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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. IER Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against CVS subsidiary

    By: Bruce Buchanan Law PLLC

    The Justice Department, through Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the OSC, has reached a settlement with Omnicare Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CVS Health Corporation, resolving the IER’s investigation into whether the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision.

    The investigation, which was initiated in response to a worker’s complaint, revealed Omnicare engaged in citizenship status discrimination against a work-authorized job applicant by refusing to refer him to the hiring manager for an interview because he was not a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, and removing him from the candidate pool based on his status as an asylee. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating against asylees because of their citizenship or immigration status, unless authorized by law to do so.

    Under the settlement agreement, Omnicare will pay $3,621, the maximum civil penalty for a single instance of citizenship status discrimination; post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision; have its staff and its contractors undergo department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; evaluate all employment applicants in a non-discriminatory manner; and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for two years.

    This settlement demonstrates the need for employers, big and small, to be aware of the law as it relates to citizenship status for asylees and other applicants. To learn more about employer immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379

    Updated 01-30-2018 at 12:00 PM by BBuchanan

  2. California AG Threatens Actions Against Businesses if Don’t Abide by State Law

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a press conference on January 18, 2018, wherein he warned California employers that businesses will face fines of up to $10,000 if they assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in potential workplace raids or other similar actions. Becerra’s warning was in response to fears of mass workplace raids due to ICE’s statement that it plans to target Northern California communities for deportations due in part to the state’s “sanctuary” law. Specifically, ICE’s acting director Thomas Homan has told Fox News that “California better hold on tight... If the politicians in California don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will.”

    Attorney General Becerra stated, “It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let employers know that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office.” Becerra was referring to the new state law called the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” which went into effect on January 1, 2018.

    As I previously discussed in my blog (see http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10179...udits-and-More), California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act requires the following:

    1. employers must notify their employees by written notice within 72 hours of Notice of Inspection (NOI) of I-9 records;
    2. employers must notify their employees, individually, of the results of the I-9 audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within 72 hours of receiving the results of the NOI;
    3. ICE agents are to provide a judicial warrant to employers to access non-public portions of worksites; and
    4. employers are prohibited from sharing confidential employee information, such as Social Security numbers, unless required to do so in a NOI or provided a judicial warrant.


    The law does not restrict ICE from providing a NOI to an employer demanding the employees’ I-9 forms within three days of service of the NOI and the employer being required to honor it.

    For a review of all employment and immigration-related state laws and 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.
  3. ICE Targeted 7-Eleven Stores for “Silent Raids”

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    As discussed in my prior blog entry (http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10245...-Service-Chain) that Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) would be targeting a national food service chain, ICE delivered Notice of Inspections (NOIs) (sometimes referred to as “silent raids”) at 98 7-Eleven stores nationwide on January 10, 2018 demanding to see the I-9 forms of all employees. Furthermore, ICE detained 21 employees.

    The 7-Eleven stores involved are in 17 states, including California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. 7-Eleven, Inc. issued a statement stating each of the stores is a franchise, who is “solely responsible for their employees, including who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States.” Furthermore, it stated that the franchise agreements of franchisees “convicted” of violating immigration laws, have been terminated.

    ICE referred to their recent actions as a “follow-up” of a 2013 investigation that resulted in the arrests and convictions of five franchise owners in New York and Virginia for harboring undocumented workers and wire fraud. Because of these convictions, it spawned the largest forfeiture in ICE history – forfeiture of franchise rights to 14 stores, forfeiture of five houses, valued at $1.3 million, and restitution of over $2.6 million for back wages stolen from employees. See my blog entry (http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?8272-...in-ICE-History) for October 6, 2014 for more details on the 2014 convictions.

    Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE, issued a statement – “Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”

    One of the unique aspects of the delivery of NOIs is the detention of 21 employees. In the Obama administration, which issued thousands of NOIs every year, ICE would not normally detain workers at the time of the NOI; rather, ICE would issue a Notice of Suspect Documents to the employer stating the named employees’ documentation did not demonstrate work authorization. Then the employer gave the employee an opportunity to provide “new” documentation. If employees were unable to provide valid documentation, the employer had to discharge the employees or face penalties. However, at no point in this process did ICE seek to detain undocumented workers.

    Homan had previously stated ICE was going to detain undocumented workers during NOIs and now we know how ICE is going to accomplish this. Unless ICE can establish that the employer was aware or should have been aware of the workers’ undocumented status, the employer will not face civil penalties or criminal penalties. In ICE’s previous actions toward 7-Eleven franchises, it established knowledge of undocumented status.

    After the indictments and convictions of the store owners in New York and Virginia in 2013 and 2014, 7-Eleven’s corporate office stated it would “take aggressive actions to audit the employment status of all of its franchisees’ employees.” However, 7-Elevens recent statement appears to try and wash their hands of any responsibility or liability for the franchisees’ actions.

    I will keep you abreast of future developments in the case. For a review of ICE’s civil and criminal actions against employers as well as other employer immigration compliance issues, 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.
  4. Business Owner Goes to Jail for Fraudulent H-1B Scheme

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    The owner of two employment staffing companies was sentenced in federal court to 52 months in prison and a $50,000 fine for engaging in a scheme to submit fraudulent H-1B petitions for foreign workers. Previously, Sunitha Guntipally had pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, obstruction of justice, use of false documents, mail fraud and witness tampering.

    Judge Lucy Koh stated the defendant’s conduct undermines respect for our legal immigration system and does tremendous damage to our institutions and affects the rights of others to immigrate to the United States.

    Guntipally and her husband, who own employment staffing companies DS Soft Tech and Equinett, and two co-conspirators submitted more than 100 fraudulent H-1B petitions to foreign workers to be placed at companies that either did not exist or never received the workers, according to federal prosecutors. The U.S. attorney’s office said the applications were intended to create a pool of H-1B beneficiaries who could then get hired by other companies, thereby unfairly giving Guntipally and her co-conspirators an advantage over other competing employment staffing firms.

    This case is another example of individuals being criminally liable for immigration law violations. For more information about immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which I co-authored and is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  5. Automatic Extension of EADs for Hondurans and Nicaraguans on TPS

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    As the Trump administration continues to gradually terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some countries, including Honduras and Nicaragua, it is important to remember the validity of employment authorization cards (EADs) is automatically extended for a period of time for individuals with TPS from Honduras and Nicaragua.

    If an employee from Honduras or Nicaragua has an EAD with an expiration date of January 5, 2018 and lists the category code "A-12" or "C-19," this EAD is automatically extended and the employee may continue to work without a new EAD (and without a receipt notice) through the end of the applicable automatic extension period. TPS Honduras EADs have been automatically extended through July 4, 2018. TPS Nicaragua EADs have been automatically extended through March 6, 2018.

    Additionally, the EADs of TPS beneficiaries from Nicaragua, who timely re-register (Form I-821) and file a request for a new EAD (Form I-765), will be automatically extended through July 4, 2018. The period for re-registration ends on February 13, 2018. If approved, the new EAD will terminate on January 5, 2019, the last day of TPS for Nicaraguans.

    The automatic extension of EADs for Hondurans and Nicaraguans is very important for employers because normally an employer needs to terminate an employee whose EAD expires and no further work authorization, such as a new EAD or permanent resident card, is provided. Thus, EADs obtained through TPS are an exception to the rule. If an employer terminates an employee because it believed their work authorization had expired when the EAD had been automatically extended, the employer may have violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). As subject, the employee may be subject to an investigation by the Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER) Section of the Department of Justice, which has authority to seek an employee’s reinstatement with back pay and a penalty paid to the U.S. government.

    If you want further information on immigration compliance issues, I recommend reading The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a new book that I co-authored, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
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