Syracuse Lawyer Encourages Employers to Support Working Immigrants

Apr 25, 2017

Andrea Godfread-Brown offered advice to immigrant workers and employers at a session held Tuesday afternoon.
Credit Michael Mulford / WAER News

A Syracuse immigration lawyer is still encouraging employers to sponsor immigrant workers despite the Trump administration’s added scrutiny of the skilled worker visa program.  Andrea Godfread-Brown with Brown and Palumbo held a workshop Tuesday afternoon to educate both business owners and immigrant workers about working in the U.S. with or without a visa.  She said that while immigrants come to the country eager and ready to work, potential employers are skeptical because of their citizenship status.

“If they are worried that they have not properly filed an I-9 for someone or maybe they’re a large employer with multiple work sites and they’re worried that they don’t have properly documented workers, I think that’s where the concern comes in,” said Brown. “It’s from the enforcement angle.”

She added that the issue is not only finding a position with a company, but being able to maintain that position for a significant amount of time.

“If you find work, then sometimes you might lose it because now you have to wait to get your work authorization. So it could be either or,” said Brown. “If you’re currently here as a student it’s an easier avenue to get work authorization. If you’re outside the U.S. it’s much harder.”

Still, Godfread-Brown said students do face their own set of challenges.  She’s a former Syracuse University employee who moved to immigration law after noticing a lack of support for international students transitioning from school to the workplace.

Brown offered immigrants advice on how to obtain work visas.
Credit Michael Mulford / WAER News

“All of a sudden they’re not a student, so they don’t have their student resources. But they’re not earning enough money to go out and hire an immigration order, and they don’t have access to the information,” said Brown. ”Part of the need I feel is helping that student get that initial information without charging them anything.”      

She added that despite the Trump administration’s promises to crackdown on immigration and foreign workers, she has yet to see a real impact on the number of immigrants sending in applications for work visas.