Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must only use the new Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013

May 7, 2013

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has updated Form I-9. Please see below for a review of all of the new revisions to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Section 1 – Employee Information and Attestation

1. Employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the 1st day of employment

2. Social Security Number:
a. If Employer is enrolled in E-Verify; employee must provide Social Security number.
b. If Employer not enrolled in E-Verify; disclosure of employee Social Security number is voluntary.

3. Optional Items – Email Address and Telephone Number
a. An employee may provide email address and telephone number if they want DHS to notify them if DHS learns of a potential mismatch between the information provided and the information in DHS/SSA records.
b. An employee may choose not to provide an email address and telephone number, and must write N/A in the blocks which request that information

4. Attestation under penalty of perjury:
a. If an alien authorized to work until a specific date…the employee must now provide either:
i. Alien registration number; OR
ii. Form I-94 admission number (11 digit number found on I-94 card), AND
• Must list the Foreign passport number
• Must list the Country where the passport was issued.
b. By signing the form, the employee is attesting that the citizenship or immigration status selected is correct and that they are aware that they may be imprisoned and/or fined for making false statements or using false documentation when completing Form I-9.

Section 2- Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification

**REMINDERS:

1. Employers CANNOT specify which document(s) employees may present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents, found on the last page of Form I-9, to establish identity and employment authorization. Employees must present one selection from List A OR a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

2. If an employee presents a List A document, he or she should NOT present a List B and List C document, and vice versa. If an employer participates in E-Verify, the List B document MUST include a photograph.

3. Employers are REQUIRED to physically examine each document the employee presents to determine if it reasonable appears to be genuine and relate to the person presenting it. The person who examines the documents MUST be the same person who signs Section 2. The examiner of the documents and the employee must both be physically present during the examination of the employee’s documents.

**NEW CHANGES:

1. If the employee is a student or exchange visitor who presented a foreign passport with a Form I-94, the employer should also enter in Section 2:

a. The student’s Form I-20 or DS-2019 number (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System – SEVIS Number); AND the program end date from Form I-20 or DS-2019.

2. Receipts
a. Receipts showing that a person has applied for an initial grant of employment authorization, OR for renewal of employment authorization, are NOT ACCEPTABLE.
b. Three types of acceptable receipts:
• A receipt showing that the employee has applied to replace a document that was lost, stolen or damaged. The employee must present the actual document within 90 days from the date of hire.
• The arrival portion of Form I-94/I-94A with a temporary I-551 stamp and a photograph of the individual. The employee must present the actual Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) by the expiration date of the temporary I-551 stamp, or, if there is no expiration date, within 1 year from the date of issue.
• The departure portion of Form I-94/I-94A with a refugee admission stamp. The employee must present an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or a combination of a List B document and an unrestricted Social Security card within 90 days.

Section 3- Reverification and Rehires

*REMINDERS:

a. Employers or their authorized representations should complete Section 3 when reverifying that an employee is authorized to work. Reverification applies if evidence of employment authorization (List A or List C document) presented in Section 2 expires.

b. When rehiring an employee within 3 years of the date Form I-9 was originally completed, employers have the option to complete a new Form I-9, OR complete Section 3 of the original Form I-9.

c. For employees who provide an employment authorization expiration date in Section 1, employers must reverify employment authorization on or before the date provided.

d. Employers should not reverify:
• U.S. citizens and noncitizen nationals; OR
• Lawful Permanent Residents who presented a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) for Section 2.

*Any new pages of Form I-9 completed during reverification must be attached to the employee’s original Form I-9. If you choose to complete Section 3 of a new Form I-9, you may attach just the page containing Section 3, with the employee’s name entered at the top of the page, to the employee’s original Form I-9.

*Once the individual’s employment ends, the employer must retain this form for either 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date employment ended, whichever is later.


Accurate completion of I-9 forms is a good faith defense to a charge of hiring unauthorized workers.

The best way for an employer to avoid IRCA problems is to establish a meaningful I-9 audit system.

If you are interested in hiring our law firm to help your business achieve and maintain I-9 compliance, please contact our office.

FREE Revised Form I-9 Webinars

April 25, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is offering free online Web Seminars (Webinars) on the revised form I-9, which is used for Employment Eligibility Verification. Please see the schedule for the month of April below. There are at least three more webinars available. All you need to do is sign-in 15 minutes before the schedule time and you are ready.

The Revised Form I-9 Webinars will cover an overview of the process and includes step by step instructions of how to complete the form.

FREE Revised Form I-9 Webinars


REMINDER: Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must only use the new Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N.


Source of Information:

USCIS (4/23/13) email bulletin:
Just Added, Six Free Form I-9 Webinars!


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

USCIS Web Page: I-9 Central Home

I-9 Audit, Are You Ready?

March 13, 2013

Recent investigations and raids make it clear that I-9 enforcement is a top priority to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ALL employers must accurately complete I-9 forms for all new employees; therefore, it is imperative that your company has an organized and meaningful audit system in place, to assure compliance with the law. If your company is in need of assistance in getting your I-9 forms into compliance, you should contact a qualified, experienced immigration attorney.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), all employers must verify that every person that is hired is either:

- A U.S. citizen
- A lawful permanent resident
- A foreign national with authorization to work in the U.S.

Within three business days of beginning the job, a new employee must furnish identity and employment eligibility documents. It is the responsibility of the employer to examine the documents to determine whether they are genuine and relate to the specific employee. Once the I-9 form is completed, they are to be kept in office for the longer of three years after employment begins or one year after employment is terminated; Retaining Form I-9.

Most importantly, if an employee has temporary employment authorization, a re-verification of employment eligibility must be conducted prior to expiration of the employment authorization. Moreover, officers of the DHS and ICE have the right to audit employers’ I-9 forms. DHS/ICE officers’ conduct an estimated 60,000 I-9 audits a year on employers around the country and have issued fines in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, each mistake on an I-9 Form counts as a separate violation. All employers are further subject to civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ aliens who are not authorized to work in the U.S. Accurate completion of I-9 forms is a good faith defense to a charge of hiring unauthorized workers.

ICE has increasingly been conducting workplace raids that can have a significant impact on an employer and its workers regardless of status. Results of those raids have been:

- Public relations nightmares
- Fleeing or arrested workers resulting in loss of work force
- Loss of productivity
- Split up families and related humanitarian issues
- Expensive and protracted litigation

Therefore, the best way for an employer to avoid IRCA problems is to establish a meaningful I-9 audit system. If necessary, this matter should be discussed in consultation with a qualified, experienced immigration attorney.

The new USCIS Employee Rights Webinar for Form I-9 and E-Verify

November 13, 2012

Workers and Worker Advocates – Learn more about Employee Rights!

The new Employee Rights Webinar will help you help others to understand their rights in the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes.

USCIS and the DOJ Civil Rights Division are co-presenters of this free live webinar that explains employee rights and employer responsibilities in the employment eligibility verification process. This webinar also includes a review of Self Check and materials to educate and assist workers. Don’t forget to view and download the creative resources in the Employee Rights Toolkit to share with those you serve.

Workers and job seekers are welcome to attend too.

Join one of these sessions. Preregistration is not required.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST Attend Session

Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST Attend Session

Source of Information: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent this bulletin at 11/07/2012 08:45 AM EST

E-Verify, an Internet-based system operated by USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA); allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. Approximately 98.3 percent of all E-Verify queries are automatically confirmed without any need for employee action. Note that the use of E-Verify is voluntary. Please visit USCIS’s web site, “E-Verify” for page detail information.

Form I-9 is the Employment Eligibility Verification form which all U.S. employers must complete and retain. This form must be completed for all employees; citizens and noncitizens. The employer must examine the form information and the identification used to determine if they are reasonably genuine. Please visit USCIS’s web site, “I-9 Central Home” page for detail information.

Kansas corporation admits knowingly hiring illegal alien to run McDonald's franchise

November 2, 2012

A Kansas corporation agreed to plead guilty Wednesday to an immigration charge after a federal investigation showed that the manager of one of its McDonald's restaurants in Wichita was an illegal alien. This announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, District of Kansas.

This guilty plea agreement resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General.

McCalla Corporation, a McDonald's restaurant franchisee with offices in Wichita, was charged Oct. 31 with one felony count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document offered as proof that an employee was eligible to work. As part of the plea agreement, the corporation agreed to pay a $300,000 fine, and an additional $100,000 forfeiture judgment.

For more information about how employers can help ensure they hire a legal workforce, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site at www.uscis.gov and click on E-verify.


Source of Information: “ICE News Release, October 31, 2012, Wichita, KS”

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 31, 2012

August 27, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 31, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 17, 2012

August 13, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 17, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS: What Employers Need to Know

July 31, 2012

There are three potential “hot spots” for audits and investigations for the government related to the immigration and nationality laws. The first has to do with the documentation that the employer is required to maintain in connection with the H-1B nonimmigrant professional and specialty and occupation worker visa. The second area of potential audit concerns the employer’s obligations under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) [Pub. L. No. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359] (known to HR Professionals as the “I-9 Process”). The third area of audit surrounds the Labor Certification Application Program called, “Permanent Electronic Review Management” (“PERM”).
Each of the foregoing government programs anticipates compliance through “audit”. Even a rudimentary understanding of the complex documentary requirements for each of these programs can help an employer avoid potential liability.

It appears clearly to be the case that immigration-related programs that are undertaken by employers may be subject to either directed and/or random government audits from the DHS and/or the DOL. Failure to adequately comply with government regulations can result in penalties. The employer’s familiarity with the intricacies of the auditing and compliance are likely to save a considerable amount of both time and money.

The backbone of a healthy corporate immigration policy is ensuring a company's compliance with regulations designed to protect U.S. workers and ensure that its workforce is made up of individuals lawfully authorized to work in the United States.

MVP Law Group provides a full suite of flexible, high-quality compliance services in order to help employers ensure continuous compliance with the ever changing regulatory environment. We offer a number of personalized services, both ongoing and project based that can assist businesses with maintaining compliance mandated by the Department of Labor (DOL), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9),), among others.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 20, 2012

July 16, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 20, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 6, 2012

July 3, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMERS, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 6th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 30, 2012

March 26, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 30th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 16, 2012

March 12, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 16th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 2, 2012

February 27, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 2nd, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 17, 2012

February 13, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, February 17th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 3, 2012

January 30, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, February 3rd, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 20, 2012

January 16, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, January 20th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 6, 2012

January 3, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, January 6th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 25, 2011

November 21, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 25th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 11, 2011

November 7, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 11th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 28th, 2011

October 24, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 28th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 30th, 2011

September 26, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 30th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 16th, 2011

September 12, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 16th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, September 2nd, 2011

September 2, 2011

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Prevailing Wage
Has the suspension been lifted for the issuance of Prevailing wage determinations? I am hearing conflicting information on the internet – forums.

Answer #1
As of August 25, 2011 - The Department of Labor (DOL) Liaison received reports from members that PERM prevailing wage determinations are beginning to be received for requests submitted in early June 2011. Additionally, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has been in discussions with other stakeholders on possible courses of action, including individual mandamus actions, if DOL does not resume issuing prevailing wage determinations promptly.
Original Update: The OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center is experiencing delays in processing prevailing wage determinations as it is currently working to reissue certain determinations to comply with a court order issued June 15, 2011 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2011, and a Final Rule was published on August 1. All Center resources are currently being utilized to comply with this court order. The processing of Prevailing Wage Determinations, redeterminations, and Center Director Reviews has been temporarily suspended. Processing will resume as soon as full compliance with the court order has been completed by OFLC. They hope to comply with the court order before October 1, 2011.
We have not received any information that the suspension has been lifted as of yet. Stay tuned to MVP Law Group, as we will continue to post new information as soon as it becomes available.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My spouse and daughter have received their Green Cards but I have not. I filed for our GCs through my employer – employment based. What do I need to do to fix this? Is there a problem with my case? Could my GC be denied? Please advise.

Answer #2
Based on the small amount of information you have provided, it seems like there may be an issue with the issuance/mailing of your Green Card. Your spouse and daughter would not have received their Green Cards if there was a pending issue with your case. From the information you provided, you are the primary applicant and your spouse and daughter are your derivatives. Therefore, the USCIS would not approve the I-485 Application to Adjust status for the derivatives without first approving it for the primary applicant. Follow up with the USCIS after 30 days from the date your spouse and daughter received their Green Cards by calling 1-800-375-5283.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-1B nonimmigrant visas remain for the CAP for FY2012 beginning October 1, 2011?

Answer #3
As of August 26, 2011, there were approximately 36,000 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 4,200 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. For continuous FY2012 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to our www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My current H-1B visa expires on 9/14/2011 and I’ve filed for an extension in late July and received a receipt for it. Can I continue working without the new approval?

Answer #4
Yes, under regulation 8 C.F.R. §274a.12(b)(20), a person lawfully employed under A-3, E-1,E-2,E-3,G-5, H-1B, H-2A/B, H-3, I, J-1, L-1, O-1/O-2, P-1/P-2/P-3, R or TN status who timely files an application for extension consistent with 8 C.F.R. §214.1, is automatically given 240 days from the date of expiration. During 240 days, there is no INA 245(c) bar to adjustment of status.


Question #5 – General
Is a new I-9 form required when an applicant applies for an extension to their employment authorization and are then granted the extension?

Answer #5
A new I-9 form is not required, but Section 3 of the original form should be completed by the authorized representative of the Company prior to the expiration of the applicant’s employment authorization.


Question #6 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa: Traveling
I am planning on traveling out of US for short trip. I heard from friends that I may not be able to obtain a new visa stamp for my recently approved I-129 and come back. Please advise.

Answer #6
If you MUST travel on H-1B status, we recommend that you have the following: at least two months’ worth of pay stubs, a copy of the approved H-1B petition, an original employment verification letter, the original approval notice, and any other documentation that would demonstrate compliance with the laws governing the H-1B program and the establishment of a bona fide job opportunity.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have an H-1B application pending since early June 2011, no RFE issued yet. Can I contact USCIS and make a service request for them to look further into the case and why it is taking so long?

Answer #7
Please review the processing times prior to calling for the Service Center where your case is being adjudicated. If your case is in fact outside of the normal processing time, the Petitioner/Authorized Representative or an Attorney for the Petitioner/Applicant should contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center, which can be reached at 1-800-375-5283, to initiate the service request for a petition that is outside of the normal processing time.

If making a service request to the Customer Service Center, please have the following information available so the Representative will be better able to assist you: your full name, the applicant’s full name, your complete company mailing address, the applicant’s complete mailing address, the applicant’s date of birth, the applicant’s receipt number for the pending application/petition, and the filing date of the applicant’s pending application/petition. If your case is outside of the normal processing time, the Officer should initiate a service request and will provide you with a timeframe for a response and a referral number in case you have to call back because no correspondence was issued within the timeframe suggested.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My brother needs to file H-1B. If he needs to apply for his new H1B under the quota, is the quote full or is it still open for this year or would he need to wait till April for new quota to open and wait till October 2012 to start work.

Answer #8
The FY2012 quota, with employment beginning October 1, 2011 remains open. As of August 26, 2011, there were approximately 36,000 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 4,200 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.


Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card - EAD Renewal
I filed for my EAD renewal back in May 2010 and it is still pending. My current EAD expires next week. What are my options moving forward - can I expedite the EAD renewal process since my card is expiring next week, can I continue to work with the receipt notice?

Answer #9
To my knowledge you normally cannot expedite an EAD renewal request; however, after an EAD renewal has been pending for 75+ days, you may initiate an ‘outside the processing times’ Service Request with the USCIS. If you do not receive your EAD approval by the time your current EAD expires, you MUST WAIT and NOT WORK until your EAD is approved. You MAY NOT continue to work using the EAD receipt notice as the receipt is not evidence of an approval.

You may file an EAD renewal request up to 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD and should be aware of the Service Center processing times well in advance of filing so that you can obtain an approval of the EAD to continue working.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H2B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-2B nonimmigrant visas remain under the 2nd half of FY2011, if any? Under the 1st half of FY2012?

Answer #10
As of 8/26/11, USCIS receipted 30,999 petitions toward the 33,000 H-2B cap amount for the second half of the fiscal year (FY) 2011 (April 1 - September 30). This count includes 29,921 approved and 1,078 pending petitions.

As of 08/26/11, USCIS receipted 4,326 petitions toward the 33,000 H-2B cap amount for the first half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, (October 1 - March 31). This count includes 3,173 approved petitions and 1,153 pending petitions.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, September 16th, 2011!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (July-August 2011)

August 30, 2011

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in July-August 2011 and summarized below by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association):

Senate Bills

Immigration Fraud Prevention Act of 2011 - S. 1336
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 7/7/11
Summary: Prevents immigration fraud by making it a Federal crime to defraud individuals in connection with any matter arising under immigration laws.

Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act - S. 1380
Introduced by Sen. Vitter (R-LA) on 7/12/11
Summary: Suspends until Jan. 21, 2013 certain provisions of federal immigration law.

Trafficking in Persons Report Improvement Act of 2011 - S. 1362
Introduced by Sen. Webb (D-VA) on 7/13/11
Summary: Simplifies the Trafficking in Persons Report by reducing the number of country categories and ranking countries within each category according to their relative adherence to the minimum standards set forth in TVPA of 2000.

Helping Agriculture Receive Verifiable Employees Securely and Temporarily (HARVEST) Act of 2011 - S. 1384
Introduced by Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) on 7/19/11
Summary: Amends the INA to provide for the temporary employment of foreign agricultural workers.

Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for (HELP) Separated Children Act - S. 1399
Introduced by Sen. Franken (D-MN) on 7/21/11
Summary: Protects children affected by immigration enforcement actions.

S. 1405
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 7/21/11
Summary: Private bill for the relief of Guy Privat Tape and Lou Nazie Raymonde Toto.

House Bills

H.R. 2805
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 8/5/11
Summary: Amends Section 220 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 to make permanent made by the section.

Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2011- H.R. 2730
Introduced by Rep. Bass (D-CA) on 8/1/11
Summary: Amends Part E of Title IV of the Social Security Act to better enable State child welfare agencies to prevent human trafficking of children and serve the needs of children who are victims of human trafficking.

Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act - H.R. 2497
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 7/12/11
Summary: Suspends until Jan. 21, 2013 certain provisions of federal immigration law.

H.R. 2556
Introduced by Rep. Ryan (D-OH) on 7/15/11
Summary: Suspends the issuance of visas to nationals of Brazil until Brazil amends it laws to remove the prohibition on extradition of nationals of Brazil to other countries.

Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for (HELP) Separated Children Act - H.R. 2607
Introduced by Rep. Woolsey (D-CA) on 7/21/11
Summary: Protects children affected by immigration enforcement actions.

Military Families Act - H.R. 2638
Introduced by Rep. Filner (D-CA) on 7/25/11
Summary: Authorizes the adjustment of status for immediate family members of individuals who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Jobs for Americans Act of 2011 - H.R. 2670
Introduced by Rep. Brooks (R-AL) 7/27/11
Summary: Provides that States and local government may pass laws that identify illegal aliens, deter illegal aliens from entering the United States, apprehend illegal aliens, or encourage or otherwise cause illegal aliens to leave the United States.

H.R. 2556
Introduced by Rep. Ryan (D-OH) on 7/15/11
Summary: Prohibits the issuance of a visa to a citizen, subject, national, or resident of Brazil until Brazil has removed the prohibition on extradition of Brazilian nationals to other countries. The bill authorizes the President to waive such prohibition on a case-by-case basis if in the U.S. national interest.

Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11082563 (posted Aug. 25, 2011)"

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, August 19th, 2011

August 19, 2011

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-1B nonimmigrant visas remain under the CAP for FY2012 beginning October 1, 2011?

Answer #1
As of August 12, 2011, there were approximately 39,700 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and 5,300 H-1B Masters Exemption nonimmigrant visas remaining. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. For continuous FY2012 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to our www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.


Question #2 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
My wife and I, USC, are from El Salvador and we are going for vacation this weekend for a few weeks back to El Salvador. We have an adult child who still lives in El Salvador with his wife and children – we are interested in bringing him over here to the United States. Can you let us know what time period we would be looking at for bringing him over here as a Permanent Resident?

Answer #2
According to the September Visa Bulletin which is effective beginning September 1, 2011, the Family Based third preference category (F3) for all chargeability areas except China, India, Mexico and the Philippines, is backlogged, this means, that you must wait until a visa becomes available, until the priority date becomes current. Individuals in that preference category with priority dates of August 22, 2001 and earlier are being serviced. Accordingly, you would be looking at a time period of approximately 10+ years, if not longer, as it all depends upon the availability of immigrant visas. The priority dates in each category and for each country can change each month. However, please note that the priority dates can also stay the same. They can move very slowly or progress by several months or years. They can move forward or backward. Therefore, there is no way to anticipate what the priority date will be in a future month or when a category will become current.


Question #3 – General
I work for a company in San Bernardino, CA, a pharmaceutical company. They have expressed an interest in sponsoring my green card. I have a few friends in Maryland who used your firm for other immigration services and I wanted to know if I could use your firm also to process my green card? With me in California and your firm in Maryland, is it legal, can we do this?

Answer #3
MVP Law Group is an innovative law firm that provides business immigration services to corporations, universities, hospitals, and other organizations, as well as, entrepreneurs and individuals.. Immigration law is federal in nature (i.e., no state or provincial law is involved), therefore, our firm is able to provide U.S. business immigration services to clients located anywhere in the United States and around the world. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation, please contact our office.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Can a company sponsor my GC as an United Arab Emirates born individual in parallel to H1? (I was born in UAE and I have searched that GC processing depends on your birth country and my GC will be approved in just 6 months).

Answer #4
Based on the general information you have provided, a company is be able to initiate your Employment Based green card filing at the same time as the H-1B filing. Additionally, the priority date for citizens from the UAE in the EB2 preference category is current; however, the priority date for citizens from the UAE in the EB3 preference category is backlogged to November 22, 2005. Accordingly, if you are eligible to file in the EB2 preference category, you should be able to file the I-140 and I-485 petitions concurrently and should receive your GC according to the processing times listed on the USCIS website.


Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H2B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-2B nonimmigrant visas remain under the 2nd half of FY2011? Under the 1st half of FY2012?

Answer #5
As of 8/12/11, USCIS receipted 30,810 petitions toward the 33,000 H-2B cap amount for the second half of the fiscal year (FY) 2011 (April 1 - September 30). This count includes 29,736 approved and 1,074 pending petitions.

As of 08/12/11, USCIS receipted 3,260 petitions toward the 33,000 H-2B cap amount for the first half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, (October 1 - March 31). This count includes 2,516 approved petitions and 744 pending petitions.


Question #6 – Dependent H4 Nonimmigrant Visa
Will my spouse automatically be shifted from F2 to H4 once I receive my approved H1B or do I need to process her case separately?

Answer #6
In this situation, your spouse’s status will not automatically be converted to H4 status, she must file a Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status), along with your I-129 visa petition requesting a change of status from F2 to H4. Her case will not need to be processed separately; it can be prepared and filed along with your H-1B visa petition. If you have already filed your H-1B petition, you will have to file her I-539 (H4) petition separately.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
It seems like it’s taking a lot longer to conduct recruitment prior to filing the Labor application, what’s the issue?

Answer #7
There are two known reasons for the delay:

(1) As of January 1, 2010 the Department of Labor (DOL) federalized the process for obtaining Prevailing wage requests, which is the first step in the Labor process before recruitment can be conducted. We normally could obtain a prevailing wage request directly from the specific state workforce agency within a few days to a week. In addition to federalizing the process, the DOL made the process for obtaining the prevailing wages by electronic means as well as by requesting a prevailing wage through the U.S .mail. After the centralization of this process, it takes approximately 45-60 days to obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. The determinations are issued on a first come, first serve basis.

(2) Currently, the OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center is experiencing delays in processing prevailing wage determinations as it is currently working to reissue certain determinations to comply with a court order issued June 15, 2011 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2011, and a Final Rule was published on August 1. All Center resources are currently being utilized to comply with this court order. The processing of Prevailing Wage Determinations, redeterminations, and Center Director Reviews has been temporarily suspended. Processing will resume as soon as full compliance with the court order has been completed by OFLC. They hope to comply with the court order before October 1, 2011.


Question #8 – Family Based Immigration: Marriage – K1 Fiancé Visa
My son is a U.S. Citizen and is engaged to marry his British fiancé. Both have known one another for over nine years and have been engaged for six months. Can my son sponsor his fiancé? What needs to be done?

Answer #8
U.S. Citizens who are engaged to be married to a foreign national may petition the USCIS on behalf of their fiancé by way of the K-1 visa. To be eligible for this visa: (1) you must be legally able to marry; (2) the marriage must be a bona fide marriage with good intent; (3) you must be willing to marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States; and (4) you must have met within two years of filing for the visa. Your son should first file a Petition for Alien Fiancé (Form I-130) with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the USCIS will forward the approved petition to the appropriate consulate to interview the applicant. Once the applicant attends the consular interview and is approved for the visa, she may travel to the United States to marry your son. A petition for K-1 status is valid for four months from the date of USCIS action, and may only be revalidated by the consular officer.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
This is my first time filing for H1B; I just graduated from U.S. University few months ago. My approval notice states that the Consulate has been notified and that I need to appear there to obtain H-1B visa. I thought the approval notice I received was the H-1B visa. What to do?

Answer #9
Before you can commence work with your petitioning employer, an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) will need to be prepared and an I-9 requires evidence of a valid and current I-94 (Arrival and Departure Record). If an I-94 has NOT been issued with your approval notice, you must obtain a valid and current I-94. Since you are already in the United States you will need to go back to your home country and obtain an H4 visa and I-94. Or as noted in the Approval Notice, you can file a new H4 petition to seek to change or extend your status based on this petition, if a request was not made or was made and you believe it was improperly or incorrectly denied.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I know there are quite a few GC cases pending and USCIS can only work on cases up to available VISA numbers and once the numbers are consumed, then it could go back with the next VISA bulletin. I think we can call the USCIS and provide details of our case so that based on first come first call; they would process and issue the GC faster.

Answer #10
You cannot call the USCIS to speed up the processing/issuance of your Green Card. Priority dates were established for this exact purpose. Each individual has a specific priority date which was issued to them when their Labor application was submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL). Only when the applicant’s priority date becomes current will the USCIS begin to process the applicant’s I-485 paperwork and thereafter may issue the Green Card. However, your attorney may contact the USCIS via email on your behalf if your I-485 application was filed through the Texas Service Center (TSC). The attorney may send an email to a specific email address to inform the Service Center that their client’s priority date is current. The “streamline” process was created to provide a mechanism for American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA) members to facilitate TSC processes relating to the identification of EB I-485 applications.

MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, September 2nd, 2011!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 22nd, 2011

July 18, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 22nd, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (June 2011)

July 11, 2011

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in June 2011 and summarized below by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association):

Senate Bills

Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act (S. 1195)
Introduced by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) on 6/14/11
Summary: Amends the INA to exclude from the definition of "immigrant" under such Act a nonimmigrant alien who files a petition for status if the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that the alien: (1) has suffered abuse or harm as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity; (2) has suffered substantial abuse or harm related to specified labor or employment violations related to a workplace claim (workplace violation); (3) is a victim of specified criminal activity and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (4) has suffered a workplace violation and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (5) has been helpful to a local judge, DHS, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor, or the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or to other authorities investigating, prosecuting, or seeking civil remedies for workplace violation; or (6) has filed, is a material witness in, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation of, a bona fide workplace claim and reasonably fears, has been threatened with, or has been the victim of, an action involving force, physical restraint, retaliation, or abuse of the immigration or other legal process by the employer in relation to acts underlying or related to the filing of the claim.
Authorizes the Secretary of DHS to permit certain aliens to remain temporarily in the United States. Sets forth protections in an enforcement action leading to a removal proceeding taken against certain aliens.

Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act (S. 1196)
Introduced by Sen. Grassley (R-IA) on 6/14/11
Summary: Expands the use of E-Verify.

Refugee Protection Act of 2011 (S. 1202)
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 6/15/11
Summary: Amends the INA to reaffirm the United States' historic commitment to protecting refugees who are fleeing persecution or torture.

Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2011 (S. 1236)
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 6/20/11
Summary: Deters the construction and use of border tunnels to reduce the trafficking of drugs and to prevent human smuggling across the Southwest Border.

S. 1258
Introduced by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) on 6/22/11
Summary: Provides for comprehensive immigration reform.

Trafficking Victims Enhanced Protection Act of 2011 (S. 1259)
Introduced by Sen. Durbin (D-IL) on 6/22/11
Summary: Amends the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to prohibit the provision of peacekeeping operations assistance to governments of countries that recruit and use child soldiers.

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1301)
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 6/29/11
Summary: Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2012 to 2015 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, to enhance measures to combat trafficking in person

House Bills

IDEA Act of 2011 (H.R. 2161)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 6/14/11
Summary: Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America Act of 2011. Amends the INA to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States.

Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 6/14/11
Summary: Amends the INA to make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to the use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system.

Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act (H.R. 2169)
Introduced by Rep. Chu (D-CA) on 6/14/11
Summary: Amends the INA to exclude from the definition of "immigrant" under such Act a nonimmigrant alien who files a petition for status if the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that the alien: (1) has suffered abuse or harm as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity; (2) has suffered substantial abuse or harm related to specified labor or employment violations related to a workplace claim (workplace violation); (3) is a victim of specified criminal activity and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (4) has suffered a workplace violation and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (5) has been helpful to a local judge, DHS, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor, or the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or to other authorities investigating, prosecuting, or seeking civil remedies for workplace violation; or (6) has filed, is a material witness in, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation of, a bona fide workplace claim and reasonably fears, has been threatened with, or has been the victim of, an action involving force, physical restraint, retaliation, or abuse of the immigration or other legal process by the employer in relation to acts underlying or related to the filing of the claim. Authorizes the Secretary of DHS to permit certain aliens to remain temporarily in the United States. Sets forth protections in an enforcement action leading to a removal proceeding taken against certain aliens.

Refugee Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 2185)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 6/15/11
Summary: Amends the INA to reaffirm the United States' historic commitment to protecting refugees who are fleeing persecution or torture.

Deport Convicted Foreign Criminals Act (H.R. 2199)
Introduced by Rep. Poe (R-TX) on 6/15/11
Summary: Prohibits the issuance of certain visas to nationals of a country that denies or unreasonably delays the repatriation of a national ordered removed from the United States to such country.

Child Trafficking Victims Protection Act (H.R. 2235)
Introduced by Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) on 6/16/11
Summary: Provides enhanced protections for vulnerable unaccompanied alien children and female detainees.

Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 2264)
Introduced by Rep. Reyes (D-TX) on 6/21/11
Summary: Deters the construction and use of border tunnels to reduce the trafficking of drugs and to prevent human smuggling across the Southwest Border.

Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2404)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-NJ) on 6/28/11
Summary: Amends the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998 to authorize appropriations to provide assistance for domestic and foreign programs and centers for the treatment of victims of torture.

Source:"AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11070672 (posted Jul. 6, 2011)"

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 8th, 2011

July 5, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 8th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 24th, 2011

June 20, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 24th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 10th, 2011

June 6, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 10th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 27th, 2011

May 23, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 27th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 13th, 2011

May 9, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 13th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 29th, 2011

April 25, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, April 29th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

LATEST UPDATE: H-1B FY2012 CAP COUNTS

April 18, 2011

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of April 15th, 2011, 7,100 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of April15th, 2011, 5,100 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

*USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay tuned to MVP Law Group for FY 2012 H-1B CAP updates!

Immigration in 2011 - Part 7 of 10, Attacks on the 14th Amendment

April 13, 2011

Seventh part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #7: Attacks on the 14th Amendment

The proposal by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to revoke portions of the14th amendment which gave automatic citizenship to children born on U.S. soil sparked controversy back in July 2010. Since Senator Graham’s proposal many other senators have continued to debate and propose new legislation over the issue of birthright citizenship. Although many senators are pushing to pass laws that would prohibit children born in the U.S. from being granted U.S. citizenship, AILA believes this type of legislation would do little to fix our broken immigration system. Additionally, passing the law would only increase the number of individuals in the U.S. who are residing here illegally.

28 different bills have been proposed by Republican senators since 1995 to prohibit citizenship rights under the 14th amendment. AILA believes restricting the civil rights guaranteed under the 14th amendment would “offend the country’s most sacred values” and put into place discrimination that the country was founded on to fix. Passing the law and actually repealing the citizenship clause would mark the first time in history that the Constitution was amended to restrict civil rights and liberties. Eliminating the basis of citizenship based on place of birth would create problems for the general American public as well because they would no longer be able to provide their birth certificate as proof of citizenship.

Revoking portions of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution will not fix our broken system; it will only create more problems and increase the amount of undocumented individuals in the U.S. If you have any ideas on how best to fix our broken immigration system, we welcome your comments and suggestions…

UPDATE: What Happens If The Government Shuts Down?

April 8, 2011

As Congress continues its budgetary deadlock, the possibility of a government shutdown looms larger by the minute. If Congress is unable to reach accord on Friday, the government will close at midnight, Saturday April 9.

In general, if the government shuts down for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" government are furloughed and not allowed to work. So what does this mean for immigration agencies?

USCIS Update: USCIS has confirmed to AILA Liaison that it will be operating, except for E-Verify, if the government does shut down.

DOS Update: DOS confirmed to AILA Liaison that if there is a shutdown, the only visa processing will be for "life or death" emergencies. In prior budget-related shutdowns, DOS has continued to provide diplomatic visas and has been wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP: Inspection and law enforcement are considered "essential personnel," though staffing may be more limited than usual. The borders will be open, and CBP is unsure of how the shutdown will affect the processing of applications filed at the border.

EOIR: EOIR has been advised to "put its shutdown plans in place." As with other agencies, personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed. EOIR has indicated that the detained docket would likely be considered an essential function and would therefore be able to continue in operation.

DOL Update: OFLC confirmed that it would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown. DOL is making plans for a possible shutdown. If there is a shutdown, DOL personnel will not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries.

Other agencies will be added, and the above updated, as AILA obtains more information.

Information Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted Apr. 8, 2011)"

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

March 28, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 1st, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, April 1st, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!


THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Immigration in 2011 - Part 4 of 10, State and Local Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

March 23, 2011

Fourth part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #4: State and Local Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

The role state and local officials should play when enforcing immigration laws has been a heavily debated issue especially since the passing of Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

Allowing each state to determine its own border and immigration laws would create chaos and conflict among bordering states with differing opinions and it would make the laws very hard to enforce. This is why AILA believes immigration law should remain a federal issue, however countless laws are passed each year by states on immigration and border control which affect housing, public benefits, employment, education and even public health.

Many of the laws states have tried to pass related to immigration policy have been repealed by the federal government such as parts of Arizona’s SB 1070. Because of the insistence by many states to pass their own immigration laws, lawmakers have pushed to pass legislation that would make it clear who has authority on immigration matters. One such piece of legislation is the CLEAR Act, which if passed would allow state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws.

Opponents of the CLEAR Act fear that if local agencies begin enforcing immigration matters, those in immigrant communities will be less likely to talk to authorities, report crimes and be willing to cooperate with the police. It will additionally lead to an increased fear of deportation. State and local police officials also oppose laws like the CLEAR Act as well because it would prohibit them from protecting the public if they had to become “deportation agents.” State and local officials currently don’t have the knowledge or resources to enforce the immigration laws and asking them to do so would create an overwhelming amount of pressure and responsibility. Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program and the 287(g) program are federal programs already in place that rely on local law enforcement to arrest and provide information about potential illegal immigrants. Although many are concerned that these programs diminish trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement, AILA believes it’s likely we will see a push to expand and create new programs in 2011.

If you would like to express your views on this issue, please complete the contact us form. We want to hear what YOU think, how YOU feel about this issue!

Immigration in 2011 - Part 3 of 10, Restrictions on State Identification Cards (REAL ID)

March 16, 2011

Third part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for on Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #3: Restrictions on State Identification Cards (REAL ID)

The REAL ID Act was brought up after national security concerns grew in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The act scrutinized state driver licenses as well as identification cards, creating a federal standard for driver licenses issued.

Rising conflict over the enactment of the REAL ID Act is likely to continue to grow during the 112th Congress. Originally, the act was supposed to go in effect in 2008 but due to obstacles it has been postponed to May 10, 2011. If this act were passed, individuals who could not provide sufficient basic documentation proving their legal status would not be issued a driver’s license. Many criticize the idea of creating a new driver’s license system, pointing out that with the new system states will begin obtaining, storing and sharing more personal information about each applicant. The influx of sensitive information poses the increased possibility for identity theft and fraud. Restrictions on driver’s licenses from the large population of undocumented workers also creates fear of being reported and pushes the illegal immigrants to be less cooperative with law enforcement.

Senators Akaka (D-HI) and Voinovich (R-OH) proposed an alternative to the REAL ID Act back in 2009, called the Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act (PASS ID Act). A key difference between the REAL ID Act and the PASS ID Act is that states are prohibited from accessing other states transportation databases under the PASS ID Act. This change addressed some of the security concerns critics had of the REAL ID Act. However, PASS ID is not a perfect piece of legislation and is considered stricter in the fact that it requires work authorization in order for individuals applying for asylum and temporary protected status (TPS) to receive a license. Additionally, under the PASS ID Act licenses could be denied without review to any population of people by the DHS Secretary which is a significant cause for concern.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

March 14, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 18th, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 18th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Immigration in 2011 - Part 2 of 10, Mandatory Employment Verification

March 9, 2011

Second part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for on Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #2: Mandatory Employment Verification

E-Verify (Electronic Employment Verification System) a system widely used by employers to check the authenticity and legality of employees to work in the United States will likely become a mandatory requirement for all employers.

Though the E-Verify system has been effective at cutting down the number of illegal employees in the workplace, AILA believes there are still problems with privacy, civil liberties, as well as budgetary and technological concerns that need to be worked out. AILA further concludes that the majority of E-Verify legislation proposed does not address these concerns and that mandatory usage of the system could be potentially harmful. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), approximately 1.2 million authorized workers could be displaced if E-Verify were made a requirement because the database has high percentages of incorrect and outdated information.

AILA also argues that many employers misuse the program by pre-screening potential employees and by failing to inform employees of their rights under the program. Other errors of the program led to 22% of restricted work assignments, 16% were delayed job training and 2% received reduced wages. At a time when our economy is already hurting, AILA maintains that making E-Verify mandatory without fixing the flaws would only make the situation worse.

Until the flaws in the system are fixed, we at MVP Law Group agree that E-Verify should not become a mandatory requirement for all employers.

Improved E-Verify Program? Customer Satisfaction Survey Says YES

February 25, 2011

A recent survey along with a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) affirm the E-Verify system is a key tool in ensuring a legal workforce in the U.S. The report by the GAO also revealed improvements in the system such as establishing better safeguards for personal information and reducing the mismatch rates.

E-Verify also received 82 out of 100 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index scale for a customer survey that evaluated key aspects of the program. Customer Support was one area that respondents overwhelming approved of, with a score of 89 which was based on the many improvements made by the Obama administration. The survey additionally revealed that users were likely to recommend the program to other employers, were secure in the program’s precision, and were likely to continue with the program. Although the E-Verify program under the Obama administration is showing continued success, the passage of comprehensive immigration legislation is crucial to fix the current immigration system.

Over 243, 000 employers are currently using the E-Verify program and approximately 1,000 new employers enroll every week. For more information about the E-Verify program visit www.uscis.gov/everify.

MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

AILA Profile: Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA)

January 24, 2011

With the commencement of the 112th Congress on January 5, 2011, Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) was appointed to lead the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

Rep. Gallegly is best know for his restrictive immigration policies and push in creating the E-Verify program. He believes the solution to illegal immigration is straightforward: enforce current laws, eliminate incentives for individuals to illegally immigrate, and take away benefits we provide that make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the US. Since becoming a representative, Gallegly has chaired the Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform which provided the fundamentals for IIRIRA in 1996 and he supported an amendment to IIRIRA that would have prohibited illegal immigrants from attending public school. Additionally, in 2006 he was named by Human Events Magazine as of the Top Ten Illegal Immigration Hawks in Congress and inducted in the US Border Control Hall of Fame.

Already since the start of the 112th Congress, Gallegly has proposed legislation to require the creation of electronic Social Security cards as well as an employment eligibility database. It’s likely we could see legislation from him being proposed on topics such as ending birthright citizenship, requiring the use of E-Verify, making English the official US language, and requiring proof of citizenship to receive benefits in the near future.

Alien Illegally Re-entered U.S.- Sentenced to 54 Months in Federal Prison

January 20, 2011

Following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Florida Highway Patrol and the Social Security Administration, Ronald Smith was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison on January 5, 2011.

Smith, a citizen of Jamaica had been deported from the U.S. in 2003 after being found guilty of several crimes including intent to distribute cocaine and illegal possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. After being deported, the investigation revealed Smith returned to the U.S. illegally and fraudulently used a U.S. citizen’s identity to obtain a driver’s license, job and health care. Smith was convicted of impersonating a U.S. citizen, falsely representing a social security number, aggravated identity theft, and illegal re-entry after deportation. After he serves his 54 month sentence in federal prison, Smith will be removed from the United States.

E-VERIFY Connection

January 12, 2011

On December 21, 2010 the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released its first ever E-Verify news publication called “E-Verify Connection.”

Highlighted in the newsletter was the new photo matching capability to help confirm the authenticity of documents, the new E-Verify seals and the invalid status of birth certificates of US citizens born in Puerto Rico issued prior to July 1, 2010. In addition, on the E-Verify website individuals can now download E-Verify guidance manuals, see a timeline of the program’s milestones and review its statistical reports for Fiscal Year 2009. Additionally, free webinars are offered on the website both for existing members and interested individuals looking for more information.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

Missouri Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Harboring Illegal Aliens

December 31, 2010

Hua Huang, manager of China Buffet/Mongolian Grill in Missouri plead guilty to harboring, transporting, and hiring illegal aliens in addition to conspiracy to commit visa fraud on December 10.

It was discovered during the investigation that between January 2009 and August 2010, Huang regularly employed illegal workers from Mexico and China. During that time Huang obtained fake identification for the illegal workers and tried to arrange marriages for them in order to secure visas. Huang’s sentencing is set for March 2011.

El Paso Businesses Become IMAGE Members

December 30, 2010

On December 10, two local El Paso businesses signed up to become IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers) partners. The IMAGE program was started in 2006 by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to minimize the number of unauthorized workers being hired, reduce fraud, and create a more secure workplace. To qualify as an IMAGE partner, a business must first meet certain criteria such as: assessing their hiring practices to uncover weaknesses that could potentially be exploited, enrolling in employment eligibility verification programs, training employees on how to use the new IMAGE screening tools and practices, as well as undergoing a Form I-9 audit by ICE.

After being audited last year, Tony Marquez of Jobe Materials, LP became an advocate for the IMAGE program and says, “I feel that by being audited by ICE, and having my employees trained through the E-Verify online system to determine the authenticity of new employee documentation, I will be a more vigilant employer and a guardian of immigration laws.” For more information or to learn how to become an IMAGE partner, visit http://www.ice.gov/image/.

Corpus Christi Business Becomes IMAGE Member

December 29, 2010

A Corpus Christi business became a member of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers’ (IMAGE) program on December 10.

The IMAGE program was launched in 2006 and actively pursues partnering with businesses in hopes of minimizing the number of unauthorized workers being hired and reducing fraud. Undocumented workers that are hired create vulnerabilities in the system because they provide falsified documents and identities to gain benefits.

In order for a business to qualify as an IMAGE partner they must first meet a few requirements such as: assessing their hiring practices to uncover weaknesses that could potentially be exploited, enrolling in employment eligibility verification programs, training employees on how to use the new IMAGE screening tools and practices, as well as undergoing a Form I-9 audit by ICE. Previously this year, 6 businesses in the Houston area signed up to become IMAGE partners. Once becoming an IMAGE partner, ICE provides free training to all employers on Form I-9 and how to detect fraudulent documents. Companies interested in the IMAGE program or those who would like more information visit http://www.ice.gov/image/.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

December 13, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 17th, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, December 17th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination Allegations with Hoover Inc.

December 8, 2010

The Justice Department settled with Hoover Inc. on November 10, after allegations that the company had been implementing discriminatory employment practices such as imposing excessive procedures for permanent residents going through the I-9 process.

The investigation into Hoover Inc. revealed that the company was requiring all legal permanent residents to reproduce new green cards after theirs had expired while US citizen employees were not required to submit any documentation. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employees are prohibited from treating a permanent resident employee any differently than any US citizen.

The terms of the settlement between the Justice Department and Hoover Inc. included Hoover Inc. paying $10,200 in civil liberties as well as requiring the company to begin training its human resource personnel about nondiscriminatory practices. Follow up reports are required to be sent the Department of Justice for one year.

First Alabama Company to Become IMAGE Partner with ICE

December 6, 2010

Long’s Human Resource Service signed an agreement on November 10, becoming the first Alabama business to be an IMAGE partner with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The IMAGE program, also known as the ICE Mutual agreement between Government and Employers, was launched in 2007 to helps employer’s better follow the language and regulations of the law by providing them with the necessary information and tools.

To become an IMAGE partner, a company must undergo a rigorous process that includes in-depth training and investigation into its hiring practices. Employers are provided with the screening tools necessary to prevent illegal workers from being hired. The IMAGE program works to combat that weakness that illegal workers create both within the company and the government by using fraudulent documents to gain employment and commit identity theft against US workers. Companies who sign the IMAGE partnership are agreeing to use the best hiring methods, train and hold their staff to the highest standards, and use the screening tools for all employee applicants offered by the federal government. IMAGE partner companies also process I-9 forms, use the E-Verify system, maintain employee records and comply with all employment laws in order to improve their business as well as meet the standards of the program.

USCIS Announces New Anti-Fraud Enhancements to E-Verify

November 26, 2010

The announcement on November 10 of E-Verify’s systems expansion was made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

New capabilities of the system include US passport photo matching as well as automatic checks of US passports for authenticity when presented for employment verification checks to help increase the reliability of the program. Napolitano is confident that the improved E-Verify system will, “enhance our ability to detect counterfeit documents and combat fraud.” The E-Verify system now allows employers to verify the identity of any new employee by comparing their passport or passport card to the State Department records on file.

The E-Verify system is run by DHS in connection with the Social Security Administration and is free to use for all participating employers. Currently, the system is being used by more than 230,000 employers.

Restaurant Owner Found Guilty of Harboring Illegal Aliens

November 23, 2010

After an investigation lead by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), George Anagnostou of Maryland, was sentenced on October 28 to four months in prison and another four months on house arrest with electronic monitoring. Anagnostou also faces two years of supervised release after serving his sentence. His charges consisted of harboring at least 24 illegal workers of the Timbuktu and By the Docks restaurants. As a part of his sentencing, Anagnostou was forced to give up his motorcycle, pay a sum of $378,386.21 from five different bank accounts, give up $99,890 from the restaurant and his house, as well as an additional pay $256,696.67 at his court hearing.

From 2000 to 2005, Anagnostou was in charge of hiring employees for both Timbuktu and By the Docks restaurants. Other than collecting two documents, Anagnostou never made any other efforts to verify the authority of an individual to work in the United States, like using the required Employment Eligibility Verification forms (I-9s). Even when informed that many of his applicants had presented him with falsified forms, he insisted that his employees stop asking questions and accept the documents. In addition, the Social Security Administration began notifying Anagnostou that the Social Security numbers he was supplying for his employees did not match up in the database but he still did nothing to validate the legitimacy of his workers.

Anagnostou benefited financially from the illegal workers employment at the restaurants because he deducted their rental payments from their overtime wages due, paid them in cash preventing him from being subject to tax liability and he didn’t claim the rental property on his income taxes.

Arkansas Employer Guilty of Harboring Illegal Aliens

November 23, 2010

After pleading guilty to harboring and concealing illegal aliens on November 11, Arkansas resident Sen Chen was sentenced to five years probation, six months house arrest, a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. As a part of his sentencing, Chen also forfeited his restaurant, house, and car. The investigation of Chen led by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents discovered he was providing illegal immigrants with transportation, food, housing and money in exchange for working at his restaurant.

According to ICE HSI special agent Raymond Parmer this case, “serves as a stern reminder about the consequences facing employers who exploit illegal alien labor.”

DOJ Reaches Settlement Agreement with Catholic Healthcare West

November 18, 2010

After alleged immigration related employment discrimination charges were investigated by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) against Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), a voluntary settlement was reached between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and CHW.

During the investigation , the OSC determined that there was “reasonable cause” to suggest that CHW required immigrant workers to provide additional documentation than required by law while they let U.S. citizens choose which documents they wanted to submit. Some of the agreements made under the settlement included CHW paying OSC $1,000, a civil penalty of $257,000 from CHW to the US Treasury, a required I-9 review of all CHW’s both naturalized and immigrant employees by August 1, CHW establishing review teams, and CHW being required to provide OSC with reports tracking the progress and status of its reviews. In addition to the requirements, CHW created specific timelines and instructions on how to carry out each agreement of the settlement. The settlement also required CHW to treat all of its employees fairly and to use non-discriminating hiring practices. The training practices of CHW were updated and revised under the settlement; the employment eligibility verification process and discrimination were especially emphasized.

ICE HSI Investigation of Two California Businesses - Allegations of Hiring Illegal Workers

November 2, 2010

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested the owner and top executive of Masters in Metal, Inc based in California for illegally hiring undocumented aliens. The investigation into the company’s hiring practices began in 2007 when Masters in Metal’s audit revealed 16 employees had used counterfeit green cards to acquire their jobs. Investigation also uncovered illegal workers who remained on the company’s payroll even after they had been told to go get authentic Social Security numbers. The charges carry up to six months in prison for the defendants. A similar situation to the one at Masters in Metal, Inc was investigated less than two week ago at Park Personnel, Inc in Bell, California. An employee was arrested by ICE and HSI agents from Park Personnel for allegedly hiring illegal workers and providing them with forged documents to make their employment seem legal.

By prosecuting those who knowingly hire illegal workers and falsify documents, ICE and HSI are “trying to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect the job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.” Enforcement is also being implemented through the use of auditing, debarment, and final fine notices.

1st Mississippi business becomes IMAGE Partner with ICE

November 1, 2010

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed an agreement with its first Mississippi Business partner in the IMAGE program, Roy Anderson Corporation , on October 20. The IMAGE program, also known as the ICE Mutual agreement between Government and Employers, helps employer’s better follow the language and regulations of the law by providing them with the necessary information and tools.

In order to qualify for the IMAGE program, an employer is required to conduct an investigation of its hiring practices to discover potential vulnerabilities that could be utilized to commit fraud, complete eligibility verification programs, train its staff on how to use the new tools, and be audited by ICE. One of the main reasons ICE created the IMAGE program was to combat the hiring of illegal and undocumented workers. Undocumented workers create weakness in both the company and government by using fraudulent documents to gain employment and commit identity theft against US workers. Through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program, which is a component of the IMAGE program, employers can pre-screen potential employees before they hire them. For more information on the IMAGE program click here.

Clothing Retailer - Form I-9 Investigation

October 29, 2010

A $1,047,110 settlement fine was charged to clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) because of the employer’s failure to verify the employment eligibility of their workers.

After a Form I-9 investigation in November 2008, investigators uncovered “technology-related deficiencies” in their electronic verification system. Abercrombie & Fitch cooperated fully with ICE HSI and has since put into practice new measures to further prevent any violations. In addition, the audit did not reveal the company had knowingly hired any illegal workers. ICE HSI says this settlement serves a warning to others companies who may not be fully complying with employee verification procedures.

I-9 Forms must be completed by an employer for every individual employed to determine identity, eligibility, and evidence the documents are legitimately related to the individual. Under their new strategy implemented in 2009, ICE has been trying to reduce the demand for illegal workers by auditing and investigating suspicious companies.

MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

October 11, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 15th, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 15th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

September 13, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 17, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 17, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 31, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 3, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 3, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 16, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 20, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 20, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 2, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 6, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 6, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

July 19, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 23, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 23, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

July 6, 2010

MVP Law Group's first "Question & Answer" Forum was launched on Friday, June 25, 2010. Please click here to review the questions received and answers provided.

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 9, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group launches "Q & A Forum"

June 21, 2010

MVP Law Group is excited to announce the launch of our “Q & A Forum.”

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our first “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 25, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

E-Verify Redesign Coming in June

June 9, 2010

Big changes are coming to E-Verify in June that will enhance its usability, security, accuracy and efficiency. The newly redesigned E-Verify features a clean and modern design, easy and intuitive navigation, and clear and simple language. A new home page, a reimagined case alerts feature, improved case management and a streamlined tutorial are among the dozens of improvements coming to E-Verify.

Check out the new E-Verify Redesign section of the E-Verify website to learn more about what’s coming and how to prepare. The new section highlights several of the exciting new features and offers information on how to get a sneak preview in June before the site launches.

Want to know more about the redesigned E-Verify? USCIS is offering a sneak preview Webinar the week before the new site is launched. The 90-minute Webinar will be conducted by a member of the redesign team and will feature a presentation of the changes as well as a question and answer session.

E-Verify Redesign Sneak Preview

Wednesday, June 16, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. EDT and 3:30pm EDT. Space is limited, click here to register for the E-Verify Webinar.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for EMPLOYERS ALREADY ENROLLED IN E-VERIFY:
In conjunction with the redesign of the E-Verify web interface, employers will be required to complete the new on-line tutorial before being able to E-Verify new workers.

ICE Investigation results in Managers of 2 temporary staffing companies charged with hiring undocumented workers

May 7, 2010

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago, the president and office manager of two Bensenville, Illinois, temporary staffing companies were charged with unlawfully hiring dozens of illegal aliens to form their labor pool. Each was charged with one count of unlawfully hiring illegal aliens between October 2006 and October 2007. The charges also seek forfeiture of $488,095, which was seized from various bank accounts as well as the Bensenville office. Additionally, the defendants allegedly paid their workers’ wages in cash and failed to deduct payroll taxes or other withholdings. According to the allegations, they repeatedly withdrew funds in the amount of $9,800 from bank accounts to pay their employee’s wages in cash, believing that withdrawing amounts less than $10,000 would avoid triggering the banks’ currency transaction reporting requirements. If convicted, unlawfully hiring illegal aliens carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago provided, “Employers in all industries and locations must comply with the nation’s immigration laws if we are to have an effective immigration enforcement strategy in this county.”

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

ICE Investigation results in San Diego-area bakery, its owner and manager, indicted on federal charges for hiring illegal aliens

May 4, 2010

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a San Diego-area French bakery, along with its owner and a manager, were charged in a 16 count indictment. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to engage in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employee unauthorized workers, a misdemeanor, in addition to 14 felony counts, including making false statements and shielding undocumented alien employees from detection. If convicted, the owner and manager of the bakery face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of proceeds gained from the corporation’s unlawful activities.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego provided, “this indictment shows ICE’s commitment to holding businesses accountable when they repeatedly ignore immigration laws as it relates to their workforce. The goal of our enforcement is two-fold, first to reduce the demand for illegal employment and, second, to protect job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.” In FY 2009, ICE worksite investigations resulted in a total of 410 criminal arrests, including 114 management personnel.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

UPDATED INFORMATION - E-Verify & Federal Contractors

April 26, 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has released FAQs regarding Federal Contractors and the E-Verify program. The FAQs address what the E-Verify program is, how it works, and the reason why Federal Contractors must enroll in the program.

Beginning September 8, 2009, all Federal Contractors and Subcontractors who enter into contracts on and after September 8, 2009 must be enrolled in the online E-Verify work authorization program.

The E-Verify program is a free optional web based employment verification program that verify's employee's employment eligibility by submitting key information from Form I-9 into the online database.

The purpose of the program is to deter unauthorized individuals from attempting to work, while at the same time helping employers to avoid contributing to an unauthorized workforce.

Companies who are awarded a contract on and after September 8, 2009 will have 30 days from the contract award date to enroll in the E-Verify program.

ICE Serves Form I-9 Audit Notices to 180 Businesses in 5 States

March 8, 2010

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold new audit initiative in 2009 to combat the problem of hiring of an illegal workforce.

On March 2, 2010, 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee were served with Notice of Inspections (NOIs) indicating that ICE would inspect their hiring records (Form I-9) to determine whether they are in accordance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.

Audits involve a comprehensive review of Form I-9s. Form I-9 must be completed and retained for each new hire. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”), all employers must verify that every person that is hired is either: a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a foreign national with authorization to work in the U.S. Within three business days of beginning the job, a new employee must furnish identity and employment eligibility documents (i.e., passport, permanent resident card, employment authorization card, driver’s license, birth certificate, military id, etc). It is the responsibility of the employer to examine the documents to determine whether they are genuine and relate to the specific employee. Once the I-9 form is completed, they are to be kept in office for the longer of three years after employment begins or one year after employment is terminated. Most importantly, if an employee has temporary employment authorization, a re-verification of employment eligibility must be conducted prior to expiration of the employment authorization.

DHS/ICE officers conduct an estimated 60,000 I-9 audits a year on employers around the country and have issued fines in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, each mistake on an I-9 Form counts as a separate violation. All employers are further subject to civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ aliens who are not authorized to work in the U.S.

In the News Release announcing the issuance of the NOIs, Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans stated that “ICE is committed to establishing a meaningful I-9 inspection program to promote compliance with the law. This effort is a first step in ICE’s long-term strategy to address and deter illegal employment.”

Accurate completion of I-9 forms is a good faith defense to a charge of hiring unauthorized workers. Therefore, the best way for an employer to avoid IRCA problems is to establish a meaningful I-9 audit system.

If you are interested in conducting an internal I-9 Audit to ensure your company’s compliance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations, contact our office today.

ICE Selects 1,000 Employers for Form I-9 Audits

November 20, 2009

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold new audit initiative this year to combat the problem of hiring of an illegal workforce.

On July 1, 2009, 654 businesses nationwide were served with Notice of Inspections (NOIs) indicating that ICE would inspect their hiring records (Form I-9) to determine whether they were in accordance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations. The businesses presented with the NOIs to Audit Form I-9 were selected as a result of leads and other information obtained through other investigative measures. This was the first step for ICE in its nationwide plan to promote compliance with the employment eligibility laws through an effective I-9 Audit system.

Audits involve a comprehensive review of Form I-9s. Form I-9 must be completed and retained for each new hire. The form requires the employer to review several personal identification documents of the new hire (i.e., passport, permanent resident card, employment authorization card, driver’s license, birth certificate, military id, etc) and to determine the genuineness of the documents.

The statistics resulting from the 654 businesses audited by ICE are provided below:
• ICE agents reviewed more than 85,000 Form I-9s and identified more than 14,000 suspect documents—approximately 16 percent of the total number reviewed
• To date, 61 NIFs have been issued, resulting in $2,310,255 in fines. In addition, 267 cases are currently being considered for Notices of Intent to Fine (NIFs).
• ICE closed 326 cases after businesses were found to be in compliance with employment laws or after businesses were served with a Warning Notice in expectation of future compliance.

Furthermore, on November 19, 2009, ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton announced the issuance of NOIs to 1,000 employers across the country associated with critical infrastructure.

In the News Release announcing the issuance of the NOIs, Assistant ICE Secretary Morton stated that “ICE is focused on finding and penalizing employers who believe they can unfairly get ahead by cultivating illegal workplaces.” ICE Audits are one of the most important administrative tools in building criminal cases and bringing employers into compliance with the law.

If you are interested in conducting an internal I-9 Audit to ensure your company’s compliance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations, contact our office today.

ICE Investigation results in fine of $450,000 for hiring illegal aliens

September 18, 2009

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a Missouri poultry processing plant paid $450,000 in fines as part of a settlement agreement for hiring illegal aliens.

As a result of the 2007 poultry plant investigation, ICE administratively arrested 136 illegal alien workers from Mexico and Guatemala within the plant in Cassville, MO. Two of the company's hiring personnel were convicted of harboring illegal aliens and inducing them to remain in the U.S.

An additional provision of the settlement agreement provides that the company has to establish a compliance program to ensure that its employment procedures are in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Additionally, the company has to train its human resource managers and employees on how to avoid hiring an illegal workforce.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. The funds received as a result of these types of investigations are used to promote future law enforcement programs and activities with the purpose of deterring employers from employing an illegal workforce.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

Expiration Date for Form I-9 will remain valid until 8/31/2012

September 10, 2009

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that the 8/7/2009 revision of Form I-9, which is currently located on the USCIS website will remain valid until 8/31/2012.

U.S. employers should no longer be using outdated versions of Form I-9. However, the Service has indicated that employers may use versions 8/7/2009 or 2/2/2009 of Form I-9 until 8/31/2012. The revision date is located in the bottom right hand corner of the form.

The updated Form I-9 is available in English and Spanish via the USCIS website. Instructions for completing Form I-9 have also been made available by the USCIS. Additionally, the USCIS has provided a 1-800 number that employers may use to order updated Form I-9 if they do not have online access.

If you need assistance in completing Form I-9, or are interested in conducting an in-house Form I-9 Audit, please contact our office for assistance.

Federal Contractors & Subcontractors MUST use E-Verify beginning TODAY!

September 8, 2009

Beginning September 8, 2009, all Federal Contractors and Subcontractors who enter into contracts on and after September 8, 2009 must be enrolled in the online E-Verify work authorization program.

The E-Verify program is a free optional web based employment verification program that verify's employee's employment eligibility by submitting key information from Form I-9 into the online database.

The purpose of the program is to deter unauthorized individuals from attempting to work, while at the same time helping employers to avoid contributing to an unauthorized workforce.

Companies who are awarded a contract on and after September 8, 2009 will have 30 days from the contract award date to enroll in the E-Verify program.

E-Verify Employer DO’S and DON’TS

July 22, 2009

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has recently comprised a list of various DO’S and DON’TS for Employers when utilizing the E-Verify program.

DO…use E-Verify on all NEW employees, after they have completed Form I-9
DO…post required notices of the Employer’s participation in E-Verify
DO…secure the privacy of Employee’s personal information
DON’T…use the E-Verify program to verify CURRENT employees
DON’T…use the E-Verify program based upon SUSPICION
DON’T…terminate or take adverse action against an employee contesting a tentative nonconfirmation

For the complete list of the DO’S and DON’TS associated with the E-VERIFY program, please click here!

Form I-9 Remains Valid beyond 6/30/09 expiration date

July 8, 2009

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that the 2/2/09 revision of Form I-9, which is currently located on the USCIS website will remain valid until futher notice. The version of the form currently on the website was set to expire on June 30, 2009.

If you have any questions regarding Form I-9 and your business, please contact our office.

Form I-9, ICE Audit Initiative

July 3, 2009

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold new audit initiative on July 1, 2009 to combat the problem of hiring of an illegal workforce.

On July 1, 652 businesses nationwide were served with Audit Notifications indicating that ICE would be inspecting their hiring records (Form I-9) to determine whether they are in accordance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.

The businesses presented with the Notice of Intent to Audit Form I-9 were selected as a result of leads and other information obtained through other investigative measures.

This is the first step for ICE in its nationwide plan to promote compliance with the employment eligibility laws through an effective I-9 Audit system.


*Form I-9 must be completed for each new hire. The form requires the employer to review several personal identification documents of the new hire (i.e., passport, permanent resident card, employment authorization card, driver’s license, birth certificate, military id, etc) and to determine the genuineness of the documents.

If you are interested in conducting an I-9 Audit to ensure your company’s compliance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations, feel free to contact our office.

REMINDER to all U.S. Employers – Use Updated Form I-9

April 17, 2009

As of April 3, 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicated that U.S. employers should no longer be using outdated versions of Form I-9. The updated Form I-9 has been available in English and Spanish via the USCIS website since it was revised in February.

Instructions for completing Form I-9 have also been made available by the USCIS. Additionally, the USCIS has provided a 1-800 number that employers may use to order updated Form I-9 if they do not have online access.

If you need assistance in completing Form I-9, or are interested in conducting an in-house Form I-9 Audit, please contact our office for assistance.

Illinois Act deemed invalid by U.S. District Court

April 1, 2009

E-Verify is a federal program in which employers may voluntarily sign up electronically to be able to identify the employment eligibility of new hires against federal databases in a matter of minutes. How it works: An employer requests that a new hire complete Form I-9, and with the information provided on the form, and the documentation needed to prove eligibility, the employer manually enters the information into the E-Verify database. Two things may occur once this takes place: (1) the employer receives confirmation that the new hire is authorized to work in the United States; or (2) a tentative non-confirmation (TNC) is issued, indicating that the federal program cannot identify that the new hire is authorized to work in the United States. If a TNC is issued, the employer must provide the applicant with information and guidance on how to resolve the issue, and a secondary verification process must occur within ten days before a final determination is made on the applicant’s employment eligibility.

The State of Illinois created legislation in regards to the passage of the Employment Eligibility Verification Program, otherwise known as “E-Verify.” In summary, the Illinois Act provides that employers are prohibited from enrolling in any Employment Eligibility Verification System, including the Basic Pilot program, until the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases are able to make a determination on 99% of the tentative nonconfirmation notices issued to employes within three days, unless otherwise required by federal law.

At issue is whether the Illinois Act is invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the United States.

State laws are invalid under the Supremacy Clause if the state law “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.” Congress put the federal program in place as a means to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. The federal statute states that any employer may participate. The problem lies with the fact that Illinois has enacted legislation to prohibit employers from utilizing the program. As such, the District Court provided that the Illinois Act frustrates Congress’ purpose by prohibiting Illinois employers from participating in the Federal program unless the Federal program meets Illinois’ standards for accuracy and speed. Illinois cannot dictate to Congress the standards that federal programs must meet. This clearly frustrates the Congressional purpose of making the Federal program available to all employers. Accordingly, the Illinois Act is invalid under the Supremacy Clause, and the State of Illinois is permanently enjoined from enforcing the invalid act.

USCIS released UPDATED Form I-9 EMPLOYER HANDBOOK

March 25, 2009

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently released the updated version of the Form I-9 Employer Handbook.

The handbook provides the basic steps involved with a new hire, including the forms that must be completed, what documents are acceptable and step-by-step directions on how to correctly complete Form I-9.

The handbook also explains the reason we have Form I-9 for employment eligibility, mentions unlawful discrimination and penalties for prohibited practices, and discusses the E-Verify online program component for interested employers.

The handbook also provides the most current Form I-9, which may be printed and copied by all employers.

The MVP Law Group recommends that all employers download the I-9 Employer Handbook as a reliable tool for assisting with I-9 compliance. If your company needs assistance with I-9 compliance, please do not hesitate and contact our office to discuss how we may help!

USCIS Revises Employment Eligibility Form (I-9)

December 15, 2008

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) submitted to the Federal Register an interim final rule that will streamline the Employment Eligibility Verification process.

The interim final rule narrows the list of acceptable identity documents and further specifies that expired documents are not considered acceptable forms of identification. Specifically, the interim final rule eliminates Forms I-688, I-688A, and I-688B from List A because the USCIS no longer issues these cards and all that were in circulation have expired. Additionally, the rule adds to List A foreign passports containing specially- marked machine-readable visas, and the new U.S. passport. The rule also makes other technical changes to update the list of acceptable documents. The revised Form I-9 includes additional changes, such as revisions to the employee attestation section, etc.
After publication in the Federal Register, the public will have 45 days to comment on the final rule.

Read the Interim final rule

For Questions and Answers regarding the revised Form I-9, please click here.

Unlawful employment practices result in potential debarment

September 24, 2008

Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have increasingly been conducting workplace raids that can have a significant impact on an employer and its workers. In a news release issued by ICE, seven companies have been notified that they will be considered for debarment from federal contracting because each of the companies has been found to be unlawfully employing persons without employment authorization.

Julie Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Security for ICE, indicated that by using debarment in appropriate circumstances, the federal government can avoid working with businesses that employ an illegal workforce. She commented in the news release that “debarment” is yet another tool that they believe will further ensure compliance with U.S. immigration employment laws.

The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) provide that contractors may be considered for debarment if they have been found to have either knowingly hired an unauthorized worker or continue to employ an alien who is or becomes unauthorized.

The effect of debarment on a company is paralyzing. First, each company’s name is entered into the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), which identifies parties that have been suspended, debarred, proposed for debarment or otherwise excluded from receiving federal contracts, certain subcontracts and certain types of federal financial and non-financial assistance and benefits. Subsequently, the companies on the list are prohibited from competing for new government contracts. Additionally, the proposed debarment and immediate suspension apply government-wide, meaning no federal agency may award a new contract while these companies are on the list. However, the companies have a 30-day period to respond and challenge the decision made by ICE officers.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. strongly recommends that companies maintain accurate and complete I-9 forms for each employee, as maintaining these records is a good faith defense to a charge of hiring unauthorized workers. Employers should also perform I-9 audits annually, if not every six months, to ensure I-9 compliance.

Extension of Optional Practical Training Program under the E-Verify Program & E-Verify Requirement for Federal Contractors

June 25, 2008

According to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), an additional seventeen (17) month Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) extension is available for current OPT F-1 students who have completed a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degree and accepted employment with an employer enrolled in the E-verify program. Additionally, this extension will benefit students with pending H-1B petitions and change of status requests, as it will enable them to maintain their employment eligibility for the duration of the H-1B processing period. Without this benefit, foreign students on F-1 nonimmigrant status would only be eligible for the normal twelve (12) months of OPT to work for a U.S. employer in a field directly related to their major area of study. This employment eligibility program essentially provides a benefit for students on F-1 status who seek employment with an employer enrolled in E-Verify.

E-Verify Requirement for Federal Contractors

On June 9, 2008, Executive Order 12989 was issued, which declared E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility verification system that all federal contractors must use. The Executive Order directs all federal departments and agencies to require contractors, as a condition of each future federal contract, to agree to use E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of all persons hired during the contract term, and all persons performing work within the United States on the federal contract. This rule is not final, and is open for public comment at this time. Please refer to the following link for contact information, if you would like to submit a written comment. Written comments must be submitted on or before August 12, 2008.

Maintaining a I-9 AUDIT Files

June 10, 2008

EVERY employer needs to complete I-9 forms for every employee hired after November 4, 1986. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”), all employers must verify that every person that is hired is either: a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a foreign national with authorization to work in the U.S. Within three business days of beginning the job, the employee must furnish identity and employment eligibility documents. It is the responsibility of the employer to examine the documents to determine whether they are genuine and relate to the specific employee. Once the I-9 form is completed, they are to be kept in office for the longer of three years after employment begins or one year after employment is terminated. Most importantly, if an employee has temporary employment authorization, a reverification of employment eligibility must be conducted prior to expiration of the employment authorization. Moreover, officers of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and Immigration Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) have the right to audit employers’ I-9 forms. DHS/ICE officers conduct an estimated 60,000 I-9 audits a year on employers around the country and have issued fines in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, each mistake on an I-9 Form counts as a separate violation. All employers are further subject to civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ aliens who are not authorized to work in the U.S. Accurate completion of I-9 forms is a good faith defense to a charge of hiring unauthorized workers.

ICE has increasingly been conducting workplace raids that can have a significant impact on an employer and its workers regardless of status. Results of those raids have been: public relations nightmares, fleeing or arrested workers resulting in loss of work force, loss of productivity, split up families and related humanitarian issues, as well as expensive and protracted litigation. Therefore, the best way for an employer to avoid IRCA problems is to establish a meaningful I-9 audit system.

Such a system should include at least the following elements:

• Education and training of all human resource personnel on the purpose and requirements of IRCA
• Establishment of a scheduling system to automatically remind an employer when reverification of a temporary workers’ employment authorization is warranted
• Conducting a thorough, annual review of all employee I-9 forms (discarding forms and documentation when necessary, noting re-occurring problems for purposes of future staff training; correcting forms with information supplied in employee personnel files, etc)

As always, it is better to be prepared before ICE comes knocking on the door!