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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. JET of Saipan Distributes $40,000 in Back Pay to U.S. Workers Under IER Settlement

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department announced J.E.T. Holding Co. Inc. (JET) has paid $40,000 to nine U.S. citizens pursuant to a January 17, 2017 settlement with IER, which resolved claims that JET discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of temporary foreign visa workers.

    In its investigation leading up to the settlement, the IER found JET, which operates a restaurant in Saipan, routinely refused to hire qualified U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals for dishwasher positions because of their citizenship status; rather, it preferred to fill the positions with temporary foreign visa workers. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers cannot prefer to hire temporary foreign visa workers over available and qualified U.S. workers based on citizenship status. For more information on the settlement, see my prior blog entry at http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?9680-...-J-E-T-Holding.

    This settlement and back pay is another example of the IER and other immigration-related agencies striving to comply with President Trump’s Hire American Executive Order. For more information on Hire American EO, see http://hrprofessionalsmagazine.com/w...ecutive-order/, an article that I co-authored with Adam Cohen (@MDVisas).

    For more information on employer immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  2. ICE’s Inspection Costs Bakery 800 Employees in its Workforce

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    As I have discussing in this blog, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is ramping up it worksite enforcement activities. Recently, after ICE issued a Notice of Inspection (NOI) and Notice of Suspect Documents to an unnamed staffing company for Cloverhill Bakery of Chicago, Illinois, approximately 800 employees were terminated or quit due to being undocumented workers.

    Cloverhill Bakery, a part of the Swiss-based international company, Aryzta AG, lost about 35% of its workforce due to the staffing company’s employees being undocumented. As one can imagine, losing 35% of your workforce has made it difficult to meet production of products for its customers, fast-food chains and supermarkets.

    Although press reports referred to ICE’s action as a raid, it was not such; rather it was an inspection of the staffing company’s employees’ I-9 forms. The inspection of the I-9 forms is accomplished by the delivery of a NOI/subpoena by ICE agents.

    The NOI was issued earlier in 2017 and caused one of the largest groups of employees to lose their jobs due to lack of work authorization in 2017. Since the NOI occurred earlier this year, ICE did not take any actions to detain the 800 undocumented workers. Recently, ICE announced that it planned to detain undocumented workers found at employers’ facilities.

    If you are worried that your company is going to be the next ICE target, I recommend you get prepared now. The best way is to have an immigration attorney, well-versed in I-9 forms and worksite enforcement, conduct an internal I-9 audit. Alternatively, if you want to get a better understanding of immigration compliance for employers, I recommend you read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  3. What is Unfair Documentary Practices?

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    In yesterday’s blog, http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10251...ocessing-Plant, I discussed Washington Potato Company reaching a settlement agreement with the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department related to its unfair documentary practices of requesting work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present specific documents to confirm their status, while not subjecting U.S. citizens to such requests.

    In today’s blog, I will discuss more about unfair documentary practices. Unfair documentary practices was formerly referred to as document abuse. It refers to discriminatory practices related to the verification of employment eligibility in the Form I-9 process. Employers that treat individuals differently based on national origin or citizenship commit unfair documentary practices when they engage in one of four types of activity: 1) Improperly requesting that employees produce more documentation than is required to show identity and employment authorization; 2) Improperly asking employees to produce a particular document to show identity or employment eligibility; 3) Improperly rejecting documents that appear to be genuine and be-longing to the employee; and 4) Improperly treating groups of applicants differently (for example, based on looking or sounding foreign) when they complete Forms I-9.

    The following are examples of prohibited practices when they are based on an employee’s “national origin’ or “citizenship or immigration status”:


    • Setting different employment eligibility verification standards or requiring different documents based on national origin or citizen-ship status;
    • Requesting to see employment eligibility verification documents before hire and completing the Form I-9 because an employee appears foreign or the employee indicates that he or she is not a U.S. citizen;
    • Refusing to accept a document or to hire an individual because an acceptable document has a future expiration date;
    • Limiting jobs to U.S. citizens, unless a job is limited to citizens by law or regulation;
    • Asking to see a document with an employee’s “Alien” or “Admission number” when completing Section 1 of Form I-9; and
    • Asking a lawful permanent resident to re-verify employment eligibility because the person’s green card has expired.


    For more information on avoiding unfair documentary practices and many other issues related to employer immigration compliance, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  4. IER Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim for $100,00 Against Vegetable Processing Plant

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department has reached a settlement agreement with Washington Potato Company of Pasco, Washington, which will cost the employer $100,000. The agreement resolves the IER’s investigation into whether Washington Potato discriminated against work-authorized immigrants in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    The investigation revealed that Washington Potato routinely requested work-authorized non-U.S. citizens present specific documents to confirm their status, such as Permanent Resident Cards or Employment Authorization Documents while verifying their authorization to work at the plant. However, they did not subject U.S. citizens to such requests. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to different or unnecessary documentary demands based on the employees’ citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. This is commonly referred to as document abuse or unfair documentary practices.

    This is the second settlement agreement in 2017 between the IER and Washington Potato as a May 2017 settlement resolved similar discriminatory conduct by Washington Potato at another facility in Pasco, Washington. See blog entry of May 22, 2017 - Fruit and Vegetable Processor Agrees to Pay $225,000 to Settle Discrimination Lawsuit. http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?9904-...nation-Lawsuit.

    Under the settlement, Washington Potato will pay a civil penalty of $100,000 to the United States, train its staff by viewing an IER webinar presentation and USCIS webinar on E-Verify for Existing Users, review and revise any existing employment policies that relate to the employment eligibility verification process so that they prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for 30 months.

    The allegation of having different standards for U.S. citizens than non-U.S. citizens is a fairly common error by employers. However, with training by an immigration attorney, well-versed in employer compliance, these errors can easily be avoided. For more information on this issue and many others related to employer immigration compliance, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  5. ICE Planning Worksite Enforcement Operation against National Food Service Chain

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning to conduct a major worksite enforcement operation against an unknown national food service chain in the next few weeks, according to an internal ICE document reviewed by Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast.

    It is unknown whether this action will be a raid or other type of ICE operation. If it is a raid, it will be a sign that the Trump Administration is returning to raids on employers. The last major raid occurred at Howard Industries in Laurel, Mississippi in August 2008. After the Laurel raid at the end of President George W. Bush’s term, ICE stopped conducting raids, presumably due to the high cost and the difficulty in conducting a surprise raid.

    According to an anonymous ICE official (he was not permitted to discuss impending operations on the record) that The Daily Beast spoke to, the current plan is focused on employers across the nation, who are “harboring illegal aliens,” by illegally paying below the minimum wage.

    ICE’s planned action is not unexpected given the Trump Administration’s increased enforcement of other aspects of immigration enforcement. Recently, Tom Homan, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to increase "by four to five times" worksite enforcement actions in 2018. Homan also stated, "We've already increased the number of inspections in worksite operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year."

    Additionally, in marked contrast to previous administrations’ worksite enforcement operations, Homan said "We're going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers" as “that is our job.” Furthermore, Homan stated ICE is going to strongly prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrant workers, in addition to deporting their undocumented workers. The anonymous ICE official said undocumented workers who cooperate with the agency could potentially be eligible for U visas, which provides non-immigrant visas to remain in the United States to victims of crimes, who cooperate in an investigation and testify at a trial, if necessary, against their employers.

    Even if this major raid occurs, is this just as a show of force on this occasion for the sake of publicity or a full swing back to numerous ICE raids on employers? Only time will tell.

    For a review of ICE’s criminal actions against employers as well as other employer immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
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