citizens, and immigration law does neither,” he explained. “It needs to be overhauled and updated. When a president can come into the office and institute a policy of mayhem and cruelty primarily targeting people of color and closing off American businesses’ ability to compete in the global economy, something is seriously wrong with the law.”

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