Photo of Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern

Elizabeth Espín Stern, a partner in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office, leads the firm’s Global Mobility & Migration practice, which forms part of the Employment & Benefits group. She is a seasoned veteran, advising on US and global immigration, HR and mobility services. She is consistently ranked as a leading business immigration lawyer by Chambers GlobalChambers USAWho's Who LegalThe International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, and national and local publications. In addition, she has been named in Best Lawyers in AmericaSuper Lawyers and "Women in Law Awards 2014" by Lawyer Monthly and named one of National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers 2015.” She spearheads Mayer Brown's new global worksite management initiative. This "Global People Solution" offers multinational clients, in a variety of sectors including financial services, IT, defense, telecommunications and multimedia, a comprehensive compliance and risk management program in connection with their mobile workforce. Liz regularly speaks and writes about immigration policies and contributes to major news agencies and publications, including Law 360, Quartz.com, Global Business News and a host of global HR publications.

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The Washington Post reported that US Citizenship & Immigration Services, the federal agency that adjudicates petitions and applications for immigration and naturalization benefits, is creating an internal division to police caseworkers who “may be too forgiving toward applicants for permanent legal residence or citizenship . . .”  See Washington Post, US Immigration agency to more closely monitor caseworkers, documents show, March 16, 2018.   Agency officials confirmed plans for an internal oversight office, but denied that the office would be focused on monitoring caseworkers perceived as too lenient.  See, e.g., The Hill, Federal immigration agency denies that it’s creating a new division to police caseworkers, March 17, 2018.   An agency spokesperson indicated that a final decision had not been made and all mission or structural considerations are “pre-decisional until they are formally announced.”
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The March 5, 2018 date the president set in September 2017 for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program to sunset came and went, with no clear deadline established for when Congress will act.  The White House, state attorneys general, and immigrant advocacy groups urged prompt action, with demonstrations around the country advocating for legislative relief to provide a path to citizenship for “DREAMers,” the name informally used to refer to the estimated 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA.  For now, the DACA program remains active, based on a California federal court’s continuing preliminary injunction.
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The first senior leadership conference of the nation’s immigration services agency, US Citizenship & Immigration  Services,  resulted in the agency stripping the phrase “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement.  USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna stated that the agency’s mission is more “simple and straightforward,” and emphasized that immigrants are not “customers” of USCIS, in the news release announcing the change.  As of February 22, 2018, the new mission statement reads:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”
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The President issued a memorandum directing the establishment of a National Vetting Center (the Center), subject to oversight by a National Vetting Governance Board (the Board), to coordinate screening and vetting of individuals seeking to enter the United States.  Led by the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with  the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, the Center will be tasked with integrating and improving the work of federal intelligence agencies in screening foreign visitors and immigrants.  The agencies have a six-month deadline to establish the Center.
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We are very pleased to direct our readers to LawFuel’s coverage of our Mobile Workforce Blog.  Among other items, LawFuel advised readers of the Mayer Brown Mobility Mythbusters, which will be a recurring feature to help employers debunk the misinformation that employees may be concerned about as they read alarmist headlines about their legal

The president’s State of the Union address on January 30, 2018, confirmed anew that this administration is focused on a singular “righteous” mission, to make America great again.  The president made clear that this “America First” mission would focus on dual goals – stimulating a rich economy, with American companies incentivized to “hire American” and bring jobs back to America, and protecting American families and community.

In keeping with this mission, the president presented an immigration reform proposal delineating four pillars, which tracked the Framework on Immigration & Border Security circulated by the White House last week:


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The invocation by the government of the United Kingdom of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows a member state to notify the European Union of its withdrawal from the Union, took place on 29 March 2017. A two-year negotiation is now in place, and 29 March 2019 is the official date on which withdrawal  – the “Brexit” – is slated to occur.   During this interim period leading to the 2019 withdrawal date, freedom of movement rules continue to apply.  We discuss below the changes envisioned and rank risk depending on the region and status of workers currently capitalizing on reciprocal citizens rights.

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