President Donald Trump announced that the Administration will not be proceeding with any further census litigation.  The 2020 Decennial Census, which is already being printed, will be sent out without a citizenship question.  Nevertheless, President Trump does want to obtain statistics on the number of residents in the country who are and are not U.S. citizens.  By means of an executive order, he is eliminating “obstacles to data sharing” and asking all government agencies to immediately hand over any and all relevant statistics and numbers to the Commerce Department.  The President said that the Commerce Department will use this data, including data from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, to come up with an even more accurate count of citizens, non-citizens, and undocumented individuals than the citizenship question on the census would have yielded.  The President indicated that this count will affect an “array of policy decisions” possibly including apportionment.

In his statement, the President made his view clear that people should be proud and glad to declare that they are U.S. citizens.  Indeed, USCIS statistics indicate that naturalization applications skyrocketed just prior to the 2016 election – more green card holders want to become U.S. citizens.  There are approximately 740,000 pending naturalization applications.  In the New York area alone the backlog is anywhere from 12 months to 24 months.  Additional evidence of delays is seen in the number of lawsuits that are being filed in federal district courts due to these unreasonable delays.  These lawsuits are at a 10-year high.

In what appear to be further attempts to restrict the processes for obtaining U.S. citizenship, the Administration has suggested that birthright citizenship could be limited, created a task force to “denaturalize” U.S. citizens who may have lied (intentionally or non-intentionally) on the citizenship applications, opposed creating a path to citizenship for DACA and TPS recipients, and been denying passports to individuals by questioning the validity of their birth certificates.

We will continue to follow how the new Commerce Department figures will account for all of the non-citizens who since 2015 have been trying become U.S. citizens and have been blocked by new USCIS policies that have created widespread delays.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.