Many of our clients are understandably concerned about Donald Trump’s unlikely victory. To reduce fear of the unknown, we have prepared this explainer to outline how the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress could impact the current American immigration structure. This content is being use with the permission of Scott Legal, P.C.

Admittance to the United States

President-elect Trump will have significant leeway when it comes to determining who can be admitted to the United States. The administration can stop issuing visas to applicants from certain countries without congressional approval, although it is unknown whether President Trump will take this step. At the very least, Trump-appointed officials at the State Department could increase the scrutiny applied to visa applications at U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world.

The new administration will have tight control over the number of refugees allowed into the country, be they from Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere. Wielding this power could result in a dramatic decrease or cessation of refugees allowed entry from the Middle East, should the President-elect decide to fulfil certain campaign promises.

TN Visas for Canadian and Mexican citizens

The non-immigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States in prearranged business activities. These visas are tied to NAFTA in its current form. On the campaign trail Trump repeatedly called for the U.S. to “rip up” trade agreements like NAFTA. While President-elect Trump will have the power to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, it is unlikely that he will do so. More likely is a renegotiation of the current deal – an idea that Mexican and Canadian officials have publicly supported. It is difficult to foresee immigration changes under a new deal, although trade agreement negotiations often take years to complete and discussions could continue past the life of the Trump administration. Therefore, we believe that the immigration component of NAFTA will remain in its current form for the foreseeable future.

E-2 Treaty Visas

The E-2 non-immigrant classification allows citizens of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation to be admitted to the United States when investing substantial capital in a U.S. business. (See our success in in obtaining E-2 status) Most E-2 countries have had a historically friendly relationship with the U.S., although some countries on the list, including Iran and Pakistan, have drawn the ire of President-elect Trump as well as previous administrations. While President Trump will have the power to cancel treaties, we believe it is unlikely that he will do so on a scale that will imperil the E-2 program, if at all.

Executive Orders

President Trump can quickly eliminate the deportation relief President Obama granted to young people under DACA and DAPA without congressional approval. We hope this will not happen, as almost 724,000 “dreamers” currently hold DACA status in the United States. Should President Trump choose to reverse these executive orders, virtually all protected young people would be placed back in deportation proceedings.

Immigration reform

Apart from the areas previously outlined, major immigration reform must originate in the Republican-controlled Congress rather than the executive branch. Recent immigration reform proposals drafted by a bi-partisan Senate committee included several changes, including a more streamlined immigration process, a pathway to legal status for undocumented workers, and changes that would make it easier for highly skilled workers to stay in the U.S. These and many other proposals – such as amnesty for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States – will fall by the wayside in the next Congress, as reforms are more likely to focus on enhanced border security. It is unlikely that border security reforms will include funds for a wall along the Mexican-American border due to the incredible cost and scale of such a project, however funding for other measures that would enhance security will probably be approved.

Deportation

During the course of the campaign, candidate Trump called for a “deportation force” to round up 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. Much like the wall along the Mexican-American border, this was a position that may have been attractive to some voters on the campaign trail, but will be virtually impossible to enact once Trump takes office. The wildly expensive program would require funding from a Congress that House Speaker Paul Ryan has already stated will not create a deportation force. There are, however, two practical deportation policies that President Trump could pursue with less resistance from Congress. The first option prioritizes the deportation of convicted criminals. In pursuing this course of action, Trump would reinforce the policies put in place under President Obama. The second option would encourage existing government agencies to raid factories, work places, and homes – a reversion to the policies in place before President Obama. The latter is undoubtedly worse for undocumented individuals, as they would likely live in near constant fear for the next four years.

What you can do?

  • If you have held a Green Card for 5 years (or 3 years through marriage) you should consider immediately applying for citizenship.
  • If you are eligible for a Green Card category, you should consider filing your paperwork immediately.
  • Avoid criminal arrests or other poorly perceived conduct in the U.S.
  • Prepare petitions with care. Small errors or improper documentation will hurt your application.
  • Apply for non-immigrant visas prior to January 20, 2017 (inauguration day). E-2 visas are often granted for 5 years, beyond the length of the Trump administration’s first term.

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Mohammad Ali Syed

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What clients say...

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I have worked directly with Mo on multiple cases, so I have seen his legal analysis and skills first-hand. I highly recommend him.

Bryan Pieper Lawyer: 12 June 2015

Mo is a remarkable guy — Engaging, personable, and intelligent, with life experience that makes him a great choice to represent both international clients and American clients with international business or legal matters.

Bryan Pieper: Lawyer : 12 June 2015

He is an expert on immigration law including L1 intra company transfer visas

Sebastián Baglietto: Grupo Peñaflor: 15 October 2015

Mohammad is a great deadline oriented, ambitious and eager Lawyer who can be trusted.

Sebastián Baglietto: Grupo Peñaflor: 15 October 2015

I’ve had the privilege of working with Mohammad A. Syed since January 2015 and in that time I have known Mo to be a well-grounded and down to earth.

Sebastián Baglietto: Grupo Peñaflor: 15 October 2015

Mohammad is very professional and has successfully assisted us. I would highly recommend hiring his legal services to anyone seeking to develop business within the US market and for top quality immigration representation.

Victoria Mingo: Regional Export Manager USA, Bodegas Trapiche: 17 November 2015

I had the pleasure of benefiting from Mohammad’s legal services. He was assigned to set up our company in the US and advise us in all legal matters and secured an L1 intracompany visa for us.

Victoria Mingo: Regional Export Manager USA, Bodegas Trapiche: 17 November 2015

I highly recommend Mohammad Ali Syed for immigration law, especially for EB1 permanent residence applications. Science Program Lead at U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

Throughout the EB1 process, Mo Syed and his team were easy to work with and were always just a phone call away!

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

The EB1 category has very stringent standards and it was imperative to provide as much evidence as possible under the different criteria. Mohammad Ali Syed helped me understand the different criteria so that I could provide relevant documents as supporting evidence.

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

Mohammad Ali Syed assisted me in successfully obtaining my Green Card through the EB1 category (for aliens of extraordinary ability). My accomplishments include swimming for India at the Olympics and working for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

He is an expert in litigation, dispute resolution and international business. I’d recommend him in a flash.

Shakir Husain: Partner, IVM Capital: 9 December 2015

Mo has a robust extended network which he has leveraged for us when needed and we’re very grateful for the advice and work he’s done for us.

Shakir Husain: Partner, IVM Capital: 9 December 2015

Mo has been an excellent legal sounding board and has helped through a diverse set of problems that we've experienced as a business.

Shakir Husain: Partner, IVM Capital: 9 December 2015

He is an expert in immigration and nationality law. I would recommend him without hesitation.

Rahila Passi: PTA President, Sandpiper Elementary: 9 December 2015

Mohammad Ali Syed is a results oriented lawyer who had the knowledge of the system to follow the proper procedures and the connections to keep pushing my case through…

Rahila Passi: PTA President, Sandpiper Elementary: 9 December 2015

“Large and well-reputed practice”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

“RIAA’s banking and finance department is noted for its ‘vast experience’ and ‘strong track record’”

Tier 1: IFLR1000 2015

“Our relationship with the firm started 20 years ago and we have never looked back.”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

“They really take the time to listen to the case.”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

“I only use RIAA and no other firm in Pakistan – I have the utmost regard for them.”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

’Strong’ litigation department”.

The Legal 500 : Asia Pacific 2015

’Renowned’ corporate practice”

Tier 1: IFLR1000 2015

RIAA is ‘strong on telecoms-related work’, and has acted on for a number of high-profile clients in this sector.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA’s ‘experienced’ tax department is praised as ‘top notch’. It is advising several multinational corporate clients on tax structuring to minimise fiscal exposure in Pakistan. Ahsan Rizvi leads on tax mandates.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA has provided environmental advice on a number of domestic projects.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA’s ‘strong’ litigation department advised Clariant Chemical and Clariant International on a High Court dispute, and is also acting for K-Electric on a constitutional matter.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA’s ‘exceptionally good’ practice is ‘always available’ and ‘has excellent knowledge of the energy sector’.

Legal 500: 2015

Highlights for RIAA’s ‘renowned’ corporate practice included advising Unisys International on the sale of its majority shareholding in Unisys Pakistan to International Brands Limited.

Legal 500: 2015

"We have a very positive relationship with them. They are proactive, down-to-earth, thorough and extremely knowledgeable when finding solutions."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"I have the utmost regard for the firm; they are first class."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"They have vast experience of the power sector, and always provide alternative solutions to problems - they really take ownership of the projects they are working on."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

What the team is known for: Active on a wide range of conventional and renewable projects, including notable activity on the conversion of power plants to coal.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

What the team is known for: Offers high levels of expertise in the power sector, advising the sponsors on development, financing and regulatory issues.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi keeps things on an even keel and so people trust him, even those on the other side."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Sources highlight Ahsan Zahir Rizvi’s strong negotiation capabilities, with one noting: "He can see the other side's perspective, that is his greatest strength.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is held in high regard for his depth of expertise in the power sector.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is also praised for "his precision in giving advice. He is very to the point."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Senior partner Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is one of Pakistan's most highly reputed transactional lawyers: "He is one of the most individually outstanding people, both from a commercial point of view and a legal point of view."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"RIAA has a very strong reputation for handling commercial and corporate matters."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"They have been absolutely outstanding. I don't think there is a team more dedicated."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Excellent bench of practitioners with a full-service corporate offering. Often mandated on big-ticket M&A deals, particularly for corporations in the energy and power sectors.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

RBG provides notable expertise across the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious banking matters, and counts numerous financial institutions among its clients. On the borrower side, the team has experience representing companies in the power, energy and transport sectors.

Legal 500: 2016

The firm has an active transactional practice and is instructed by clients across the energy, telecoms, financial services and construction sectors. Complementary expertise in tax, employment and competition benefits a practice covering mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, joint ventures and privatisations.

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RIAA Barker Gillette’s disputes department handles cases spanning constitutional, employment, trade mark, energy and family law.

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RIAA Barker Gillette maintains an active energy practice, where it advises clients on compliance and liability under environmental law, and assists with licensing and regulatory approvals.

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RIAA Barker Gillette receives instructions from insurance company clients in relation to both contentious and non-contentious matters. Past work includes handling corporate transactions and international arbitrations.

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RIAA Barker Gillette advises on corporate and commercial agreements relating to power, water and construction projects, and is becoming increasingly involved in matters concerning wind and other renewables.

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RIAA Barker Gillette’s longstanding experience in the construction sector, with past work including the construction and development of hospitals and various power and infrastructure projects. Acquisitions, sales, transfers and property leasing are other mainstays, as is project finance…

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In the media space, the team has experience in licensing, and advises radio, television and print clients on operational matters.

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Telecoms is an area of strength at RIAA Barker Gillette, with the team providing expertise in corporate, commercial and regulatory matters.

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RIAA Barker Gillette advises multinational corporate clients on tax structuring and restructuring. It is also active in tax litigation and appeals before the High Court.

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RIAA Barker Gillette…"It is a powerhouse."

Chambers Guide: Asia-Pacific 2016

Renowned for his expertise in the power sector, peers highlight Ahsan Zahir Rizvi as "one of the most experienced projects lawyers in Pakistan."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi continues to be revered by market commentators, who single him out for his "sharp legal mind."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is singled out by clients for the depth of his transactional experience and for "bringing a colour and vibrancy to the table."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

Sources describe Ahsan Zahir Rizvi as "an exceptional practitioner" and "a backbone of the firm."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

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