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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. Employers Beware – EADs for Hondurans on TPS have been Automatically Extended

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



    USCIS has automatically extended, through January 1, 2019, the validity of employment authorization cards for individuals with Temporary Protected Status from Honduras.

    If your employee has an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766, often referred to as an “EAD”) with an original expiration date of July 5, 2018 and containing the category code “A-12” or “C-19,” this EAD is automatically extended and the employee may continue to work without a new one (and without a receipt notice) through the end of the automatic extension period, January 1, 2019.

    This automatic extension also covers individuals whose EADs contain the category code “A-12” or “C-19” and a January 5, 2018 expiration date, if those individuals applied for a new EAD during the last re-registration period and have not yet received their new EADs. These individuals may show their EAD indicating a January 5, 2018 expiration date and their EAD application receipt (Notice of Action, Form I-797C) that notes the application was received on or after December 15, 2017, as proof of continued employment authorization through January 1, 2019.

    If this situation occurs for a current employee, in Section 1 of their I-9 form, the employee should:

    • Cross out the “employment authorized until” date in Section 1;

    • Write the date that is 180 days from the date their current EAD expires; and

    • Initial and date the change.

    If you want to know more information on employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  2. The Quiet Before the Storm? A Review of 2017 OCAHO I-9 Penalty Decisions

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law




    Today, I am re-publishing my annual review of OCAHO decisions, which was originally published by LawLogix on May 17, 2018.

    The Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) was incredibly quiet in calendar year 2017 issuing only 5 substantive decisions against employers in I-9 penalty cases. This was a sudden change from 2016 when there were 16 substantive decisions against employers in I-9 penalty cases. Why the drastic reduction? Did employers stop committing I-9 violations? Did employers stop appealing decisions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? As recent news clearly illustrates, the answer to both questions is a resounding no.

    The real reason for the reduction in cases is actually much simpler and less provocative: turnover of Administrative Law Judges at OCAHO…..

    [I]t’s still worthwhile to review the substantive cases that were issued in 2017, in the hopes that employers can benefit in the future (when cases are once again likely to increase).

    For remainder of article go to https://www.lawlogix.com/the-quiet-b...lty-decisions/.

    If you want to know more information on employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.

    Updated 06-11-2018 at 02:57 PM by BBuchanan

  3. ICE Raids are Back: ICE Raids Ohio Flower and Garden Center

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC



    If there was any feeling that the Bean Station raid was isolated and motivated by the IRS, those feelings are gone with this week’s raids by ICE of Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky, Ohio and Castalia, Ohio. This is the second ICE raid in two months with the earlier one occurring at a meat slaughterhouse in Bean Station, Tennessee.

    On Tuesday, June 5, approximately 200 ICE agents swarmed these two plant nurseries and detained approximately 114 workers suspected of being in the country without proper work authorization. The workers were taken to various detention facilities in Michigan and Ohio, where they are expected to be placed into deportation proceedings and many are expected to be criminally charged with identity theft and tax evasion.

    An unknown number of detainees were released for a variety of humanitarian reasons, "including health, or primary care for a minor child", according to ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls.

    One interesting twist is before ICE agents entered the Sandusky facility, an undercover officer entered the store with three boxes of donuts. After a mass of employees gathered for the donuts, ICE agents entered the store.

    So, what happened to Corso’s? Company officials were not arrested during the raids. However, ICE agents, who had a criminal search warrant, carried boxes full of “documentary evidence,” out of Corso’s, according to Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Ohio. Francis also stated, “We are attempting to identify what criminal network brought over 100 illegal aliens to Ohio to work.”

    This raid was unlike the previous raid in Bean Station because ICE initially served Notices of Inspection weeks ago and had been auditing the 313 I-9 forms supplied by Corso’s. Before the service of the Notices of Inspection, ICE had been receiving tips into Corso’s Flower and Garden Center and began an investigation in October 2017. A triggering event was the arrest and indictment of Martha Buendia-Chavarria, who was charged with operating a document mill.

    During the ICE audit, according to ICE, they found 123 I-9 forms which were suspicious due to use of duplicate Social Security numbers and identification belonging to other people. Presumably, these identification documents were produced by Ms. Buendia-Chavarria. Thus, when the ICE agents raided the facilities, they had a list of names they had targeted for detention.

    According to a local Latino advocacy group, dozens of the workers’ children were left stranded at day-care centers and with babysitters because their parents had been detained.

    Amazingly, Corso’s business was back up and running Tuesday afternoon. According to its website, the family-owned business includes a greenhouse, flower shop, garden center, landscape department and a wholesale perennial plant division where more than two million plants are grown to supply a seven-state area.

    After these raids, it is clear that employer raids will be a frequent tool of ICE. Every employer should be vigilant in their immigration compliance. I would advise employers to meet with their immigration counsel, or obtain immigration counsel, to conduct an internal I-9 audit and draft or review an immigration compliance policy.

    If you want to know more information on employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  4. DOL Cites Another Win for Trump’s Hire American Executive Order

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law


    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has debarred Christopher Lee Smith, owner of Christopher Lee Smith Farms in Glasgow, Kentucky, from applying for certification to request temporary foreign workers under the H-2A agricultural worker visa program for three years. WHD also assessed the employer a $35,755 civil penalty for violating the labor provisions of the H-2A program and found Smith owed $58,820 in back wages to 14 employees.

    The DOL investigation found Smith violated the requirements of the H-2A visa program by failing to reimburse foreign workers for their transportation expenses to and from their home countries, as the law requires; failing to reimburse employees for expenses related to obtaining their visas; failing to keep required time and pay records; failing to pay employees their wages when due; and failing to pay the required minimum wage to H-2A visa workers, as required by law.

    And in a continuing trend with each resolution of an immigration-related case by a federal agency, the DOL pointed to safeguarding American jobs pursuant to Trump’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order. Specifically, Karen Garnett, Wage and Hour Division District Director in Louisville, said “This case demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and protect vulnerable workers from being paid less than they are legally owed.”

    The H-2A temporary agricultural program establishes a means for agricultural employers, who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers, to bring non-immigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

  5. Company sues Competitor for Employing Undocumented Workers

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law


    American Elite Molding LLC (AEM), a manufacturer based in Crestview, Florida, is suing a competitor, Advanced Cable Ties Inc. (ACT), for employing undocumented workers, through Twin City Temporaries, Inc., at a Gardner, Massachusetts, plant.

    The lawsuit, filed in Okaloosa County Circuit Court, Florida, is seeking unspecified monetary damages stemming from ACT's alleged use of workers who are not eligible to work in the United States. It specifically states the company has lost contracts and had to lower its prices as a result of ACT's alleged labor practices. AEM categorizes these actions by ACT as unfair competition.

    AEM CEO Bob Sires said about 60 percent of ACT's labor force - almost all the night workers and some of the day workers are undocumented workers supplied by Twin City Temporaries, which is based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He further claims Twin City Temporaries brings in workers from Vietnam and other countries and pays them under the table to avoid taxes and payroll costs.

    Sires said Twin City Temporaries approached him a year to a year-and-a-half ago and proposed a similar arrangement with AEM, claiming it could help cut labor costs. AEM rejected this arrangement. Sires claims after this, he realized AEM started losing a couple of clients' accounts to ACT, after ACT began using Twin City Temporaries.

    "ACT misleads the relevant marketplace by disingenuously attempting to convey a wholesome image of its workforce where, in reality ... over sixty percent of ACT's workforce is ineligible to work in the United States," the lawsuit says. The lawsuit also claims that AEM hires only legal workers and pays them in accordance with applicable labor laws.

    This lawsuit is extremely unusual and is a new twist on what employers, which employ undocumented workers, must fear. I wonder if Immigration & Customs Enforcement reads the newspaper and serves a Notice of Inspection on ACT. I will keep you informed on this lawsuit.

    For answers to many other questions related to immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
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