Travel Advisory for U.S. Permanent Residents & Visa Holders

Travel Advisory for U.S. Permanent Residents & Visa Holders

February 3, 2017

 Coercion After Secondary Inspection
We’ve received reports of several employees and co-workers being detained at the U.S. port of entry at various international airports being prompted to sign off on forms I-407 or I-275 under duress, without warning or legal representation. The legal significance of signing these forms are indefinite, which could result in the loss of U.S. permanent residency or lawful status. At no time should these forms be signed without speaking to an attorney.

As mentioned earlier, President Donald J. Trump is expected to direct the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor and State to undertake a wide-ranging review and revision of U.S. employment-based immigration program rules, under an executive order that could be issued soon. It appears that many State Department employees and Customs & Border Protection agents are proactively enforcing anti-immigrant measures in an unprecedented manner through the coercion of valid immigrant visa holders to sign off on abandonment of status forms (I-407).

Any international travelers holding valid green cards or work visas are now being caught by surprise at the U.S. port of entry or airport with rigorous questioning and intimidation measures designed to coerce the traveler to provide voluntary information against their lawful status or properly authorized work visas. Any employees who are traveling on valid H-1B, or L-1 visas should be especially careful not to provide any information contrary to what is approved through their previous petitions or authorized work assignments. Green card holders should at at no time indicate their intention to abandon their residency in the United States.

Any foreign national who is present in the United States pursuant to the conditions of a valid visa is lawfully authorized to enter and work in the U.S. under the specified terms of their USCIS approved employment.  CBP officials cannot lawfully revoke a visa or without finding probable cause for the employee’s violation of their status. Visa holders should never provide information contrary to what is indicated on their approved petitions. Despite the coercion tactics reported by our employees, international travels will often have legal resources available at their disposal.

In light of the recent news events connected to the president’s travel ban, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has set up legal resources at most larger U.S. airports. If you are ever caught in a situation at a port of entry where you are pressured into signing a legal document without fully understanding its consequences, do not do so and consult a legal representative if possible.

Worksite enforcement measures and international screenings at the port of entry are only likely to get more difficult. The upcoming draft executive order affecting employment immigration could mean an imminent increase in worksite inspections, and may result in more restrictive adjudications at the immigration agencies. Please be sure to maintain your status documents at all times, whether on the road or at a valid worksite.

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