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  1. Pennsylvania Jumping on the Immigration Enforcement Bandwagon

    by , 10-05-2011 at 08:04 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Looks like Pennsylvania is jumping on the immigration enforcement bandwagon.  A Bill entitled the Professional Licensees Illegal Employment Act, covering anyone in the State of Pennsylvania that is licensed by the Bureau of Occupational and Professional Affairs, proposes to revoke the professional license of anyone that hires undocumented workers, including first time violators.
    A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, has predicted that the proposed legislation will "set up a state-level immigration enforcement scheme. "
    Move over Alabama and Arizona.  Here comes Pennsylvania.
    Click here for more.
  2. I-9 Audit Tips - What you need to know From the Perspective of a Former ICE Agent

    I-9 Audits is always a hot topic. Chief of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, recently announced that the agency is going to increase the number of companies it will audit for I-9 violations and regularly impose fines on violators.
    I-9 violations can be devastating. Fines for I-9 violations range from $110 to $1,100 for one single, minor, or technical violation. Incorrect I-9 forms can be used as evidence of knowingly hiring an illegal alien that can result in a fine of up to $3,200 per violation. A third offense can lead to a fine of up to $16,000 per offense.
    In this guest article, former ICE Agent Mark Kochanski shares his experience and unique perspective with our readers about I-9 Audits.

    As a former ICE agent who was assigned to a Worksite Enforcement Unit, I have first-hand knowledge of what may keep employers from being administratively fined for paperwork violations or prosecuted for illegal hiring. The first thing all employers should be aware of is that Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) audits have been used for many years to ensure employer compliance with the law. Priorities may change from administration to administration, but the I-9 audit will remain an important tool for the government to ensure compliance. Don't be the unfortunate business featured on a news story with pictures of federal agents leading you or your employees away from your place of business in handcuffs.
    This can happen as a result of poor administrative practices. That is not the way to gain publicity for your company. Have a plan in place, so when you are served with a subpoena for your I-9s you can be confident in the result. Here are a few easy ways to avoid unnecessary hassle:
    If the business maintains the paper I-9, store the forms in a clean, secure place that is easily accessible. I can remember one employer who had the I-9s stored in cardboard boxes on the floor in a storage locker and when there was a bathroom plumbing problem the I-9s were damaged. A real mess.
    The Form I-9 comes in versions of English and Spanish. The ONLY place employers may use the Spanish version is in Puerto Rico. If you're not in Puerto Rico, don't be tempted to use the Spanish version because it's easier for the employee to complete without a translator.
    Remember that the Form I-9 is not the property of the employer. That form belongs to the government. The government created it. So when an agent asks for them don't argue about it. Don't complain about it by asking the agent, "why me?". Many of the audits conducted are mandated by DHS headquarters with certain business sectors being chosen depending on priorities. It's a numbers game. The agents are just doing what they are told.
    The employer has 3 business days to turn over the I-9s. During that time, you can make corrections to the forms, if needed. This may make the difference in an administrative fine or a slap on the wrist. But please have the corrections made accurately and completely by someone who knows what to do. Don't make matters worse by re-doing I-9s and then destroying the old ones. This actually happened in another case. Know the guidelines. There is no need to panic because many errors are technical and can be corrected if detected in a timely manner.
    I would recommend that employers make copies of the I-9s to retain in the personnel files, just in case something happens to the original or there is a question about information provided on the original. The agent will usually provide a receipt (Form 6051) for the I-9s when delivered.
    Agents may want to question business personnel regarding hiring practices and procedures. Don't make any statement that would reveal any improper business practice. Ensure policies are in place so that anyone who is questioned provides a correct, consistent answer regarding hiring procedures, especially if questioned about who actually hires, who examines employment documents, who completes the I-9s and how the I-9s are maintained. If there are discrepancies, don't blame previous human resources personnel for errors. It's your business and your responsibility. Be proactive. Save your hard earned profits for the business not for the government.

    This last point is something I came across that I think is important but often overlooked. All employees are required to complete the I-9, that's the law. That includes the company president. If you are the president or CEO, you can't examine your own documents and then attest to their authenticity. That reflects badly on the company and will send up a red flag to the agent conducting the audit and may cause the agent to focus on the company with extra vigor. Enough said.

    Employers need to take compliance seriously because there are multiple errors that an auditor could uncover that would result in a fine. You need to learn how to prepare for an I-9 audit before your organization is next on ICE's hit list. Employers should take the necessary steps to ensure that they are not susceptible to the steep civil and criminal penalties associated with poor management of I-9's. For more information about our I-9 unique internal audits and Immigration compliance services, click here to connect with us.
  3. GENERATIONS HEALTHCARE SUED BY DOJ

    by , 10-04-2011 at 06:39 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
    The US Department of Justice filed suit against Generations Healthcare, a Skilled Nursing Facility, on Friday September 30, 2011. The lawsuit alleges that Generations Healthcare engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary documentary requirements on job applicants.
    The DOJ's press release says that its investigation uncovered evidence that Generations Healthcare required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens and naturalized U.S. citizens at its St. Francis Pavilion facility to present specific and extra work authorization documents beyond those required by federal law to prove their status. These documents were not required of native-born UScitizens.
    MU Law clients and friends are reminded that US employers have to comply with the Form I-9 when hiring new employees. The Form I-9 identifies a variety of documents that may be used by job applications to prove valid work authorization and identity; it does not mandate that any specific document must be used.
    Read the full Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com or www.ilw.com.
  4. CRS Report: Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States

    by , 10-04-2011 at 05:34 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Ruth Ellen Wasem of Congressional Research Services has released a report entitled: "Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986."
    Here is the summary of the report:
    Estimates derived from the March Supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that the unauthorized resident alien population (commonly referred to as illegal aliens) rose from 3.2 million in 1986 to 11.2 million in 2010. Jeffrey Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Research Center, has been involved in making these estimations since he worked at the U.S. Bureau of the Census in the 1980s. The estimated number of unauthorized aliens had dropped to 1.9 million in 1988 following passage of a 1986 law that legalized several million unauthorized aliens. The estimates of unauthorized aliens peaked at an estimated 12.4 million in 2007. About 39% of unauthorized alien residents in 2010 were estimated to have entered the United States in 2000 or later. 
    Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) reported an estimated 10.8 million unauthorized alien residents as of January 2010, up from 8.5 million in January 2000. The OIS estimated that 6.6 million of the unauthorized alien residents were from Mexico, an estimate comparable to Passel and D'Vera Cohn's calculation of 6.5 million. The OIS based its estimates on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The OIS estimated that the unauthorized resident alien population in the United States increased by 37% over the period 2000 to 2008, then leveled off in 2009 and 2010.  
    Research suggests that various factors have contributed to the ebb and flow of unauthorized resident aliens, and that the increase is often attributed to the "push-pull" of prosperity-fueled job opportunities in the United States in contrast to limited or nonexistent job opportunities in the sending countries. Accordingly, the economic recession that began in December 2007 may have curbed the migration of unauthorized aliens, particularly because sectors that traditionally rely on unauthorized aliens, such as construction, services, and hospitality, have been especially hard hit.  
    Some researchers also suggest that the increased size of the unauthorized resident population during the late 1990s and early 2000s is an inadvertent consequence of border enforcement and immigration control policies. They posit that strengthened border security has curbed the fluid movement of seasonal workers. This interpretation, generally referred to as a caging effect, argues that these policies have raised the stakes in crossing the border illegally and created an incentive for those who succeed in entering the United States to stay. 
    The current system of legal immigration is cited as another factor contributing to unauthorized alien residents. The statutory ceilings that limit the type and number of immigrant visas issued each year create long waits for visas. According to this interpretation, many foreign nationals who would prefer to come to the United States legally resort to illegal avenues in frustration over the delays. It is difficult, however, to demonstrate a causal link or to guarantee that increased levels of legal migration would absorb the current flow of unauthorized migrants. Furthermore, some researchers speculate that the doubling in deportations since 2001 might also have had a chilling effect on family members weighing unauthorized residence in recent years. 
    Some observers point to more elusive factors when assessing the ebb and flow of unauthorized resident aliens--such as shifts in immigration enforcement priorities away from illegal entry to removing suspected terrorists and criminal aliens, or discussions of possible "amnesty" legislation. This report does not track legislation and will be updated as needed.
    Click here to read the full report.

  5. Obama to Make Dream Act a Wedge Issue

    by , 10-03-2011 at 01:46 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Three years ago, President Obama took advantage of John McCain's shift to the right on immigration issues (a response to the growing voice of the right flank of the Republican Party). Obama appealed to Latino voters with his embrace of immigration reform proposals and a promise to deal with immigration reform in his first year in office.

    I don't need to rehash what happened, but, of course, we did not see the promised immigration reform push and only more recently have seen the White House engage on immigration issues. Plus, we've seen tougher immigration enforcement from this President than any of his recent predecessors.
    Now the President is coming back with the same strategy. Many would argue that given what has happened, the President's strategy should not work. After all, after three years, virtually no progress has been made. But the GOP field of candidates is doing everything it can to deliver pro-immigration voters on a silver platter to the President. Right now, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman are the only two relatively moderate candidates on immigration and both have been trying to backtrack on long-stated positions. So while the President can in no way campaign on having made progress on the immigration issue, he's going to try and make it a choice between the lesser of two evils.
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