Preferring words over numbers, I chose the practice of law. Preferring people over numbers, I forsook tax law and opted to practice immigration. How naïve of me to think that numbers could be so easily avoided. Everywhere they confront and torment me.

  • USCIS filing fees soar.Overload
  • Fines for violating I-9 regulations, engaging in prohibited immigration discrimination, and employing unauthorized workers are increased as employers and ICE each try to persuade an administrative law judge of the rightness of their fine calculations.
  • The Labor Department increases H-1B fines increasing them across the board but especially its super penalty (see slides 42-43)  which goes from $35,000 to $50,758 when a prohibited layoff and a violation of the Labor Condition Application regulations happen concurrently.
  • The Labor Department’s Specific Occupational Classifications – a dizzying collection of code numbers and numerical crosswalks – must be mastered to satisfy federal bureaucrats’ unquenchable demands for just the right numbers. For example, the SOC’s numbering scheme must be consulted to (1) determine prevailing wages in H-1B, H-2A, H-2B petitions and PERM labor certification applications; (2) decide whether a worker applying for a long-delayed green card may change career track as long as the new position is in the same or a similar occupational classification as the sponsored position; or (3) demonstrate that an H-1B job is a specialty occupation.
  • In an era of super commuting, Bureau of Census data must be examined to prove that a particular job relocation is within “normal commuting distance,” for purposes of the Labor Department’s definition of “area of intended employment,” thereby to decide (1) if a job relocation requires submission to the USCIS of an amended H-1B petition, or (2) if the DOL will accept an alternate wage survey.
  • Multi-page business plans chock full of numbers must be reviewed and tallied to show that a noncitizen merits an E-2, H-1B, L-1 or EB-5 visa.
  • Economic impact analyses must be studied to see if the tally of inputs (construction costs or operating revenues) produce the requisite EB-5 job-creating outputs of at least ten jobs per investor. Meantime, immigration lawyers must follow the money to determine the lawful path and source of putative E-2 and EB-5 investors’ respective capital contributions.
  • Immigration lawyers must also forecast the baffling forward and backward movement of immigrant visa numbers, allocated by more than 120 countries of birth, as prescribed in an indecipherable agglomeration of statutory provisions governing numerical visa quotas. Likewise, arithmetically based are the estimates of numerical demand for scarce H-1B and H-2 in the annual visa raffles.
  • Back at the office, clients more often than not demand flat fees for immigration legal services, and require lawyers to respond to the proliferation of Requests for Proposals. Calculating what meager set amounts will secure the work, without losing one’s shirt, is a nightmare for numerically-phobic immigrations lawyers. Spreadsheets chocked with numbers must be analyzed to determine the monthly nut and just the right right mix and number of immigration lawyers, paralegals and staff to accomplish the clients’ work while avoiding burnout.

Mama never said there’d be days like these, there’d be days like these, my word-loving Mama NEVER said.