USCIS Form I-9 Webinar is now available On-Demand

October 2, 2014

On Friday, September 26, 2014, USCIS announced that they have published a web page with free on-demand access to a Form I-9 webinar. On-demand means that this video of the Form I-9 webinar is available at any time on the Internet. This webinar explains how to correctly complete the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form. You can choose from any of the (14) individual chapters or you may watch the entire 22 minute video altogether. This is a great training tool to learn how to correctly complete this important form.

Form I-9 Webinar on Demand

Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens.


Source of Information:
AILA InfoNet Doc. No.14092642. (Posted 9/26/14):
USCIS Form I-9 Webinar Now Available On-Demand

USCIS.gov, 9/25/14, Web Page (Webinar):
Form I-9 Webinar on Demand

USCIS.gov, 9/30/14, Web Page:
I-9 Central

E-Verify is UNAVAILABLE due to the Federal Government Shutdown

October 4, 2013

E-Verify, the Internet-based system that employers use to check whether job applicants may legally work in the U.S. is currently unavailable due to a Federal Government shutdown. You will not be able to access your E-Verify account!

E-Verify Customer Support and any related services are also closed.

Which includes the following:



For more details on the E-Verify closure, please review the USCIS News Bulletin, “E-Verify is Currently Unavailable”!


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 10/1/13, News Bulletin: E-Verify is Currently Unavailable

Bloomberg.com, 10/1/13, News Article: E-Verify Goes Dark as Shutdown Cuts Links to Companies

What Happens If the Government Shuts Down? – Updated 9/30/13

September 30, 2013

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has requested information from the federal government agencies involved in the immigration system for updates on their contingency plans in case of a government shutdown. A possible government shutdown could happen as early as October 1, 2013, the beginning of the new fiscal year 2014 (FY2014). AILA has reported that they have not received any updated information at this time. They suggested reviewing the shutdown plans for the last threatened federal government shutdown, which was in 2011.

Below is an excerpt from MVP Law Group’s original blog post on the subject dated (4/8/11).

~---------------~

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 (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services): A couple of shutdown threats back, a USCIS official stated at a stakeholder engagement that USCIS (other than the human touches on E-Verify) would not need to shut down, since all of the agency, other than E-Verify, is funded by fees. However, it is not clear that this is the case, and at least one local office has indicated that it is working on its shutdown plan. AILA will update this information as they get more information.

DOS (Department of State): If there is a shutdown, the result for DOS will likely be the same as it was in the 1996 government closing. Then, the only visa issuance being done was for some diplomats and for "life or death" situations. As DOS is wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP (Customs and Border Patrol): 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 (Executive Office for Immigration Review): EOIR has indicated that personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed, but that the detained docket would likely continue in operation. (Updated as of 9/30/2013)

DOL (Department of Labor): In the event of a government shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials it receives. (Updated as of 9/30/2013)

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


Source of Information:

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 4/7/11)
- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 9/ 25/13)

Free E-Verify Webinar on Employees Rights

June 18, 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced a free E-Verify webinar on Employee Rights. This free online seminar will be held on Wednesday, June 19 at 12:00am EST (noon). You can register with the link listed below; you will need to include your first name, last name and an email address. Experts for both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be going over Form I-9, E-Verify and other related subjects.

Click here to register

E-Verify is a Web-based, free program operated by the DHS that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to legally work in the United States.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 6/14/13, Email Bulletin
Know Your Rights: Free E-Verify Webinar for Employees

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

Import Our Workers or Import Our Food

March 8, 2013

About 300 farmers gathered on Wednesday (2/27/13) in Raleigh, NC at the North Carolina State Legislative Building. They were there for a press conference and the release of the North Carolina Farm Bureau's (NCFB) “North Carolina Agriculture Workforce Report – February 2013”. The NCFB conducted a farm labor survey of approximately 50,000 farms in North Carolina.

One major problem they found was that 61% of the farmers were having trouble finding workers to pick their crops and work their fields. The NCFB advocates an enhanced Guest Worker Program as part of overall U.S. Immigration Reform. The farmers are worried that the NC Legislature will make E-Verify mandatory for temporary farm workers without a reliable guest worker program in place. As of July 1, 2013 NC employers with 25 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires. Seasonal temporary workers are exempt but NC farmers are worried this will soon change.

Doug Patterson, owner of Patterson Farm, Inc. which employees about 300 people stated, “We feel that if nothing is done in the next few years, we will reduce acreage or get out of the fruit and vegetable farming business altogether. North Carolina will have to decide to import our workers or import our food.” Patterson added, “If the state passes and implements a mandatory E-Verify system without a viable, affordable federal guest worker program in place, then many farmers will be forced to quit.”

The U.S. does have a guest worker program for Temporary Agricultural Workers, the H-2A visa. There were 65,345* of these visa granted in FY2012. The problem is that U.S. farms hired an estimated million or more undocumented immigrants to fill needed seasonal (temporary) jobs during this same time period! The farmers complain that the existing H-2A program has too much bureaucratic paperwork and requires them to pay inflated wages and benefits. All these things add up and affect their bottom line and in some cases their actual existence!


View the links below for more detail on the subject:

NCFB.org (2/27/13) Press Release:
NCFB Report Reveals an Unstable Agriculture Workforce and Signs of a Broken System

NCFB.org (2/27/13) Report:
North Carolina Agriculture Workforce Report – February 2013

WRAL.com (2/27/13) Video:
Farmers ask lawmakers to ease up on immigration rules

WRAL.com (2/27/13) Article:
NC farmers want help on immigration solution

Globalpost.com (3/1/13) Article:
North Carolina Farmers Wary of E-Verify Mandate

Washingtonpost.com (2/26/13) Article:
Republicans, Democrats agree on need to rework agricultural worker program


*Worldwide NIV Workload by Visa Category FY 2012 (U.S. Dept. of State)

Hearing on How E-Verify Works

February 27, 2013

The United States House of Representatives, Committee of the Judiciary will be holding a Hearing on “How E-Verify Works and How it Benefits American Employers and Workers.” The Hearing on “E-Verify” is scheduled for today (2/27/12) at 2:30pm EST in Washington, D.C. The hearing is being held specifically by the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. I have included the Witness List below.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released their opening statement as part of Randel Johnson’s testimony. I have included a link, “Statement of U.S. Chamber of Commerce” for you to review.

MVP Law Group will provide further information concerning the outcome of the hearing as soon information becomes available.

Witness List:
Soraya Correa, Associate Director, Enterprises Services Directorate, USCIS
Chris Gamvroulas, President, Ivory Homes
Randel K. Johnson, Sr. Vice President for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Emily Tulli, Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center

E-Verify Receives High Ratings in Customer Satisfaction

February 22, 2013

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced that users of E-Verify, the free Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States, have given the program high marks in a recent customer survey.

CFI Group conducted the survey, using randomly selected employers that actually use E-Verify to evaluate and grade the system. They evaluated many key aspects of E-Verify such as ease of use, customer satisfaction and many others. The overall customer satisfaction was rated high, with an average score of 86 out of 100. CFI Group noted that the average score for government agencies was 67.

“We are proud of the advancements we have made in the E-Verify program,” said Director Mayorkas. “This customer survey validates the success of our efforts, which we have undertaken in collaboration with the business and labor communities and other key stakeholders.”

MVP Law Group supports USCIS use of established business standards to evaluate E-Verify customer satisfaction. Using their customer feedback will hopefully lead to a better verification system.

Read the USCIS Press Release, “E-Verify Receives High Ratings in Customer Survey” for more detailed information.


Source of Information: “USCIS Press Release (Posted 2/21/13)

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”

USCIS Program Extension Alert

October 19, 2012

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises the public that Public Law 112-176, signed by the President on Sept. 28, 2012, extends the following USCIS programs until Sept. 30, 2015:

• E-Verify
• Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program
• Special immigrant visa category for non-minister special immigrant religious workers
• The date by which J-1 nonimmigrant exchange visitors must obtain that status in order to qualify for the Conrad 30 program.

Program Details

E-Verify: 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. More than 402,000 participating employers at nearly 1.2 million worksites nationwide currently use the program. Since Oct. 1, 2011, more than 20 million employment verification queries have been run through the system and approximately 98.3 percent of all queries are now automatically confirmed without any need for employee action.

Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program: Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, USCIS will continue to receive, process, and adjudicate all Regional Center Proposals, Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, affiliated with Regional Centers relying on “indirect” job creation analysis. Currently, there are more than 70 regional centers throughout the United States.

Religious Worker Visa: The special immigrant visa category for non-minister religious workers covers individuals within a religious vocation or occupation and also applies to accompanying or “following-to-join” spouses and children of these religious workers. USCIS will continue to receive and process Forms 1-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and Forms I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, that relate to religious workers and their families covered by Public Law 112-176.

Conrad 30: USCIS will continue to adjudicate immigration benefits covered by the Conrad 30 program. The Conrad 30 program allows each state health department to submit a request directly to the Department of State to initiate the waiver process for a foreign medical graduate who obtained J-1 status to change to another status without the required two-year foreign residence. The law previously required the foreign medical graduate to have acquired J-1 status before Sept. 30, 2012; the law now extends the program to cover J-1 admissions before Sept. 30, 2015.

Source of Information: "USCIS.com NEWS (10/05/2012)"

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (Jan-Sept 2012)

October 18, 2012

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate January 2012-September 2012.

Senate Bills

S. 3245
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 5/24/12
Permanently reauthorizes the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the E-Verify Program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program

Student Visa Integrity Act (S. 3527)
Introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) on 9/11/12
Creates increased criminal penalties for individuals misuing the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), mandates certification for institutions enrolling international students, and prohibits certain schools from accessing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

BRAINS Act (S. 3553)
Introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) on 9/19/12
Provides for immigrants visas for certain advanced STEM graduates, student visa reform, age-out protections for children, retention of priority dates, and family reunifications for high-skilled workers

House Bills

Scott Gardner Act (H.R. 3808)
Introduced by Rep. Myrick (R-NC) on 1/23/12
Directs DOJ to take into custody an alien who is unlawfully in the United States and is arrested by a state or local law enforcement officer for driving while intoxicated or similar violation. The bill also directs the officer, upon reasonable grounds to believe the individual is an alien, to verify immigration status and to take into custody for federal transfer if unlawfully in the United States.

Adjusted Residency for Military Service (ARMS) Act (H.R. 3823)
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL) on 1/24/12
Authorizes DHS to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional nonimmigrant status, an alien who meets specific requirements, including (1) entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding this Act's enactment; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) has not participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; (5) has not been convicted of certain offenses under federal or state law; (6) has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school diploma or general education development certificate in the United States; (7) has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal unless the alien has remained in the United States under color of law after such order's issuance, or received the order before attaining the age of 16; and (8) was under age 30 on the date of this Act's enactment.

H.R. 3842
Introduced by Rep. Black (R-TN) on 1/31/12
Prohibits federal funds from being used by a federal agency or instrumentality to participate in a lawsuit to overturn, enjoin, or otherwise invalidate specified immigration-related laws in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina, or Georgia.

Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act (H.R. 3855)
Introduced by Rep. Quigley (D-IL) on 1/31/2012
Amends the INA in regards to the visa waiver program to 1. Authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate any country as a program country; 2. Adjust visa refusal rate criteria, including the addition of a 3% maximum overstay rate; and 3. Revise probationary and termination provisions

Ensuring Mental Competence in Immigration Proceedings Act (H.R. 3881)
Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 2/2/12
Authorizes immigration judges to order a competency evaluation, terminate a proceeding, or appoint counsel when necessary for aliens with mental disabilities

Strengthening America's Public Schools Through Promoting Foreign Investment Act (H.R. 3983)
Introduced by Rep. Owens (D-NY) on 2/8/12
Permits a lawful alien who enters the United States on a nonimmigrant student visa to attend a U.S. pubic secondary school for longer than one year if such alien reimburses the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of providing education at such school for the period of the alien's attendance

H.R. 3992
Introduced by Rep. Berman (D-CA) on 2/9/12
Makes Israeli nationals eligible to enter the United States as nonimmigrant traders and investors if Israel provides reciprocal nonimmigrant treatment to U.S. nationals

H.R. 4021
Introduced by Rep. Faleomavaega (D-AS At-Large)
Waives certain requirements for naturalization for American Samoan U.S. nationals to become U.S. citizens

H.R. 4982- VAWA Reauthorization
Introduced by Rep. Biggert (R-IL) on 4/27/12
Reauthorizes Violence Against Women Act of 1994 with amendments.

Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act of 2012 (H.R. 5875)
Introduced by Rep. Christensen (D-VI -At Large) on 5/31/12
Establishes a visa waiver program for the United States Virgin Islands for a national of a country that is a member/associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and who is applying for admission as a nonimmigrant business or pleasure visitor for not more than 30 days.

Visa Waiver for Israel Act of 2012 (H.R. 5850)
Introduced by Rep. Sherman (D-CA) on 5/18/12
Includes Israel in the visa waiver program upon determination that Israel: (1) has entered into an agreement with the United States to report, or make available through Interpol or other means, information about passport theft or loss; (2) has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States regarding whether Israeli citizens and nationals traveling to the United States represent a U.S. security threat; (3) cooperates with the U.S. government on counterterrorism initiatives, information sharing, and preventing terrorist travel; (4) issues all new and reissued passports with biometric identifiers; and (5) has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing Israeli security, to ensure that reciprocal privileges are extended to all U.S. citizens.

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013 (H.R. 5855)
Introduced by Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) on 5/23/12
Makes appropriations for DHS for FY 2013

Startup Act 2.0 (H.R. 5893)
Introduced by Rep. Grimm (R-NY) on 6/5/12
Authorizes DHS to adjust conditional permanent resident status up to 50,000 aliens who have earned a master's or doctorate degree in STEM fields and permit such an alien to remain in the United States: (1) for up to one year after the expiration of the alien's student visa, if the alien is searching for STEM field employment; and (2) indefinitely if the alien remains actively engaged in a STEM field. Removes a STEM alien's conditional status after five years of maintaining eligibility during the entire five-year period. Authorizes the Secretary to issue conditional immigrant visas to up to 75,000 qualified alien entrepreneurs. Removes such conditional basis after four years of maintaining qualified entrepreneur status. Eliminates the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based visas. Increases the per country numerical limitation for family based immigrants from 7% to 15% of the total number of family-sponsored visas.

Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act (H.R. 3932)
Introduced by Rep. Quayle (R-AZ) on 6/18/12
Nullifies the following: 1)June 17, 2011 memorandum from Director of ICE regarding exercise of prosecutorial discretion; 2) June 15, 2012 memoradum from Secretary of Homeland Security regarding prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children 3) draft directive developed by CBP containing guidance on when to exercise discretion

H.R. 5957
Introduced by Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ) on 6/18/12
Prohibits DHS from granting deferred action or otherwise suspending the effectiveness or enforcement of immigration laws

H.R. 6000
Introduced by Rep. Akin (R-MO) on 6/21/12
Requires verification of the immigration status of recipients of Federal benefit programs

H.R. 6001
Introduced by Rep. Burgess (R-TX) on 6/21/12
Prohibits DHS from granting a work authorization to an alien found to have been unlawfully present in the United States

H.R. 6070
Introduced by Rep. Barletta (R-PA) on 6/29/12
Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study to determine the impact of the June 15, 2012 policy regarding exercising discretion with respect to individuals who came the United States as children. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to refrain from implementing the policy until after the Comptroller General has reported to Congress on the results of the study.

Employee Verification (H.R. 6112)
Introduced by Rep. Woodall (7/12/12)
Requires federal contractors and subcontractors to participate in the E-Verify program. Makes E-Verify permanent.

Family Farm Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 6373)
Introduced by Rep. Gibson (R-NY) on 9/11/12
Amends the INA to simplify the petitioning process for H-2A workers and expands the scope of the H-2A program.

American Investment and Job Creation Act of 2012 (H.R. 6210)
Introduced by Rep. Conyers (D-MI) on 7/26/12
Provides an employment-based immigrant visa for an alien entrepreneur who has engaged in a new commercial enterprise that has 1) within the four years prior to the filing of a petition, created full-time employment for at least five U.S. workers, or in the case of a Distressed Area Development Zone, for at least three U.S. workers; and 2) received enough investment or revenue during this period to support employment creation requirements.

Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012 (H.R. 6412)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 9/14/12
Provides up to 50,000 visas available to immigrations who 1) possess a graduate degree in STEM fields from qualifying U.S. research institution; 2) have an employment offer from a U.S. employer in field related to degree; 3) are the subject of an approved labor certification; 4) will receive a wage that is at least the actual wage paid by employer to all other individuals with similar experience/qualifications. Makes unused STEM visas available for other employment-based visa categories.

STEM Jobs Act of 2012 (H.R. 6429)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/18/12
Creates new visa categories for foreign PhD and masters graduates in STEM fields. Eliminates the diversity immigrant visa program.

Source of Information: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12100260 (posted Oct. 2, 2012)"

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, May 11, 2012

May 7, 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, 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, May 11th, 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.

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

November 3, 2011

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

Senate Bills

S. 1506
Introduced by Sen. Rubio (R-FL) on 8/2/11
Prevents the Secretary of the Treasury from expanding United States bank reporting requirements with respect to interest on deposits paid to nonresident aliens.

S. 1545
Introduced by Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) on 9/13/11
Designates Taiwan as a visa waiver program country under INA Section 217(c).

S. 1576
Introduced by Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) on 9/19/11
Measures the progress of relief, recovery, reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, and for other purposes.

House Bills

Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2011 (HR 2730)
Introduced by Rep. Bass (D-CA) on 8/1/11
Better enables State child welfare agencies to prevent human trafficking of children and serve the needs of children who are victims of human trafficking.

H.R. 2763
Introduced by Rep. McDermott (D-WA); Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on 8/1/11
Extends by two years the special rule relating to eligibility for benefits under the supplemental security income program for certain aliens and victims of trafficking. Amends section 402(a)(2)(M) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

H.R. 2771
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL) on 8/1/11
Amends Public Law 89-732 to increase to 5 years the period during which a Cuban national must be physically present in the United States in order to qualify for adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident

Doctors for Underserved Areas in America Act (H.R. 2805)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 8/5/11
Amends Section 220 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 to make the section permanent.

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2830)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-NJ) on 8/30/11
Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

H.R. 2831
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL)on 8/30/11
Amends Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act to make ineligible for adjustment of status under Section 1 individuals who return to Cuba after admission or parole into the U.S.

American Specialty Agriculture Act (H.R. 2847)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/7/11
Establishes a H-2C nonimmigrant visa for an alien having residence in a foreign country which he or she has no intention of abandoning and who is coming temporarily (10-month maximum per contract period) to the United States to perform agricultural services, including the pressing of apples for cider on a farm. Requires an employer or employer association to file an H-2C petition.

Compassionate Visa for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 2878)
Introduced by Rep. Cohen (D-TN) on 9/9/11
Amends INA with respect to temporary admission of nonimmigrant aliens for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.

Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/12/11
Makes mandatory and permanent requirements for use of E-Verify for employment verification.

Legal Agricultural Workforce Act(H.R. 2895)
Introduced by Rep. Lungren (R-CA) on 9/12/11
Amends INA to provide for a temporary agricultural worker program.

Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011(H.R. 2899)
Introduced by Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA) on 9/12/11
Establishes a reciprocal relationship between the number of visas issued to state-controlled media workers in China and in the U.S.

Immigration Backlog Reduction Act of 2011(H.R. 2952)
Introduced by Rep. Hunter (R-CA) on 9/15/11
Provides for expedited removal of certain aliens.

Senior Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R. 2957)
Introduced by Rep. Nadler (D-NY) on 9/15/11
Amends INA to exempt certain elderly persons (75+ years; 5 years as LPR) from demonstrating an understanding of the English language and the history/government of the United States as a requirement for naturalization. The bill also permits other elderly persons (65+ years; 5 years LPR) to take the history and government examination in a language of their choice.

Restoring Protection to Victims of Persecution Act (HR 2981)
Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 9/21/11
Amends the INA to eliminate the 1-year deadline for application for asylum in the United States.

Illegal Immigration Sentencing Uniformity Act of 2011 (HR 2991)
Introduced by Rep. Culberson (R-TX) on 9/21/11
Disapproves of a certain sentencing guideline amendment submitted by the United States Sentencing Commission, and for other purposes.

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 3012)
Introduced by Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) on 9/22/11
Eliminates the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, and increases the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants.

SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act of 2011(H.R. 3083)
Introduced by Rep. McDermott (D-WA) on 10/3/11
Extends eligibility period for supplemental security income benefits for refugees, asylees, and certain other humanitarian immigrants.

Protecting American Families and Businesses Act of 2011(H.R. 3119)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 10/6/11
Amends the INA to remove the per-country limitation on employment-based immigrant visas and adjusts the per-country limitation on family-sponsored immigrant visas.

Student Visa Reform Act (H.R. 3120)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 10/6/11
Amends the INA to require accreditation of certain educational institutions for purposes of a nonimmigrant student visa.

H.R. 3162
Introduced by Rep. Alexander (R-LA) on 10/12/11
Prohibits the Secretary of Labor from implementing certain rules relating to employment of aliens described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Illegal Alien Crime Reporting Act of 2011 (H.R. 3168)
Introduced by Rep. Jones (R-NC) on 10/12/11
Prohibits the payment of funds to a state under any program by DHS unless the state 1. compiles statistics on persons arrested, charged, convicted or incarcerated, including immigration status and country of origin; 2. reports such statistics monthly to the FBI; and 3. certifies compliance with requirements of this Act.

Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11110234 (posted Nov. 2, 2011)"

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.

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)"

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, 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.

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…

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 15th, 2011

April 11, 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 15th, 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.

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)"

What Happens If The Government Shuts Down?

April 8, 2011

The following information has been provided by AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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 (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services): A couple of shutdown threats back, a USCIS official stated at a stakeholder engagement that USCIS (other than the human touches on E-Verify) would not need to shut down, since all of the agency, other than E-Verify, is funded by fees. However, it is not clear that this is the case, and at least one local office has indicated that it is working on its shutdown plan. AILA will update this information as they get more information.

DOS (Department of State): If there is a shutdown, the result for DOS will likely be the same as it was in the 1996 government closing. Then, the only visa issuance being done was for some diplomats and for "life or death" situations. As DOS is wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP (Customs and Border Patrol): 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 (Executive Office for Immigration Review): 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 (Department of Labor): 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. AILA does not know at this point whether iCERT/PERM would continue to function. However, because the systems require funding to run, practitioners should assume that they would not be available.

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

Source of Information - AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted Apr. 7, 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.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

February 28, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 4th, 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, March 4th, 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.

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.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

February 15, 2011

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

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.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

January 3, 2011

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 7th, 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, January 7th, 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.

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.

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.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

November 1, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 5th, 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, November 5th, 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.

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.

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!

MVP LAW GROUP – Q&A Forum, October 1st, 2010

October 1, 2010

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
What is the grace period on H-1B extension? I reside in California, my current H-1B visa expires on 9/25/2010 and I’ve filed for an extension on 9/7/2010. Got certified mail receipt for it. I was told by my lawyer that I have 240 days grace period when an extension application is pending. I need to have some sort of documentation proof on this fact for my employer. Is there anyway I can obtain it?

Answer #1
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 date of expiration. This extension does not apply to persons seeking a change of status. During 240 days, there is no INA 245(c) bar to adjustment of status.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I got my I-140 petition approved. Next step is to apply for AOS. What kind of document I need to have for AOS application?

Answer #2
In order to apply for AOS, your priority date needs to be current, once your priority date is current, you will able to file the Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident along with the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. There are numerous background documents that will need to be submitted along with your petition, specifically, a sealed medical examination from a civil surgeon in your area, birth certificates, copies of federal tax returns, bank statements, and an employment verification letter, among other documents.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My name is mistakenly typed in the form I-129 submitted to USCIS. In that form only, in all other forms (including I-129 supplements) it has typed correctly. Name mistyped on I-129, so reflecting wrong name on I-797, what I need to do now?

Answer #3
If you believe that the mistake on your I-129 receipt notice (Form I-797) would cause severe issues down the road, you will need to contact the USCIS National Customer Service number (1-800-375-5283) and speak with an Agent to request that the mistake be corrected, so that your I-129 Approval notice (Form I-797) will provide the correct spelling of your name.


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have some questions to ask about immigration. I am currently on Stem Opt extension and I am a full time employee, my stem opt started on Jan. 15th 2010. I have worked for one client in May 2010 through a vendor and the vendor said they cannot run my payroll directly. I contacted one consultancy but I did not know they are not e-verified. The consultancy got the money from the vendor and they are not enrolling into e-verify now. I am not sure what will be the situation if the non-e-verified company runs my payroll. My current company will apply for my H1 this year. Please advise.

Answer #4
Your current company/present employer should be the one responsible for running your payroll, not the vendor nor the end client. From the information you have provided, it does not seem like you are a direct employee of the vendor or the end client, therefore the only entity responsible for running your payroll is your current company.


Question #5 – Diversity Lottery (DV)
Can I apply for DV now?

Answer #5
Applications for the DV 2012 random lottery will be accepted beginning Tuesday, October 5, 2010 through Wednesday, November 3, 2010. Paper entries will not be accepted, eligible participants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) to apply during this period. For more information relating to the DV 2010 random lottery, please refer to www.h1bvisalawyerblog.com.


Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Regarding a change of job, is there a recommended wait time after the green card that I can change my employer. On the EAD there was a 6mth after which I could do this, but was wondering after the GC if there is any such thing. Appreciate your response.

Answer #6
Although the regulations are silent on this issue, we recommend that you wait at least six (6) months before changing your employer to avoid issues if you intend on applying for citizenship when you become eligible.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Is the H-1B quota still open? Do I still have time to file for an H-1B even though October 1, 2010 is right around the corner?

Answer #7
As of September 24, 2010, there were approximately 25,400 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and approximately 5,600 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 FY2011 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to www.mvp.com.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Is an approved I-765 any indication that the I-485 is getting close to approval and would eventually BE approved without a hitch or are they autonomous processes?

Answer #8
They are separate creatures. Therefore, to put it simply, an approved I-765 is not an indication that the I-485 is getting closer to being approved.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I need to file my H-1b as soon as possible, but I am scheduled to leave the country early next week. If I file and leave, will there be any complications? Please advise.

Answer #9
Pursuant to regulation 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(15)(i), a person must be in the U.S. when an extension is filed, but may travel abroad while an extension is pending. If the beneficiary is required to travel while the extension is pending, the approval can be sent via cable (or through the PIMS system) to the appropriate consular post upon the Petitioner’s request. We recommend that if you have a pending extension with the USCIS, you do not travel outside of the U.S. unless it is an emergency.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My AP expires today and since i just came back from INDIA, i dont see any travel need for quite some time now hence i am not applying for extension of AP. Is that OK? Or do we need to always apply it before the current one expires. I think we can always apply only on needs basis and do it at a later stage. Will that be fine?

Answer #10
You do not need to apply for the AP prior to the expiration of the current AP. You can always apply at a later date.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment. We hope the information provided is helpful.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, October 15, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

MVP LAW GROUP – Q&A Forum, September 17, 2010

September 17, 2010

Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card - EAD Renewal
I filed for my EAD renewal back in August 2010 and it is still pending. My current EAD expires next week. What are my options moving forward - can I expedite the EAD since my card is expiring? What can I do I can’t risk losing my current job?

Answer #1
When 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. You MUST wait for your EAD card to arrive in the mail before you can begin to work again.

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

Answer #2
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. The email should only contain the applicant’s A# so the Service Center can efficiently identify and distribute work to the floor.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am currently working for a company, but I got an offer from 2 buisness men to start a new business with them as an equal partner. I really want to pursue that venture but I am not sure about a few things. Would it be better for me to change my status to self employed and than apply for the H1B visa for self sponsership?

Answer #3
To put it simply, the H-1B nonimmigrant visa is an employment based temporary nonimmigrant work visa. This means that you must first have a sponsoring employer willing to sponsor you before you may petition for and obtain an H-1B nonimmigrant visa. The H-1B regulations do not allow for self sponsorship.


Question #4 – General
What are the benefits of registering my company with E-Verify?

Answer #4
Several links have been provided below which: explain the program; provide a link to the website for enrollment, list the Dos and Don’ts of the program, and point out the potential drawbacks of the program.
What is E-Verify?
I-9 Employer Handbook
DOs and DONTS
Potential drawbacks


Question #5 – Family Based Immigration: Marriage – K1 Fiancé Visa
My daughter is a U.S. Citizen and is engaged to marry her German fiancé. Both have known one another for over seven years and have been engaged for two months. Can my daughter sponsor her fiancé? What needs to be done? What’s required?

Answer #5
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 daughter 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, he may travel to the United States to marry your daughter. 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 #6 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My 6th year H-1B status expires next year and I have approved I-140 through different company. Can I use the approved I-140 to get a three year extension with my current employer?

Answer #6
Yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B immigrant may extend his or her status beyond the 6 year limitation where the H-1B immigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I still file for an H-1B?

Answer #7
As of September 10, 2010, there were approximately 27,600 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and approximately 6,300 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 FY2011 H-1B Cap updates, please refer to www.mvp.com.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My priority date is current and I want to file my I-485 application. How much are the filing fees?

Answer #8
Taken verbatim from the USCIS website - If you file Form I-485 to adjust your status as a permanent resident on or after July 30, 2007, no additional fee is required to also file an application for employment authorization (EAD) on Form I-765 and/or advance parole (AP) on Form I-131. Accordingly, for a total of $1,010.00 you may submit Form I-485; Form I-765 and Form I-131 to the USCIS for processing. The filing fees are less for applicants 79+, and for children under the age of 14.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I’m on H-1B visa status, I am planning on traveling out of the US for a visit to my country; I want to make sure I don’t run into issues upon return. What documentation do I need to have for traveling?

Answer #9
If you MUST travel on H-1B status, we recommend that you have the following: at least two month’s worth of pay stubs, a copy of the approved H-1B petition, an original employment verification letter on company letterhead with an official signature, the original approval notice, and any other documentation relating to the company that would demonstrate compliance with the laws governing the H-1B program and the establishment of a bona fide job opportunity.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I recently got a new project in Northern Virginia. I have North Carolina listed in my labor application. Do I need to file a new labor in Virginia?

Answer #10
According to the regulations governing the H-1B program, when you move to a new location outside of the geographical location listed on the original certified LCA, a new LCA as well as an amended petition must be filed with the USCIS.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment. We hope the information provided is helpful.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, October 1, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

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.

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

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 – Q & A Forum, June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010

Question #1 - Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I heard if there are quite a few cases between Feb 2005 and October 2005, USCIS staff can work on cases only up to available VISA numbers and once the numbers are consumed, then it could go back to Feb or March 2005 with the next VISA bulletin.
Hence to not to take any chances, I heard we could call them (USCIS) and provide details of our case so that based on first come first call, they would process and issue the GC.

Answer #1
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.


Question #2 - Employment Based Immigration – Green Card (AC-21)
I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous company and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2007. I have since moved onto employment with another company on my EAD. Can I file AC21 Portability letter?

Answer #2
You may be eligible to file an AC21 106(c) Portability Request if the new position/duties are the same or substantially similar to the position/duties listed in your Labor application certified by the DOL.


Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration – Employment Authorization Document (EAD)/Advance Parole Document (AP)
My EAD and AP are expiring this year sometime. When is the earliest that I can file my renewal petitions?

Answer #3
According to the USCIS, you can petition for an EAD renewal no more than 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD. For instance, if your current EAD card expires on October 16, 2010, the earliest you can file is on or after June 19, 2010.
According to the USCIS, you can petition for AP renewal no more than 30 days in advance of the expiration of your current AP or the USCIS will issue an RFE requesting your current AP document before issuing a new AP document.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have vacation plans to go to India in the first week of July 2010. Can we file my H-1B extension petition prior to my leaving? Or can you hold it and file the case after I cross the border?

Answer #4
You may file your H-1B extension prior to your departure; however, unless you upgrade your case to Premium Processing, your vacation plans will need to be delayed. When you have a case pending with the USCIS, you CANNOT leave the United States, as they will interpret it as abandonment of your pending case. Additionally, you may not file a case while outside of the United States; you must be present in the U.S. when filing for Immigration benefits.


Question #5 - Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I’d like to apply for an H-1B visa under the H-1B CAP. Is the H1B Visa Quota still available for the year 2010?

Answer #5
The H-1B 2010 CAP opened on April 1, 2009 and closed December 25, 2009. The H-1B FY2010 ran from October 1, 2009 until September 30, 2010. FY stands for Fiscal Year. 65,000 visas have already been allocated for FY2010.
The H-1B 2011 CAP opened on April 1, 2010 and is still OPEN. The H-1B FY2011 runs from October 1, 2010 until September 30, 2011. As of June 18, 42,100 visas are still available for FY2011.


Question #6 - Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our consultants is nearing his 6th year on H-1B visa status, but he has an approved I-140 filed by a different company. Is it possible to use that approved I-140 to get a three year extension with our company.

Answer #6
Yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B immigrant may extend his or her status beyond the 6 year limitation if a labor certification, I-140, or employment based adjustment of status application has been filed where 365 days or more have elapsed since the filing of the labor certification or I-140. Or, where the H-1B immigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.


Question #7 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card – Marriage Based (K1)
Is there any type of restrictions on a 'conditional green card”? Once my wife gets her green card, can she travel (internationally)?

Answer #7
Yes, she can travel internationally provided the trip is less than 6 months out of the year. The restrictions are mostly just the time frame, given most GCs are issued for 10 years, they want to make sure at the end of the two (2) years, prior to renewal of the GC, that you are still in a legitimate marriage and that the marriage was not for fraudulent purposes. Once the two (2) years are over and the conditions are removed after she applies to remove them, she will receive a GC valid for 10 years.
Within 90 days of the two-year anniversary of obtaining conditional residence, you and your wife will be required to file a Joint Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751). Once the conditions are removed, your wife will officially have Lawful Permanent Residence in the US.


Question #8 – General
Please explain for me what “priority date becoming current” means? I filed under EB2 category.

Answer #8
In order for an individual to obtain an immigrant visa, a visa number must be available to you. This is referred to as the priority date being "current." The priority date is current if there is no backlog in the category, or if the priority date is on or before the date listed as current in the State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin. This Bulletin is accessible at www.travel.state.gov. Currently, there is a backlog in the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) category, which is the category you are being filed in. This means, that you must wait until a visa becomes available, until your priority date becomes current. When your priority date becomes current, you may file the I-485 application, but until then, you must wait.
Each month, the State Department issues the visa bulletin, usually in the middle of the month. When the bulletin is issued, it will provide information that will take effect on the first day of the following month. Depending on 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.
In addition to the above website, you can go to http://immigrationroad.com/green-card-tracker.php and track how many green card applicants are in front of you using your priority date and preference category.


Question #9 – Student Visa (F1) and Extension of OPT
Our company just enrolled in E-Verify, what documents are needed when applying for the OPT extension?

Answer #9
The interim final rule extends the maximum period of OPT from 12 months to 29 months for F- 1 students who have completed a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree and accept employment with employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS') E-Verify employment verification program. Normally, the OPT extension process would need to be initiated at least 90 days before expiration of the current OPT.

The documents that are needed for the OPT extension are provided below:
• Completed original I-765 Application for Employment Authorization;
• Form I-765 Application fee of $340 USD check or money order made payable to “US. Department of HomelandSecurity”;
• Copy of valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
• Copy of ALL passport biographical information pages (including photo, birth date, expiration date). Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond end date of OPT;
• Copy of F-1 visa page or Form I-797: Change of status to F-1 approval notice;
• Copy of I-94 card (front and back);
• Copy of current SEVIS I-20 (pages 1 and 3);
• Copy of National University official transcript or a copy of diploma indicating level and program of study;
• Two U.S.-style passport photos (four recommended);
• Proof of your company’s enrollment in E-Verify.


Question #10 – General
Should my company enroll in E-Verify?

Answer #10
We have posted some articles on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog in recent months that may help answer your questions as to enrollment, procedures and other information. Several links have been provided below which: explain the program; provide a link to the website for enrollment, list the Dos and Don’ts of the program, and point out the potential drawbacks of the program.

What is E-Verify?

I-9 Employer Handbook

DOs and DONTS

Potential drawbacks


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment. We hope that the information provided is helpful.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, July 9, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

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.

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.

FY10 DHS Appropriations bill signed into Law

October 30, 2009

On Wednesday, October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law the FY10 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. This Law provides a three year extension for four (4) immigration related programs. Specifically, the law extends the non-minister religious worker program, the “Conrad 30” program, the EB-5 visa program, and the E-Verify program through September 30, 2012.

The information contained in this web posting was provided by:
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09102968 (posted Oct. 29, 2009)"

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.

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!

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 Incorporates Passport Data into E-Verify Program

March 10, 2009

In an effort to reduce the amount of Tentative Non-confirmations (TNCs) being issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the Service has teamed up with the Department of State (DOS) and has incorporated DOS passport data into the E-Verify employment authorization program.

Before this joint effort, foreign born citizens were receiving far more mismatches (otherwise known as tentative non-confirmations) than U.S. born citizens. Those who received TNCs had to physically visit a Social Security Administration (SSA) office in order to attempt to resolve the issue. Before this enhancement, receiving a mismatch was a scary and tiresome burden to overcome.

However, now, if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the SSA is unable to immediately confirm a citizen’s work eligibility, the USCIS can check DOS passport records prior to issuing a TNC. Accordingly, if citizenship information provided on Form I-9 matches those records, E-Verify will then confirm the individual’s work authorization. Additionally, for those foreign born U.S. citizens who receive TNCs, they may now sort the issue out over the telephone with the USCIS rather than physically entering a SSA office.

Update: Federal Contractors and the E-Verify System

January 22, 2009

Effective February 20, 2009, ALL federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) E-Verify system. This program allows for employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees.

This new rule which is addressed in Executive Order 12989 reinforces the policy that the federal government does business with companies that have a legal workforce.

Specifically, this rule requires federal contractors to agree, through language inserted into their federal contracts, to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all persons hired during a contract term.

To read the entire news release, please click here.

Drawbacks of the E-Verify Program

June 26, 2008

In my previous blog entry, I informed you of the E-Verify program instituted by the Federal Government. The Federal Government is requiring all of its contractors to utilize this system for employment verification of their employees. Even though this is a positive first step in ensuring that employers comply with legal hiring practices, the E-Verify system does have its drawbacks.

All participating employers are required to enter personal information from Form I-9 into the government database in order to submit a query to verify a new hire’s employment eligibility. All employers who sign up with E-Verify must manually enter this key information into the government database and wait for a response that will take approximately three (3) to five (5) seconds. Although this may seem like a simple task, there is a great chance for human error. If an employer enters the wrong data into the query, and in return receives a TNC or a mismatch, the employee is required to fix the problem, either in person or over the telephone with either the SSA or USCIS, to confirm their work authorization. This TNC or mismatch turns into a headache for the employee as well as the employer. Accordingly, there is a strong possibility that people that are legally authorized to work in the U.S. may be denied because of simple human data error.

Additionally, as with any Internet based computer programs, there is a possibility that the “system” could go down due to receiving too many queries at one time, or due to minor computer system glitches. However, the USCIS claims that E-Verify has the capacity to handle up to 60 million queries per year, and promises that it will continue to work to update the current pilot architecture to handle more queries if needed.

In addition, this program puts extra burdens on employers. Employers must have internet access in order to submit a query through E-Verify. Employers who do not already have existing Internet services must obtain them if they would like to enroll in E-Verify. Essentially, the employment eligibility program is a burden for those employers who wish to utilize E-Verify in the restaurant industry, retail stores, fast food chains, etc.

Furthermore, there have already been complaints of legally authorized workers receiving mismatches, or a TNC because a name change was not reported to the SSA, or because the employee had just been naturalized and the program had not been updated to reflect the recent change in status. At this time, the USCIS has reported that E-Verify does an automatic check of DHS naturalization records, and if no record is found, allows employees to call USCIS to correct their record rather than travel to a SSA office to contest the issue. Accordingly, there is still room for error.

Furthermore, employer participation in E-Verify does not provide a safe harbor from worksite enforcement, or more typically known as an ICE raid, conducted by the Immigration Customs Enforcement Team. However, an employer who verifies employment eligibility through E-Verify will have assumed to have not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien. Nevertheless, employers may still be given excessive fines if unauthorized workers are found during an ICE raid.

*E-Verify cannot be used for employees who do not yet have a Social Security Number (“SSN”) As an employer, you should not submit the query until you have obtained the employee’s SSN; however, you should complete all other necessary information on Form I-9.

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.

E-Verify – What is it?

June 24, 2008

E-Verify (formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is a free Internet based system that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. The verification program has existed for more than a decade, but is now being promoted by the Bush administration as a Homeland Security and Immigration control measure. The program is operated by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is the agency in DHS responsible for administering the program. USCIS promotes the program as an essential tool for employers committed to maintaining a legal workforce. The program is easily accessible through a user-friendly government Web site, which allows employers to verify employment eligibility in three (3) to five (5) seconds. The program essentially compares employee information taken from Form I-9 with more than 444 million records in the SSA database, and more than 60 million records in DHS immigration databases.

Essentially, once enrolled, an employer must initiate a query by entering key information from Form I-9 into the E-Verify database within three days of an employee starting work. The key information that must be entered includes: the employee’s name and date of birth, social security number, the citizenship status he or she attests to, and the type of document provided on Form I-9 to establish work authorization status. Additionally, the following would be entered in the initial query, if applicable: an A number or I-94 number, and proof of identity, and its expiration date. Once the information is entered into the query, the employer will submit the query and wait a few seconds for a response. Depending upon the response, the employee will continue to work for the employer, or they will contest a Tentative Non-confirmation (“TNC”) or mismatch with the appropriate federal agency within eight federal business days. If the program issues a final non-confirmation, the employee shall not be further employed.

E-Verify is an entirely voluntary program, as such the government may not mandate its use by the states, according to the tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, some Federal Government employers and violators of certain immigration laws may be ordered to participate.

Under E-Verify, Employees have Rights Too

Quick lists of Employee rights are available online at at the USCIS website and downloadable in eight different languages. Some of the key points are summarized below. Not only must employers post a notice informing employees of their use of E-Verify, they must also only use E-Verify after hire and after completion of the Form I-9, that way employees are protected from pre-screening discrimination practices. Additionally, if an employee receives an information mismatch, the employer must provide the employee with the necessary information to challenge the mismatch, including a written notice generated by E-Verify, and allow him/her eight federal government work days to contest the mismatch. Most importantly, the employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because he/she contests the mismatch; this includes firing, suspension, withholding pay or training, or otherwise infringing upon his/her employment.