September 01, 2013

Techno Ethics: Avoiding Ethics Traps in Immigration Practice

James Ellis Arden

Lawyers, like normal people, want to take advantage of the latest technologies. But perhaps because immigration is a political football, new technologies uniquely affect immigration lawyers. The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and the Partnership for a New American Economy recently analyzed immigration and jobs data. They found that immigrants with advanced degrees, especially degrees from U.S. universities in technology, engineering, science, and math, boost employment for U.S. natives (Madeline Zavodny, Immigration and American Jobs, 2011; retrieved from tinyurl.com/8ax8fbx).

Contemporaneously, Amazon, Apple, Google, and others lobbied the U.S. Senate to pass an immigration bill with benefits just for the tech industry. The bill (assuming it passes the House) will expand the number of H1-B visas and allow U.S. tech companies to bring foreign workers here temporarily, while ducking new recruitment standards and higher prevailing wage rates.

If you are going to help fulfill these immigration needs, you need to know of the particular ethics hoops through which immigration lawyers must jump. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) offers members free ethics podcasts toward that end (see aila.org).

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