The Movement of People – A year in review

This column is written by immigration attorney, Michael Ruttle.

If you have turned to any news channel, or radio station within the last 12 months, it is hard not to see how “immigration” is a hot-button issue for many Americans. It’s true, the international flow of people is something that affects our lives more than one would imagine, and has always been affected by world events. As presidential campaign season came into full swing in 2015, with multiple Democrat and Republican debates having already taken place, immigration is front-and-center of the many policy discussions.

President Obama’s executive actions are currently frozen in the federal court system, while Congress continues to debate the issue. Those actions would have given temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants who came here as children, and some of their parents.

Syrian refugees were seen escaping civil war and flooding into Europe by the thousands. The Obama administration has said that it would admit up to 10,000 refugees from Syria during the 2016 fiscal year (out of the maximum 85,000 that can be admitted annually by law).

In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, as well as terrorist attacks carried out in Paris, Congress passed a bill that adds new, stricter requirements to the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”), which currently allows citizens of 38 countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for visits of up to 90 days.

In 2016, expect immigration to, once again, emerge as a top issue. But know that as the US changes its own rules on who to let in, and who to exclude, other countries may follow suit, thereby making international travel more difficult for Americans too. And with the Summer Olympics taking place in Brazil, you may just want to break out that passport of yours.

More information about Michael’s firm can be found here: