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Archive for the ‘I-9/E-Verify News’ Category

Recent DOJ Worksite Enforcement Settlements that Shed Light on Form I-9 Employer Compliance

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

One group of customers standing on a red target bullseye, with magnifying glass hovering above it

Plain and simple, failing to comply with IRCA’s I-9 rules have, and are continuing at a rapid rate, to result in significant fines, loss of access to government contracts, an onslaught of negative publicity, business closure, criminal penalties and even imprisonment.  Here are a few examples of recently settled cases in August 2015:

1) Creating discriminatory barriers for immigrants who have permission to work in the United States, $165 civil penalty with $50K in back pay:
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-discrimination-claim-against-louisiana-crane-construction

2) Requiring non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify their employment eligibility, $200K civil penalty: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-immigration-related-discrimination-claim-against-nebraska-based

3) City of Eugene, OR improperly restricted law enforcement positions to U.S. citizens at the time of hire, even though no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized such a restriction. must pay a civil penalty, train its employees about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to monitoring by the Justice Department for a period of three years!
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-citizenship-discrimination-claim-against-city-eugene-oregon

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Immigration Compliance Group provides US inbound immigration services to individuals and employers throughout the USA and abroad. We specialize in business immigration and have a depth of experience in the IT, healthcare, arts, entertainment and sports industries, amongst others. Our services include complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, skilled professionals, outstanding individuals of high achievement (O-1, P visas, EB-1 and EB-2 Exceptional Ability cases) and PERM Labor Certification.  We additionally provide employer compliance consulting services on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) management, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop a culture of immigration compliance. Our door is open for new clients — we extend a 20% discount on the first case with our firm.  Contact us at info@immigationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

New Social Security Card Process to Commence Sept 9, 2015

Monday, August 24th, 2015
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The new rule provides SSA and the public with different options for verifying an applicant’s identity and other eligibility factors, noting that it will continue to require the same evidence to establish citizenship, age and identity. The new rule will also remove the requirement that individuals seeking a replacement SSN card file an SS-5 form, allowing them instead to complete a “prescribed application,” which the agency said would simply be the application form — whether paper, online or another efficient, user friendly method.  Additionally, the SSA will release, through a gradual, state-by-state rollout, an online application that will permit adult U.S. citizens who are not reporting any changes to their record to apply for replacement SSN cards electronically after registering through the my Social Security” portal.
 
How will this change procedures for processing the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form?   The article states that employers are likely to find more rapid turnaround should employees lack a lost or misplaced social security card requiring reissuance. USCIS Form I-9 permits employers to initiate employment, in most instances, if hired employees can verify within three (3) days employment eligibility through the documentary requirements of USCIS Form I-9, including presentation of a valid social security card under “List C” of Form I-9.
 
– See more here
 
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Immigration Compliance Group provides US inbound visa services to individuals and employers throughout the USA and abroad. We specialize in business immigration and have a depth of experience in the IT, healthcare, arts, entertainment and sports industries, amongst others. Our services include complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, skilled professionals, outstanding individuals of high achievement and PERM Labor Certification. We additionally provide employer compliance consulting services on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) management, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop a culture of immigration compliance.

 

Can Driver Authorization Cards be used as a List B Document for I-9 Employment Verification?

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying GlassWe’re starting to intake alot of questions concerning these cards as they now filter through the system to employers charged with handling Form I-9 employment verification.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia enacted laws to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain a driver’s licenses. These states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Vermont and Washington—issue a license if an applicant provides certain documentation, such as a foreign birth certificate, a foreign passport, or a consular card and evidence of current residency in the state. Eight of these states extended driving privileges in 2013. In 2015, Delaware and Hawaii enacted legislation to give unauthorized immigrants driving privileges.

Here are examples of some of the cards with various different annotations.

An employer is required to accept as a list B document an unexpired driver’s license or ID that meets the standard for I-9 purposes.  What’s the standard?  A photo and other identifying information such as, their name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address. The underlying issue here is state law vs. immigration (federal law) and USCIS regulations concerning Form I-9.

Both USCIS and OSC concur, despite the various different types of annotations that appear on driver authorization cards, that they meet the regulations for an acceptable List B document if they adhere to the standards mentioned above.

An employer is required to examine the documents presented by its employee and determine whether they meet Form I-9 requirements. If the employer accepts any document, including a state-issued license or driver authorization card, or other type of ID with a limiting notation as a List B document, the employer must also examine a List C document that evidences employment authorization in order to make a proper determination if the individual is eligible for employment.

Employers may reject a document if it does not reasonably appear to be genuine or to relate to the employee. Rejecting a document that satisfies Form I-9 requirements may constitute illegal discrimination under the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

USCIS has published a set of FAQs on this topic that contain critical information and should be read, discussed and made a part of your training program for those charged with processing I-9 forms. Should you have any questions  on this matter or any other concerns regarding employer compliance issues, please feel free to contact us at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call
562 612.3996.

E-Verify Announces Major Proposed Changes

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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USCIS released details of proposed new changes to the E-Verify program on June 8, 2015 that were published this week.  The notice, found here, proposes several changes to E-Verify and seeks public comments until August 7, 2015 and links to new Q&A.   These changes will affect all employer users, including Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contractors.

The three critical changes entail:

1)  Requirement that employers re-verify the continuing work authorization of employees within three “Employer” days of the expiration of the employee’s “last” grant of work authorization.

a)  This requirement tracks the current continuing duty of employers to re-verify expiring work authorization of employees in Section 3 of the I-9 form or, in the alternative, to complete a new I-9.

b)  This differs from the I-9 process in that the E-Verify time frame for re-verification of the employment authorization is three days after its expiration, whereby the I-9 regulations state that an employer re-verify the expiring work authorization of an employee on or before the day it expires. In E-Verify, the proposed process cannot be started until after the expiration of the employment authorization.

c)  The re-verification requirement extends to employees hired before an employer began participating in the E-Verify program. Thus, the proposed change would require that employers re-verify an employee’s expiring work authorization regardless of whether they have previously created an E-Verify case for that employee or not. This again differs from the current E-Verify program rules that explicitly prohibit an employer verifying the work authorization of employees hired before the employer began participating in the program (with the exception of FAR E-Verify employers).

2)  Requirement that employers print the re-verification confirmation page and retain it along with an employee’s I-9 records or record the E-Verify re-verification case number on the employee’s I-9 Form.

3)  Provides a process for employees to seek review of E-Verify Final-Nonconfirmations.

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Immigration Compliance Group provides US inbound visa services to individuals and employers throughout the USA and abroad. We specialize in business immigration and have a depth of experience in the IT, healthcare, arts, entertainment and sports industries, amongst others. Our services include complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, skilled professionals, outstanding individuals of high achievement and PERM Labor Certification. We additionally provide employer compliance consulting services on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) management, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop a culture of immigration compliance.

 

California New AB 60 Driver’s License: Is it Good for Employment Eligibility?

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

SSCard_iStock_000008528169_ExtraSmall (2)Since early 2015, qualified California residents have been able to apply for and receive a driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles without proving that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.  All employers must accept the AB 60 driver’s license as a Form I-9 List B Identity document if the license reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual.  As with all permissible List B driver’s licenses, the AB 60 driver’s license must contain either a photograph or list the individual’s name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address. The AB 60 driver’s license only documents the employee’s identity; California employers must still examine a List C document that establishes employment authorization, such as a Social Security card or birth certificate.

 

View the Example of the AB-CA Driver’s License annotated with “Federal Benefits Apply”.

 

Electronic I-9 Form Soon to be Released

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

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At the Council for Global Immigration’s 2015 Symposium June 10, 2015 (ICE and OSC reps in attendance), it was announced that the I-9 form will help guide employers in filling them out correctly, with the goal being to prevent easily fixable errors such as not filling out required fields.  The soon-to-be-released form will have drop-down boxes and guides – but will not offer all of the features of electronic I-9 forms on the market… and will not connect with E-Verify, the government’s taxpayer-funded electronic employment verification system.

We will certainly continue to share the development of the launch of the electronic I-9 form – for sure – and are pleased to see USCIS continuing to provide additional compliance resources for US employers.

 

Agriculture: An impossible I-9 Form Employment Eligibility Hurdle

Friday, June 5th, 2015

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image20105530Broetje Orchards in Washington state, one of the country’s largest apple growers, has agreed to pay a $2.25 million fine for hiring illegal immigrants. The fine is one of the largest ever levied against an agricultural concern, according to government officials who announced it Thursday.  The Broetje case, which dragged on for years, highlights the uncertain environment for employers in agriculture –  as U.S. immigration policy remains in flux – and US citizens continue to refuse to do these jobs.

The civil penalty levied against Broetje on Thursday was for employing nearly 950 people who weren’t authorized to work in the U.S., according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The fate of the workers remains unclear. The majority are unlikely to be a priority for deportation, according to Obama policy that targets felons for removal from the U.S.

A family-run concern that grows apples and cherries on more than 4,000 acres in eastern Washington, Broetje was first found to have undocumented workers in a 2012 ICE audit. At the time, the federal agency’s investigators identified about 1,700 workers who were suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

In ensuing years, Broetje management negotiated with the federal government and lobbied in Congress to avert a high-profile raid of its facilities by authorities and to spare longtime workers, according to sources familiar with the matter.

“Companies want to keep their workers as long as possible because the environment will change,” said Julie Myers Wood, who headed ICE during the George W. Bush administration. “Someone who is not authorized today could be permitted to work tomorrow.”

All businesses are expected to comply with the law and to ensure the information provided on a form I-9 (employment form) is accurate,” ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña said in announcing the fine.  Undocumented workers typically secure jobs by presenting fake documents, such as Social Security numbers.  Under the settlement, Broetje doesn’t admit to criminal wrongdoing, but acknowledges that auditors found the company continuing to employ unauthorized workers after being advised by ICE those employees didn’t have permission to work in the U.S.

Broetje is the largest employer in Walla Walla County. It has more than 1,000 permanent employees and hires up to 2,800 people during harvest season. Many of them live on the company’s grounds in Prescott, Wash., where the grower has built housing, school and a day care center for workers.

The case highlights what is clearly a dysfunctional and broken immigration system.  The Obama administration began targeting employers because they are regarded as magnets for illegal immigration, since they provide jobs that lure undocumented workers.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it audited the company’s records last summer and found that nearly 950 of its employees over several years were suspected of not being authorized to work in the United States.

The ICE audits are an answer to calls by many members of Congress to strictly enforce current immigration laws before consideration of wholesale reform of the country’s immigration system.  The audits have drawn flak from both proponents and opponents of an immigration overhaul.  Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), a leading voice among foes of giving illegal immigrants amnesty, has deemed audits ineffectual because they don’t result in deportations.

Audits have hit national chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, garment maker American Apparel and janitorial firms in recent years.

ICE doesn’t disclose the names of audited companies, and it said it also doesn’t keep tabs on how many workers lose their jobs.

Georgia and Alabama were two of five states to pass tough crackdowns on illegal immigration in 2011, a year after Arizona made headlines for a hard-line immigration enforcement law that ended up being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Immediately after the laws were passed, farmers in both states complained that foreign workers who lived there had left and that the itinerant migrants who generally came through were staying away. American workers weren’t stepping forward to perform the back-breaking work immigrants had done for years, and crops were rotting in the fields because of a lack of laborers, they said.

An informal survey conducted in Georgia showed that farmers of onions, watermelons and other hand-picked crops lacked more than 11,000 workers during their spring and summer harvests of 2011, Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on immigration enforcement and farm labor.  But then as courts began blocking significant elements of the law and some loopholes became apparent, some of the workers who had fled for fear of arrest and deportation returned. Others were drawn back by their longstanding ties to the communities.

The audits have drawn flak from both proponents and opponents of an immigration overhaul, however.  Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), a leading voice among foes of giving illegal immigrants amnesty, has deemed audits ineffectual because they don’t result in deportations.  Audits have hit national chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, garment maker American Apparel and janitorial firms in recent years.

“We are pleased to put this process behind us and to get back to the business of growing fruit,” the company said in a news release. But the case, the company continued, illustrates the need for immigration reform.

“This case nevertheless highlights what is clearly a dysfunctional and broken immigration system,” the company said, and urged Congress to pass immigration reform.

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As always, we welcome your feedback. If you are interested in becoming a client of our office, please call 562 612.3996 or email info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com. We handle a broad range of business related immigration matters and have an active employer compliance practice, and consult on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) best practices, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop compliant immigration policies and procedures.

OSC Responds to E-Verify Concerns Regarding TX Executive Order RP-80

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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The OSC responds to inquiry clarifying possible E-Verify conflict between the obligations that TX state contractors and certain TX state agencies have under federal E-Verify with the TX Executive Order RP-80 that requires state contractors use E-Verify for “all persons employed during the contract term to perform duties within TX”.

The OSC letter qualifies the following 2 issues:

1)  Whether TX state contractors (who are not federal contractors) may disregard the terms of RP-80 by choosing to E-Verify only new hires; and

2)  Whether a TX state agency may E-Verify current and prospective employees

USCIS has advised TX employers that federal E-Verify regulations are in effect at all times. Under federal E-Verify rules, most employers using E-Verify may only create E-Verify cases for new hires. Federal E-Verify rules provide an exception for employers enrolled in E-Verify as federal contractors. They must create cases in E-Verify for new hires and for existing employees performing work under the federal contract (if the employer has not already created a case for the employee), and may choose an option to create cases in E-Verify for all employees of the contractor.

 

Executive Actions on Immigration

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Passport immigration stamp

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced efforts to retool critical aspects of the immigration system—how we enforce immigration laws, how we process immigration benefits, how we encourage further business innovation, and how we welcome immigrants to this nation.

Following the address, executive agencies made available intra-agency memoranda and fact sheets detailing specific actions that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future in ten areas within the confines of the law. These actions generally involve border security, the current unlawfully present population, or future legal immigration.

Below we link to Fact Sheets that address the details that we are aware of at this time of the 10 Executive Action Initiatives with links to the memoranda. Additional guidance will be forthcoming.

The expansion of the DACA program that has now removed the age restriction and increases employment authorization from 2 year to 3-year increments, is expected to go into effect on or about February 20, 2015. The implementation of DAPA, the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, that allows parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010 to request deferred action and employment authorization, is expected to roll out approximately mid-May 2015.

Resources:

http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-action

http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/guide-immigration-accountability-executive-action

Should you have questions at this time or would like to retain our office to assist you or your employees with their immigration matters, please contact us at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

 

E-Verify Records Retention and Disposal | I-9 Webinars On-Demand

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

As of January 1, 2015, E-Verify will begin disposing of E-Verify records that are over 10 years old. In order to retain case information, E-Verify employers may download and save the new “Historic Records Report.”  If you want a record of your cases that are more than 10 years old, you must download the new Historic Records Report before December 31, 2014.  The report will include all transaction records for cases more than 10 years old.  The report is only available until December 31, 2014.

NOTE – this Report will ONLY BE AVAILABLE from October 1, through December 31, 2014.  The Fact Sheet provides more information as to how to proceed to download applicable E-Verify records.

If you were not using E-Verify on or before December 31, 2004, you do not need to download the report. There will be no records to report.  Note that E-Verify will continue this practice on an annual basis.

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USCIS Now Offering I-9 Webinars On-Demand

On September 25, 2014, USCIS published the first Form I-9 Webinar On – Demand. Now you can watch the free Form I-9 webinar at any time.
Choose the chapters of your choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting. You will see how to complete Sections 1, 2 and 3, best practices
and much more. It’s a great training tool. Visit I-9 Central to learn more and view other videos in the multi-media section.

Form I-9 Webinar on Demand | USCIS uscis.gov