THE LATEST FROM SRW BORDER BLOG

Serotte Reich Managing Attorney joins AILA's TN panel of experts

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Zabrina V. Reich, Managing Attorney at Serotte Reich, is included on AILA’s panel of experts for an upcoming seminar on TNs. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will present “TN Visas Under the Current Administration” on Tuesday, March 5 at 2 p.m. EST. During the web seminar, panelists will discuss NAFTA and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), tricky TN categories, trends they’re seeing at ports of entry and consulates, and how the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order has affected the way TNs are adjudicated. The experts will also advise on communicating with CBP and how to resolve common issues that arise when applying for TNs.

Also participating on the panel are AILA Past President Kathleen Campbell Walker of El Paso, TX and immigration attorney Lauren K. Ross of San Francisco, CA. To register for the seminar or order a recording of the conference, go to https://agora.aila.org/Conference/Detail/1534.

Controversial “Pre-Clearance Act” Expands Power of American Border Guards on Canadian Soil

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A controversial Canadian bill that expands the powers of U.S. border officers working in pre-clearance zones on Canadian soil was recently given Royal Assent and is set to become law. Championed by Canada’s centrist Liberal Party, Bill C-23—commonly referred to as the Pre-Clearance Act—has been criticized as overly broad, with the potential to open the door to human rights violations.

In May 2017, a national coalition of 43 Canadian civil society organizations called the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group voiced their concerns about Bill C-23 to Parliament. They questioned the purpose of the bill, noting that no evidence has been presented to the public that security measures need to be increased. The ICLMG’s brief and recommendations can be found here.

Broadly speaking, C-23 increases the powers afforded to American border officers working in Canadian pre-clearance zones and eliminates crucial existing restrictions. Key concerns raised by Canadian immigration attorneys include:

  • U.S. border guards will be authorized to conduct strip searches and internal cavity searches when Canadian officers are “unable or unwilling” to do so. The broad language used appears to authorize U.S. border officials to conduct these searches even when Canadian officers deem them unnecessary or inappropriate.

  • U.S. border guards will be allowed to carry firearms. They have not been permitted to do so in pre-clearance zones under previous legislation.

  • Should a Canadian traveler attempt to enter the U.S. but change their mind for any reason, including feelings of discomfort or concern about their interactions with border officials, U.S. officials will be permitted to detain and interrogate them. Previously, the traveler would have been able to withdraw and return to Canada at any time. C-23 also eliminates a provision that barred U.S. border officials from using a citizen’s withdrawal from pre-clearance procedures as “reasonable grounds for suspicion” to detain them or work with Canadian officials to take steps like arresting the traveler.

The above issues are particularly concerning because, although the bill states that U.S. officials must still act in accordance with Canadian laws, it provides no clear legal remedy to travelers whose rights have been violated. Instead, according to the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the bill “provides explicit blanket immunity” to pre-clearance officers, and only allows travelers to hold the U.S. government responsible in cases of property damage, injury, or death. Notably, there is no legal mechanism through which Canadians can hold U.S. officers responsible for discrimination, despite a recent rise in allegations of discrimination at the border. Under Bill C-23, U.S. officers in pre-clearance zones would be “virtually unaccountable,” said Vance Langford, chair of the National Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

The full text of the finalized bill is available on the Canadian Parliament’s website.

If you have questions about the provisions or implications of Bill C-23, including how it may affect your ability to enter the U.S. temporarily or permanently, please reach out to us. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration matter.

Another I-192 Waiver Approved For Max Five Years

Application Type: I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant

Adjudication Time: 102 Days

Adjudicating Agency: Admissibility Review Office (Filed @ Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, New York)

Grounds of Inadmissibility: INA §212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) – Conviction for Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (2000 Conviction for Theft Over $5,000)

Purpose of Entry into U.S.: Business & Pleasure Visits [B1/B2] – Visit with family and friends in the U.S., vacation to the U.S., attend tradeshows that are held in the U.S., and travel with clients to the U.S.; Employment in H-1B, L-1 or TN

SRW Strategy: Evidence of Rehabilitation (no criminal issues since 2000, on-going compliance with U.S. immigration laws – complied with all terms and conditions of previous waiver approvals and parole authorizations, respected businessperson, active member of community)

Approval Period: Five (5) Years

Canadian Citizen Granted Five Year I-192 Waiver After Complying With All Terms of Previous One Year Waiver Approval

Application Type: I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant

Adjudication Time: 104 Days

Adjudicating Agency: Admissibility Review Office (Filed @ Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta)

Grounds of Inadmissibility: INA §212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) – Conviction for Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (1969 Conviction in Alberta, Canada – Theft of Auto)

Purpose of Entry into U.S.: Business & Pleasure Visits [B1/B2] or Employment in O-1, H-1B, L-1 or TN

SRW Strategy: Evidence of Rehabilitation (no criminal issues since 1969, received a pardon for criminal offense in 1993, compliance with terms of previous one (1) year waiver approval).

Approval Period: Five (5) Years