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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. Texas Company and its Manager Guilty of Harboring and Transporting Undocumented Workers; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    GPX/GXP USA (GPX), a  seismic surveying company based in Sealy, Texas, recently pleaded guilty to harboring and  transporting illegal aliens in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania.  GPX has  agreed to forfeit $250,000 cash and pay a $25,000 fine.
    The field operations supervisor also pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of aiding the  improper entry of undocumented workers into the U.S. He faces six months in prison and a  $5,000 fine.
    The investigation by Immigration & Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations  (HSI), with assistance  from the FBI and Williamsport Police, revealed that in May 2011,  GPX and its manager hired 19 undocumented workers to work on a seismic surveying project in  Lycoming County, Pennsylvania without verifying the immigration status of the workers or preparing the required  Form I-9 concerning the workers' authorization to work in the U.S.
    Thereafter, GPX falsely executed a contractor  compliance agreement certifying that all individuals were authorized to work  legally in the U.S.
  2. Immigration Compliance Provisions in Immigration Reform Bill; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    There are a number of immigration compliance provisions for employers in the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, called "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act" (the Act).
    A major component in the Act for employers is that all employers would be required to utilize E-Verify. Immediately, federal agencies and federal contractors would be required to utilize E-Verify. After one year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may require "employers responsible for protecting, securing, operating, part of the critical infrastructure" to use E-Verify. Applicable employers would be required to use E-Verify according to the following, after passage of the Act and publication of applicable regulations: (a) 2 years - employers with 5000+ employees; (b) 3 years - employers with more than 500 workers; (c) 4 years - agricultural employers and all other employers; and (d) 5 years - Indian tribes. 
    The amended version of the Act makes it clear that if E-Verify is currently required in one's state(s) where it conducts business, an employer must continue to comply with the state law even if the federal provisions for E-Verify have not gone in effect.
    Another important aspect of this legislation for employers is that if an employee received  "registered provisional immigration (RPI) status", which would provide for lawful employment status, an employer would not be considered to have previously employed an undocumented worker in violation of IRCA. 
    As the bill makes it through the House and Senate, you can probably expect some of these provisions to be amended.
  3. OSC Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Property Management Company; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    The Office of Special for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), a part of the Department of Justice reached an agreement with Milestone Management Company, a residential property management firm headquartered in Dallas, resolving claims that the staffing company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
    A lawful permanent resident alleged that after working for Milestone for three years, the company improperly demanded he produce an unexpired lawful permanent resident card, despite the fact that  he had presented proper work authorization documentation at the time of hire.   The company discharged the worker when he was unable to present the document.   The investigation revealed that Milestone had also improperly reverified the documentation of other lawful permanent residents when their documentation expired and it did not reverify expired documentation of U.S. citizens. The anti-discrimination provision generally prohibits treating employees differently in the employment eligibility verification and reverification processes based on citizenship or national origin unless required by law.
    In resolution of the matter, Milestone immediately reinstated the charging party and provided full backpay for his six weeks of lost wages.  Under the terms of the agreement, Milestone agreed to pay $20,000 in civil penalties to the United States, undergo Justice Department training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of three years.    The case settled prior to the Department of Justice  filing a complaint in this matter.
  4. USCIS Clarifies new Form I-9 must be Used by May 7, 2013; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) published a
    notice in the Federal Register announcing the new Form I-9, stating that
    employers can no longer use prior versions of Form I-9 effective May 7, 2013.
    However, in the Supplementary Information section of the notice, USCIS

    incorrectly described the effective date as being after May 7, 2013. USCIS has

    corrected this error and clarified that employers may no longer use prior
    versions of the Form I-9 beginning May 7, 2013.
  5. Office of Special Counsel Settles with Georgia Company over Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    The Office of Special
    Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices, within the Department
    of Justice, has reached an agreement with Poulan Pecan, located in Poulan,
    Georgia, resolving allegations that the company violated the
    anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
    An investigation of Poulan
    Pecan was initiated in 2012, based on a claim by an individual who called a
    department hotline and complained that the pecan-producing company requested
    specific documentation from her to establish her work authorization. The investigation
    concluded Poulan Pecan discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens
    by requiring specific and more documents than necessary from them when
    completing the Form I-9, while not imposing similar requirements of U.S.
    citizens.
    Under the terms of the
    agreement, Poulan Pecan will pay $500 in civil penalties and be subject to
    monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of
    one year. 
    This is just another example of what occurs when a company requires more documentation for non U.S. citizens than U.S. citizens.
     
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