During the last week, the headquarters of the Customs and Border Patrol has provided AILA with information about the enforcement activities at the Newark airport. The CBP inspectors at the Newark airport have been assisting in an investigation of certain H-1b nonimmigrants and H-1b companies. Many of the recent cases where individuals were detained involved companies that were apparently under investigation by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
However, the Newark Airport has implemented a new policy for other situations as well. The following should be noted:
1. RANDOM CHECKS: The Newark airport is doing random checks for returning H-1b, L-1 and other employment-based visa holders. If there are questions about inadmissibility, the person will be sent to secondary inspection for further interview.
2. LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS: Lawful Permanent Residents with a criminal conviction after 1998 should expect to be detained. If the airport cannot obtain a copy of the conviction record within 24 hours, the person may be released. The person should be proactive in traveling with a court certified copy of the court disposition – and should consult with an attorney before traveling.
3. CONDITONAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS: Individuals with pending I-751 petitions (applications to remove conditional permanent residence granted to one who married a U.S. citizen) will be sent to secondary inspection for further interview to verify the validity of the petition.
4. EMPLOYER VERIFICATION: Employers may be contacted to verify/substantiate the employment details in the petition of an H-1b, L-1 or other employment-based visa holder entering the Newark airport.
5. EMPLOYER DATA: Employers and employees should expect that CBP may check other sources such as company websites for consistency with the information in the petitions.