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  1. Letters of the Week: Jul 15 - Jul 19

    Please email your letters to or post them directly as a comment below.
  2. Employer Fined over $15,000 for Failure to Timely Prepare I-9 Forms; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    How much is your company willing to pay Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) issued a decision, United States v. Anodizing Industries, Inc., wherein the fines sought by ICE were over $25,000 and ultimately reduced to $15,600.
    Anodizing Industries is a small business, 26 employees, which operates a metal-finishing factory in Los Angeles, California. After ICE issued a Notice of Inspection (NOI) on July 30, 2010, Anodizing Industries provided their employees' I-9 forms. Unfortunately for Anodizing Industries, many of the I-9 forms presentedwere dated August 12, 2010 in Section 2 -a full 13 days after the NOI was served, and months or years after some of the employees were hired. Furthermore, at least 11 of the I-9 forms were undated by the employee.  Anodizing Industries argued these were technical, not substantive, errors for which the "good faith" defense should apply so that it should be given 10 days to correct the deficiencies.
    OCAHO disagreed with Anodizing Industries' argument. The case law is clear that "failure to prepare an I-9 in a timely fashion... is not only a substantive violation but also a serious one, because an employee could potentially be unauthorized for employment during the entire time his or her eligibility remains unverified," citing previous OCAHO decisions. Furthermore, OCAHO stated "the longer an employer delays in preparing an I-9 form, the more serious is the violation." OCAHO pointed to former employees' I-9 forms, which were not completed for between two and five years. At least one I-9 form was not completed until 22 years after the fact.
    OCAHO sought a baseline penalty of $935 and aggravated the penalties by 5%, apparently based upon the seriousness of the violations and the presence of unauthorized workers, but mitigated by 5% for the small size of the employer. Despite the seriousness of the violations, OCAHO in its discretion found the penalties should be adjusted to the "upper mid-range" and assessed at $600 per violation for a total of $15,600.
    The lesson learned here is prepare an I-9 form immediately at the time of hire and if you realized you forgot to do so, then do so as soon as possible. The longer you wait the worse.
  3. NY Times Douthat: The Republicans No Win Situation

    by , 07-14-2013 at 08:42 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Ross Douthat has a great piece in today's Times that explains that there are multiple camps within the GOP that all care about different things when it comes to immigration. And no matter which option is chosen on immigration - embrace the Senate approach, go with reform-lite, do nothing, or just push enforcement - they lose.
  4. Brooks: Killing Immigration Bill Would be a "Tragedy" and "Political Suicide" for GOP

    by , 07-12-2013 at 08:38 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Meant to post to this earlier today, but if you have not already seen it, read David Brooks' excellent op-ed piece in this morning's NY Times. Brooks makes the case that Republicans are betraying their own principles when they oppose reform.

    He also does a good job explaining what many in the GOP fail to get - that even if the House can get to passage of a bill, they've seriously damaged their brand with immigrant communities and they've got years of work ahead of them repairing it:

    The final conservative point of opposition is a political one. Republicans should not try to win back lower-middle-class voters with immigration reform; they should do it with a working-class agenda.

    This argument would be slightly plausible if Republicans had even a hint of such an agenda, but they don’t. Even then it would fail. Before Asians, Hispanics and all the other groups can be won with economic plans, they need to feel respected and understood by the G.O.P. They need to feel that Republicans respect their ethnic and cultural identity. If Republicans reject immigration reform, that will be a giant sign of disrespect, and nothing else Republicans say will even be heard.

    Whether this bill passes or not, this country is heading toward a multiethnic future. Republicans can either shape that future in a conservative direction or, as I’ve tried to argue, they can become the receding roar of a white America that is never coming back.

    That’s what’s at stake.
  5. Napolitano Resigning

    by , 07-12-2013 at 11:55 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Surprising news this morning. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, one of the longest serving members of the President's Cabinet, announced this morning that she is resigning as of early September to accept a position as the head of the University of California system. No word yet on replacements. Conceivably, this could make it a little easier to negotiate an immigration reform bill as Secretary Napolitano has - unfairly in my view - been labeled as soft on immigration enforcement and has been the frequent target of criticism from Republicans.

    Updated 07-12-2013 at 12:00 PM by GSiskind

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