Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
ICE launches immigration crackdown on 652 businesses
1. ICE launches immigration crackdown on 652 businesses
The Department of Homeland Security announced on July 1 that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has begun informing businesses of its intention to audit I-9 forms- employment eligibility documents that employers complete for all workers.
Employers must keep each I-9 form and review the authenticity of documents that have been supplied by the employee. Businesses have protested that pinpointing illegal workers is fraught with problems, such as distinguishing fake identity documents that have been made to appear legitimate and risking the violations of anti-discrimination laws.
Immigration officers have served "Notices of Inspection" to 652 businesses, a turn-around from the 503 issued in the last fiscal year.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has assured that the investigations will concentrate on businesses which knowingly employ immigrants incapable of working legally in the United States.
While the Bush administration had faced criticism for sending armed agents to arrest employees suspected of working illegally, the Obama administration has been attempting to build credibility in order to pass a bill for immigration reform.
This may be the beginning of the Obama administration's plan to crack down on unscrupulous employees, though it is difficult to assess as the names of the audited businesses have not been released.
President Obama Holds Bipartisan Immigration Meeting: Immigration Bill Coming Soon
1. President Obama Holds Bipartisan Immigration Meeting: Immigration Bill Coming Soon
President Obama vowed on Thursday, June 25, 2009 to immediately begin negotiations to craft comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), with the goal of passing legislation in Congress later this year or early next year.
Obama said that all parties were in agreement that the current immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. "The American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our borders, (and) we're cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages," he said. "And we need an effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here."
Obama said his administration has already taken steps to make the border more secure. But he said that the American public is not yet convinced that immigration problems - including illegal border crossings, undocumented workers and the stress they put on public services such as health care and education - can be fixed.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is expected to introduce the immigration legislation in the coming months.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a leading advocate of CIR, stressed the importance of including a legal temporary worker program in the bill. Senator McCain indicated that legislation without some sort of plan for legalizing the 12 million or so unauthorized workers currently in the U.S. would not gain his nor the Republican party's support.
The AFL-CIO joined the immigration coalition for the first time this year, on the condition that a proposed temporary guest worker program for future immigrant workers would not be part of the bill. Instead, the labor unions have proposed the creation of a federal commission that would adjust the number of worker visas each year based on economic conditions.
Mr. Obama announced improvements to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office (USCIS). The office will collaborate with Mr. Obama's chief information officer, chief performance officer and chief technologies officer to make the agency more efficient, more transparent and more user-friendly. USCIS will also launch in the next 90 days a new Web site that will, for the first time ever, allow applicants to get updates on their status of their applications via e-mail and text message and online.
Topics in this Issue:
2. Some Industries Cannot Find Enough Workers Even in a Recession3. Employers Support CIR4. CIR: Critical to Economic Recovery5. PEW Research Center Shows that 64% of Americans Favor a Way for Illegal Immigrants to Gain Legal Status
1. President Obama to hold Bipartisan Summit on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) this Thursday
The Associated Press reports that the Obama Administration is advancing Comprehensive Immigration Reform as one of its top priorities, and plans to hold a bipartisan summit on CIR this Thursday, June 25, 2009. President Obama will host a group of Senators and members of the House of Representatives at the White House to discuss upcoming legislation on CIR.
2. Some Industries Cannot Find Enough Workers Even in a Recession
Agriculture, food processing and some health care report few U.S. workers applying. Seasonal workers in particular remain in short supply. By advancing CIR and facilitating immigration, employers can fill the gaps they face with much needed workers. In 2007, foreigners accounted for nearly half of all workers with less than a high school education. The U.S. needs these workers to fill seasonal and unskilled jobs.
3. Employers Support CIR
U.S. employers want to be on the right side of the law. It is our obligation as citizens and it makes good business sense. With the government's help in providing an accurate, reliable electronic system to verify that employees are who they say they are and are authorized to work, employers can make employee verifications with greater ease. Law abiding business owners support more aggressive sanctions against businesses that deliberately ignore the law and those that continue to use unauthorized workers once more realistic immigration quotas are in place. Neglecting immigration reform or shrinking temporary worker programs now will lead to labor shortages when the economy improves. Growers who cannot find workers in the U.S. often move south across the border to Mexico. U.S. direct investment in Mexican agriculture has increased sevenfold since 2000. Other countries across the world are working hard to attract high-skilled immigrants - talent for which the U.S. will need to compete.
4. CIR: Critical to Economic Recovery
Requiring undocumented workers to become legal tax payers will create a level playing field for all workers and employers and will promote economic recovery. New tax revenue created by requiring undocumented workers to become legal taxpayers is estimated to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to the tax burden over the next decade. Legalization will close the trap door at the bottom of the wage scale and will help life wages of all workers. Creating legal channels for workers to come in the future will protect U.S. workers from unfair competition while facilitating long-term economic growth and innovation. Even in an economic downturn, skilled U.S. workers may not take low-paying unskilled jobs.
5. PEW Research Center Shows that 64% of Americans Favor a Way for Illegal Immigrants to Gain Legal Status
The time for CIR is now! Contact your Congressman and Senator today!
Topics in this Issue:
2. Attorney General Vacates Decision in Matter of Compean3. State Department Releases Visa Bulletin for July 20094. Chamber of Commerce Announces Delay in Implementation of E-Verify5. iCert Visa Portal System: By the Office of Foreign Labor Certification
1. Department of Labor Publishes Final Rule Reinstating H-2A Regulations
On May 29, 2009, the Department published a final rule suspending the H-2A final rule published on December 18, 2008, effective January 16, 2009. Employers should be aware that all applications filed prior to June 29, 2009 will be subject to and adjudicated under the December 2008 Rule. Applications filed on or after June 29, 2009 will be subject to and adjudicated under the reinstated regulations. The reinstated regulations will be in place for a period of no more than 9 months while the December 2008 Rule is under review by the Department.
2. Attorney General Vacates Decision in Matter of Compean
Attorney General Eric Holder vacated the order issued in Matter of Compean by Attorney General Mukasey in January and announced his intention to initiate a new rulemaking proceeding for regulations to govern claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in removal proceedings.
3. State Department Releases Visa Bulletin for July 2009
State Department summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers for July. Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by June 8th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed
The surge in usage of the employment-based fourth and fifth preference numbers is significant beyond those specific categories themselves because, historically, there have been substantial unused numbers in these categories which have been used to meet demand for visas in the employment-based first and second preference categories, allowing the China and India cut-off dates to advance further than would be possible if those categories are limited to only their annual limits. This means EB-2 immigrants from China and India could have an even longer wait to obtain green cards.
4. Chamber of Commerce Announces Delay in Implementation of E-Verify
USCIS reports that implementation of the final rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to begin using USCIS E-Verify system has been delayed until 9/8/2009.
5. iCert Visa Portal System: By the Office of Foreign Labor Certification
Benefits of its use include -
-Single stop entry portal for employers to prepare, submit, and track applications for labor certification
-Central repository for OFLC immigration related content
-Search engine where visa applications that are submitted though iCert can be reviewed
-Employers can search for prevailing wages based on occupation and geographical area