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Posts Tagged ‘Undocumented Workers’

Changes to Business-related Immigration Under Trump’s Administration

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

By:  Allison McDonnell, ICG Content Coordinator

The US President's home at 1600 Pennsylvania Av, Washington DC.

President-elect, Donald Trump, will take office as the United State’s 45th president on January 20, 2017.  Trump ran his presidential campaign from a clear anti-immigration platform.  His ten-point plan, which includes limiting legal immigration, could have substantial effects on business immigration in the U.S.  However, it is still too soon to tell exactly which stances Trump’s administration will, or will be able to, follow through on.  Changes on the business-related immigration side are likely to come in incremental stages and later on, as his first priority will be undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

H-1B Visa Program

Throughout his campaign, Trump spoke out against the H-1B visa program, arguing that it is an abused process used to replace American workers with cheap labor.  He claimed several times that his intentions are to end the program completely.  However, experts say that the program will more than likely not be eradicated, but simply reformed.  For one, Trump, himself, understands the value of high tech global talent.  In addition, the fact that he desires a strong relationship with India, whose tech workers are among the largest group of beneficiaries of the H-1B program, will likely keep him from abolishing the program all together.  With popularity of reform from several congressmen and Trump’s base, it is likely that smaller caps and more stringent qualifications will be imposed.

E-1 and E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas

Trump has been less vocal about planned changes to employment-based visas outside of the H-1B visa.  While it is likely that Trump will make major reforms to the H-1B program, we could also see some changes to the E-1 and E-2 visa classifications, given that they are increasingly the second-best option behind the H-1B visa for many immigrants.  For one, a tougher application of legal standards in immigration court and in consular processing may be applied to all visa categories.  In addition, caps could be implemented, which may be country-specific.  However, since a key part of the E-2 visa program is job creation, it could quite possibly go the other way, with the category growing in number.

Employment Eligibility Verification:  I-9 and E-Verify Programs

Considering employment draws immigrants to the United States, it is likely that we will see stricter enforcement of the Form I-9 verification process under Trump’s presidency.  Starting next year, there will likely be more ICE officers and immigration judges hired to expedite cases.  This increase in staff may lead to an increase in the number of worksite inspections for I-9 compliance.  It is also possible that there will be an increase in penalties and fines for any violations uncovered.  Therefore, it is important for employer’s to ensure that their paperwork, policies, and practices are in order in case of an audit.  Given that Trump may overturn President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), employers also need to be aware of which of their current foreign-born employees may become immediately undocumented and take proper action.

Trump has consistently applauded the E-Verify process for its systematic ability to filter out unauthorized employment.  In his position paper on immigration, he would mandate that the E-Verify process be used across the U.S.  Although, Trump will likely meet the same resistance as Congress has in the past, when it tried and failed several times to implement mandatory E-Verify.  That being true, Trump may still be able to strengthen or increase the program through unilateral executive orders.

In Closing

Although it is still too soon to tell precisely which of Trump’s campaign promises he will have the time, resources, or support to follow through on, it is a good idea to be informed and alert to the timing and the next steps required concerning your immigration matters and remain proactive, both as an employer and employee.  If you haven’t moved forward on a viable case, we would recommend that you meet with immigration counsel to prepare for the upcoming months under the new administration.  You can contact our office here.


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.


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 or call 562 612.3996.


U.S. Begins New Crackdown on Hiring Illegal Workers

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 Street Journal (09/12/13) Article Reprinted in Staffing Today

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has notified 1,000 companies across the country that they must submit employment verification documents for audits. This is the largest audit since July 2009. The audits target restaurants, food processors, high-tech manufacturers, the agriculture sector, and other industries that cumulatively employ tens of thousands of workers.

The audits will not lead to deportation of illegal workers, but those workers will lose their jobs, which critics point out can drive immigrants to exploitative, off-the-books work. They can also cause lost productivity and result in large fines and the loss of employees to competitors. ICE typically requests Forms I-9, worker rosters, and payroll stubs, then issues notices of suspect documents to employers, which inform their workers they must either produce legal documentation or quit. More than 10,000 employers have been audited in the past four years. The audits have grown more intense, and ICE now requests not just basic paperwork but weekly work schedules, names of managers, lists of temporary staffing firms used, and the company’s articles of incorporation.”

This is certainly NOT what you want to take place in your company. If you know that you are overdue for an I–9 audit (whether full or partial), or require additional training or should have your policies and procedures examined in light of recommended best practices, being proactive will always be your best defense. So, do not procrastinate. We’d be glad to work with you toward this end.  You contact us at or by calling 562 612.3996.

Reprint here:


Politics As Usual: Show Me Your Papers Survives AZ Court

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

After two years of being deadlocked in the court system, the injunction preventing Arizona’s police force from enforcing the racially controversial “papers please,” program was lifted Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton. The decision is the latest legal move in Valle del Sol v. Whiting, a class action legal challenge to SB 1070 that was filed in May 2010. Plaintiffs include an Arizona-born citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent who was racially profiled.  “While today’s ruling puts civil rights at risk, it does nothing to undermine our resolve to continue fighting until SB 1070 is struck down in its entirety,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. The Supreme Court upheld SB 1070 2(b), also known as the “papers please,” provision, earlier this summer. However, Justice Kennedy suggested there would be clear constitutional problems if the law were used to target racial or ethnic minorities, or to detain people for an unreasonable period of time while checking their immigration status. Opponents assert this unwanted outcome of targeting minorities is certain to transpire.

However, Governor Jan Brewer insists that the “papers please,” law does not allow Arizona law enforcement to conduct pretext stops because it requires reasonable suspicion. In a public statement she claimed Wednesday’s District Court ruling is “one big step closer to implementing the core provision of SB 1070.” That provision? Ridding Arizona of illegal immigrants.

Arizona’s highly controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was also been quoted on the Glenn Beck Show, clarifying his interpretation of reasonable suspicion, “If they have their speech, what they look like, if they look like they come from another country, we can take care of that situation.” As Brewer and Arpaio ramp up for the certain increase in detainment leading to deportation both Cecilia Wong of the ACLU and Victor Viramontes of MALDEF have committed to continue the fight against SB 1070.

It won’t be long before SB 1070 2(b) is back in the courthouse being challenged for racial profiling and discrimination based upon national origin. We will keep you updated on those and other immigration related breaking news as it develops. For more information, contact one of our immigration professionals at or call 562 612.3996.


I-9/E-Verify News: Criminal Charges in HSI Probe for Hiring Violations Coverup

Monday, September 10th, 2012

This employer really crossed the line in continuing to employ unauthorized workers AFTER an ICE audit of their I-9 records commenced, and failed to produce I-9 records for them on 3 previous occasions while transferring them to other jobsite locations.

Here’s the story….  The charges against the owner and Production Manager, Yoel A. Wazana, Wazana Brothers International, Inc., based in Van Nuys, CA, doing business under the name Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE), are the result of an investigation into MSE’s hiring practices that was initiated by HSI in 2007. According to court documents, shortly after MSE received notification in April 2007 that HSI planned to audit the company’s payroll and hiring records, Wazana directed that about 80 of MSE’s most experienced employees – at least 53 of whom did not have work authorization – be relocated to another manufacturing facility. When investigators requested hiring records from MSE on three separate occasions, the company failed to provide paperwork for those unauthorized workers. The plea agreements filed in this case also describe how, after learning of the ICE audit, Wazana conducted meetings with MSE’s assembly line workers, instructing them to obtain valid work authorization documents and return with those documents, suggesting that he did not care if the documents were actually theirs.

In February 2008, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at MSE’s Van Nuys plant. During the enforcement operation, special agents arrested eight current and former company workers on criminal charges and another 130 employees on administrative immigration violations.  The felony charge of false representation of a Social Security number carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

MSE has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of continuing employment of unauthorized aliens. In a plea agreement filed last month, the firm admits hiring approximately 55 unauthorized workers, and then continuing to employ them after the ICE audit had begun. The company admits that it knew, or deliberately avoided knowledge of the fact, that the individuals were not authorized to work in the United States.

The company’s plea agreement represents a global settlement of criminal and civil charges against the firm. Under the terms of the plea agreement negotiated by ICE and the United States Attorney’s Office, MSE agreed to pay approximately $267,000 in civil and criminal fines.

Beyond the monetary sanctions, the plea agreement calls for the company to be on probation for three years, during which time it will implement a series of stringent measures to ensure it is complying with the nation’s hiring laws. Those steps include retaining an independent compliance monitor (this is the first time we’ve heard of an ‘independent compliance monitor’ being mentioned) to oversee the completion and maintenance of the firm’s hiring records, and providing training to employees regarding federal hiring laws. The plea agreement takes into account the company’s willingness to take responsibility for its prior criminal conduct and to implement a rigorous program to ensure full compliance with federal hiring laws in the future.

In 2009, HSI implemented a new, comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce. Under this strategy, HSI is focusing its resources on the auditing and investigation of employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by knowingly employing illegal workers. In the last year, HSI has levied a record number of civil and criminal penalties against employers who violate immigration laws.

An employer’s blatant disregard for employment-related immigration law has been proven time and time again in our blog reporting of these cases to be an expensive, painful, reputation damaging and unnecessary path.  Call our office to establish a compliant workforce, 562 612.3996.

Brewer v. Obama: AZ Won’t Issue Driver’s License To DACA Workers

Monday, August 20th, 2012

By: Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

The State of Arizona behind Governor Jan Brewer has made their position clear, they do not support Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals. Brewer signed her own executive order to “defend” Arizona from President Obama’s Deferred Action Program. Executive Order 2012-06 alleges that because DACA workers are not given lawful status, but merely deferred status, DACA recipients can be legally denied the right to obtain a driver’s license or any public benefit.

Brewer justifies her executive order as a defense against DACA which she refers to as “federal paperwork,” that will result in “significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, it’s healthcare system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund.” A Brewer spokesperson sited specific public benefits that DACA holders will not be eligible for: KidsCare, a children’s health-insurance program; unemployment benefits; business and professional licenses and government contracts.

Legal challenges to Brewer opposition of Obama’s DACA program are expected this week. Under the REAL ID Act of 2005 Sec.202(C)(B)(2)(viii), a federal law that modified requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards, “deferred action” is a term used for those eligible for state issued identification and driver’s licenses. According to NBC News, Regina Jefferies a local Phoenix attorney, criticized Brewer’s executive order saying, “Immigrants in Arizona have in the past been granted “deferred action” for other reasons long before the new Childhood Arrivals program was announced.” Additionally, Brewer’s spokesperson said that DACA students would not receive in-state tuition pricing.

After Brewer’s announcement, protester’s outside of the Arizona state capital waived signs that read, “Why the hate?” This sentiment raises the question, is Brewer guilty of playing politics with immigrant lives? Certainly, extreme curtailing of the DACA program by states like Arizona (and Florida) appears to be less about state preservation than politics. This preemptive strike against the Presidential Executive Order is a sign of the strong resistance to come for future immigration reform that favors inclusion over deportation.

California officials announced they would honor the DACA program and issue driver’s licenses to eligible persons. As temporary California residents, DACA beneficiaries will be afforded in-state tuition pricing, driver’s licenses, and the temporary ability to seek employment.

The national success of the DACA program shall remain closely monitored. We will continue to keep you updated on this and other breaking immigration news. If your business has questions about the DACA program or hiring from this temporary workforce, contact one of our immigration professionals at or call 562 612.3996.

Please check out our news and stay informed.

More articles:  AZ Denies Dreamers GED Classes 

Driver’s Licenses Vary by State




Squeaky Clean? Wal-Mart Escapes Janitorial Class Action | Immigration Compliance Group News

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

On August 10, 2012, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., facing charges for acts of transporting illegal immigrants, harboring illegal immigrants, encouraging illegal immigration, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and involuntary servitude. Zavala et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., spanned eight years and four judicial opinions. The allegations against Wal-Mart suggested that senior officials knowingly and willingly permitted contractors and sub-contractor to hire illegal immigrants to perform after-hour janitorial services.

In their defense, Wal-Mart asserted that the plaintiff janitorial workers were not employees (therefore, not under their control), but also performed work at a Marriott hotel, a movie theater, and remodeling homes. Further, Wal–Mart often used store associates (regular, non-contract employees) to clean its stores. As a result, the court found that Wal-Mart did not knowingly hire illegal immigrant workers or encourage their contractors to do so. The court refused to certifying the class action based upon the shared discrete characteristic of plaintiffs as undocumented immigrants, stating: “Being similarly situated does not mean simply sharing a common status, like being an illegal immigrant.”

Moving forward, it is likely that Wal-Mart will amend its screening and compliance policies when hiring contractual workers. Many of the allegations against the big-box retailer reveal suspect employment practices that should be avoided including:

  • Management commenting on immigration status of workers
  • Using out-of-state relief workers immediately following the arrest of workers by federal immigration authorities
  • Allowing workers to store personal belongings in store
  • Allowing workers to sleep in store

For more information about the latest immigration court rulings and other breaking immigration news, subscribe to our blog and contact our office to discuss your I-9 audits, training and compliance program needs, 562 612.3996,



Form I-9 Audit Prompts Sushi Zushi Closure – Fish on ICE

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

Shortly after ICE began their Form I-9 audit of the San Antonio based sushi chain, Sushi Zushi, an exodus of employees forced the company into a weeklong-statewide shutdown. After an internal announcement by Sushi Zushi management to employees of the routine audit, a wave of scared employees did not return to their jobs on Friday Morning.  A public statement was issued by Sushi Zushi’s public relations spokesperson; Judy McCarter detailing the company’s decision:


Sushi Zushi has temporarily suspended its operations and closed its restaurants in San Antonio, Austin and the DFW Metroplex. We plan to resume operations as soon as possible.

The decision to close the restaurants was made at Sushi Zushi today by executive management due to an unanticipated internal reaction to news of a routine I-9 audit. Several vital employees have chosen not to report to work. This has affected our ability to provide our expected level of service to guests. CEO Alfonso Tomita is returning from travels outside the country.

Sushi Zushi’s policy is to comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations. And Sushi Zushi has made its best efforts to comply with I-9 requirements always done appropriate due diligence on all its staff. Sushi Zushi is working with legal counsel to respond to the government’s audit.

We wish to be clear – there was no raid by the government on our operations. Nor has any employee  been detained by the government or terminated by the company. Sushi Zushi is responding to a routine I-9 audit. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience and appreciate the patience of our loyal guests while we work through this issue.

Company management immediately posted want ad’s on Craigslist and Facebook. Their customers posted their concerns across social media, including accusations of mismanagement that surfaced on In the midst of this audit meltdown, an employee announced via facebook that he was promoted from delivery driver to sushi chef. With the company’s reputation spinning out of control, their facebook page had posts of former kitchen employees who remarked, “The food won’t be the same without us,” while other employees joked with friends that they had a week-off work to “fill out their I-9 forms.”

Before ICE issues a dollar of fines or fees, Sushi Zushi will suffer hundreds of thousands in loses and devastating harm to their reputation. Sushi Zushi employees fled because they were not educated on the differences between an I-9 audit and deportation raids. Clearly, today’s ICE audits are shaping up to be equally as effective in deterring unlawful employment as raids of the past. To prevent your company from becoming the next Sushi Zushi, contact our immigration professionals for their expert knowledge on Form I-9 compliance, and sign up to receive our information and visit our Employer Resource Center:


California’s “Underground Economy” Avengers | Immigration Compliance Group NEWS

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

   By:  Timothy Sutton, ICG Communications Editor

High unemployment across the country may be contributing to the shift in focus by numerous State and Federal agencies toward eradicating the underground economy. This term is used in the insurance industry to refer to unlicensed, untaxed, and uninsured employers or contractors. In immigration circles, the illegal workforce is the common term used to represent undocumented workers who like workers in the underground economy, represent the unlawful economic advantage unscrupulous employers have over law-abiding businesses. In response to these illegal employment practices, the government is on a crusade to incentivize the legal employment of American workers.

This July, California’s Department of Insurance spearheaded a multi-agency task force similar to undertakings of ICE, DHS, OSC, and SEC. Detectives from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), Employment Development Department (EDD), and County District Attorneys’ offices effectively created their own “Avengers” partnership to make an 11 county sweep across California, resulting in 104 enforcement actions.

US businesses are not strangers to regulatory enforcement. Arguably, complicated regulations on tax, insurance, employment and immigration laws deter the success of small to mid-sized American companies trying to expand into today’s global marketplace. Large corporations avail themselves of depressed wages and lenient international labor regulations by outsourcing labor to under-developed nations. Government regulatory and enforcement agencies like ICE have no jurisdiction to punish large corporations that exploit workers overseas. Consequently, “Avengers,” like the California task force against the underground economy, mostly impact local and domestic companies, often to their demise.

Competing against global-economic influences on a long-term basis in any industry requires strict scrutiny of company hiring policies, employment practices, and compliance with a complex myriad of tax, insurance, and immigration laws. If your business employs a domestic workforce, large or small, contact us to learn more about workforce compliance and subscribe to our blog  for the latest immigration news and updates.

Undercover Boss: Preventative Medicine for Businesses | Immigration Compliance Group

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

By: Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

One of my favorite television shows is Undercover Boss. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, the premise is: a CEO/President takes on a disguise to go undercover within their own business to find ways to (1) become more successful and (2) reward hardworking employees. Obviously, there is an essential element of Hollywood magic that prevents most of us from going “undercover” within our own business; but the lessons learned from this show are no less valuable.

Every episode begins with a slightly troubled, but optimistic executive. They instruct their trusted board of directors that they will be resigning from the company to go undercover as an employee over a week’s time in various lower levels of the company, entry-level to management. The goal is to see their business from a fresh perspective. A series of uncomfortable and often illegal encounters ensue where CEOs face discrimination, harassment and even get fired by their own employees. At the end of the hour-long television program, CEOs reward key employees and have “new and improved tools” to develop successful business practices.

There is a better way for your business to experience the same fresh perspective without shaving your head and slapping on a boar’s hair mustache; it’s called an audit. Yes the feared “audit” is most commonly associated with frightful agencies like the IRS and ICE. Yet, Undercover Boss is simply Hollywood’s version of a voluntary audit. In order to become more successful, discovering discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination within your own business is necessary. The alphabet agencies (ICE, IRS, DOJ, DOL) insist that companies perform annual audits to comply with a multitude of legal formalities. Not only will audits improve business efficiencies and reveal valuable employees, but it will also save your company thousands of dollars for failing a government ICE initiated audit.

The Immigration Compliance Group has years of auditing and consulting experience and a touch of Hollywood magic! Before you invest in your own set of wigs and costumes, contact one of our immigration professionals to discuss I-9 compliance and workforce related issues. Discover how audit prevention and a fresh set of eyes can improve your business.  Contact us for support in planning and implementing legally sound solutions to protect your company’s future:  562 612.3996 |

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