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  1. PERM: FAQ on Timely Responses

    by , 02-13-2012 at 08:25 AM (Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification)
    The DOL issued an FAQ entitled, "What should an employer do if it is unable to provide documentation in response to a decision or a request for information in a timely manner, i.e., prior to an established deadline, particularly in extenuating circumstances where the deadline is immediate?"
    In this situation, the employer should request an extension in writing. The CO may grant an extension where the employer provides a legitimate reason for the request. For many years, prior to PERM, D÷L played a cat and mouse game with Employers, often maintaining that extensions would not be permitted, but as a matter of Due Process, extensions must sometimes be granted, especially when failure to grant due to extenuating circumstances woud be an abuse of discretion.
    The FAQ indicates that a request for extension may be e-mailed to plc.Atlanta@dol.gov or mailed by post or courier to "Department of Labor, ATTN: Request for Extension, Employment and Training Administration, Atlanta National Processing Center, Harris Tower, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 410, Atlanta, Georgia 30303."
    As a practical matter, one may both e-mail the request and send send it by certified mail, return receipt requested, to maintain documentation in the Employer's record file.
    Naturally, Employers should "clearly reference the application number and type of documentation (e.g. audit request, business existence check) and provide as much detail as possible regarding the application in question, including the employer's name and foreign worker's name."
    The FAQ states that a request may even be filed late in rare circumstances such as "when conditions due to extreme weather preclude the employer from timely submitting documents to the Atlanta NPC."
    An interesting fact is that the FAQ states that in case of responses to appeals, audits and request for information, the timeliness of the employer's response is based on the date it is mailed (and postmarked) and not the date it is received by the Atlanta NPC. Therefore, if the employer's documentation already has been "submitted by mail and postmarked on or before the established deadline, an extension request is not necessary."
    Despite this generous interpretation, it is recommended that applications always be returned and delivered to DOL within the time period and not just postmarked on the due date, as any misunderstanding or problem regarding the due date may be decided against the Employer or may require a lengthy and complex appeaal process.
    As a point of reference, prior to PERM, responses to the SWAs had to be received by them no later than the 45th day (although some SWA's allowed postmarked responses on the 45th day) and responses to Notices of Findings and appeal notices had to be sent no later than the 35th day by certified mail, return receipt requested.
    The PERM rule has a 30 day limit to respond to audits and denials, where reconsideration or review (appeal) may be requested, owever, prudent employers should alwaysl be sure their responses are received on the 30th day, leaving last day responses only in case of dire emergencies.
  2. Letters of the Week: Feb 13 - Feb 17

    Please email your letters to editor@ilw.com or post them directly as "Comment" below.
  3. Asylum for the Pakistani Doctor Who Helped Get Osama Bin Laden?

    By now, the story of Shakil Afridi is well known.* The Pakistani doctor ran a vaccination program in Pakistan that served as cover for his real mission-to help the CIA track down Osama Bin Laden.* According to Leon Panetta, the former head of the CIA (and current Secretary of Defense), Dr. Afridi's contribution was crucial to finding Bin Laden and terminating him with extreme prejudice.

    The CIA Vaccine Program: We have ways of making you talk!

    As a reward for helping rid the world of its number one terrorist, the government of Pakistan arrested Dr. Afridi and charged him with high treason, a crime punishable by death. Pakistan has also arrested Dr. Afridi's wife for good measure.
    I suppose from Pakistan's point of view, Dr. Afridi should have informed the Pakistani government, not the U.S. government, about Mr. Bin Laden.* But I also suppose that-had he done so-Mr. Bin Laden would still be alive and well today.
    So far, Pakistan has refused U.S. demands to release the good doctor, and now Congress is getting into the act.* A bill sponsored by Dana Rohrabacher, the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight, calls for granting citizenship to Dr. Afridi.* Congressman Rohrabacher states:
    My bill would grant [Dr. Afridi] US citizenship and send a direct and powerful message to those in the Pakistani government and military who protected the mastermind of 9/11 for all those years and who are now seeking retribution on those who helped to execute bin Laden....* This bill shows the world that America does not abandon its friends.
    There are a few too many assumptions in the Congressman's condemnation of Pakistan for my taste, but I agree with the general sentiment.* It is outrageous that our supposed ally would treat Dr. Afridi (and his wife) in this manner.* While Pakistan's pride might have been hurt by our Abbottabad Operation, the fact is, Osama Bin Laden was living right under their noses and they did nothing about it.* Rather than lash out at the man who helped find Osama Bin Laden, they would do better to look inward and examine the shocking intelligence failure that allowed Mr. Bin Laden to live for years practically next door to Pakistan's top military academy.
    Whether the efforts of the State Department and Congress bear fruit, we shall see.* But certainly we should not abandoned the man who helped us eliminate Mr. Bin Laden.
    As a side note, there are many other foreign nationals who have helped us in our fight against terrorism, often at great personal risk.* So far, we have not done right by most of them (I've written about this here).* We should not abandoned these people either.
    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
  4. Bloggings: The Future of Immigration: Romney and the "Billionaires United" decision, by Roger Algase

    No one has been more critical of the hypocrisy, cowardice and opportunism of the Obama administration on immigration policy than this writer. But, under this administration, there has at least been recognition that immigration reform is needed, and there have also been some tentative steps in the right direction, notably in the area of prosecutorial discretion and in attempts to oppose abusive state usurpations of federal authority over immigration through court action.
    Therefore, while focusing on the shortcomings of this administration, it is important not to lose sight of the Republican alternative. While there may be some superficial variations among the Republican presidential candidates, all of them are committed to the "enforcement only" policy which their party has been supporting ever since 1996, when the Republicans rammed IIRIRA through Congress in the middle of the night without debate and attached it to a "must pass" military appropriations bill just before that year's presidential election.
    "Enforcement only" is nothing but a political strategy of appealing to white working class voters by attacking Hispanics and other minorities. No serious observer can possibly believe that these attacks are limited to targeting immigrants only. The push for "English only" laws in many states, Arizona's ban against teaching Latino studies in schools, proposals to change the Constitution to restrict birthright citizenship, and the current wave of restrictive voter ID laws are all meant as attacks against minority US citizens as well.
    However, while all the Republican presidential candidates would, one way or another, move this country backwards on immigration, closer to the days of the Chinese exclusion laws and the 1924 "national origin" racial quotas, none has been further to the extreme right or (uncharacteristically) more consistent than Romney. If he becomes president, America will be commited to the delusional goal of expelling (or "self deporting") every last man, woman and child in America who is in this country without permission. 
    This is not inconsistent with Romney's self-professed "love" of immigration. America's gates will most likely still be open if he is president - to hedge fund owners and other members of the wealthy elite with whom Romney identifies. Therefore, before middle class immigration, along with all other things middle class, becomes extinct in America, it is worth looking at the dynamics of the Republican presidential campaign.
    Why is it that the candidate with the least popular appeal, the least trust, and the most suspicion and disapproval among so many voters in his own party is also the only serious candidate, and the only one who has ever had a realistic chance of winning the Republican nomination? The answer is one word only - money. This year's election will be a battle of the billionaires - most of whom are on Romney's side. 
    Because of the Supreme Court's highly partisan, catastrophic, Citizens United decision, democracy is being replaced by plutocracy. That decision could more accurately be called "Billionaires United". The future of US immigration may now be almost entirely in the hands of the wealthiest Americans - and their chosen candidate.
  5. Bloggings: Immigrants Contribute to Maryland Economy, By Danielle Beach-Oswald

    A recent report from The Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland found
    that immigrants have a positive impact on Maryland's economy. The foreign-born
    population makes up nearly 14 percent of Maryland's total population. This
    number is above the national average of foreign-born people in the United
    States, as well as the foreign-born percentages in states like Virginia and
    Arizona. International immigration was responsible for over half of the workforce
    expansion that occurred in Maryland between 2000 and 2010.
    An important contribution made by immigrants was their participation in agriculture, seafood, construction, tourism, and transportation. For example, each year, Maryland's crab industry
    recruits Mexican women to come to the eastern shore of Maryland and employs
    them in seasonal crab picking jobs. The industry is highly reliant on these
    immigrant women, who come to the United States on H-2B temporary worker visas,
    to produce the seafood that in turn brings in millions of dollars of revenue
    for the Maryland economy. Without contributions from workers like these women,
    industry growth would have stagnated and negatively impacted the state economy.
    The report also focused on the connection between the economy and education. It noted that providing education to children of unauthorized immigrants may initially strain the education
    system, but it has produced long-term benefits. Children of immigrants who
    attend the public school system will likely become part of the Maryland
    workforce after they finish school. Therefore, children of immigrants should
    have the opportunity to get the best education possible so they can make
    skilled, informed contributions to the economy. A report from the Migration
    Policy Institute emphasizes this point by noting that better-educated
    immigrants are beneficial to the overall economy, in part because education
    reduces poverty and reliance on welfare.
    The Commission's report looked at the fiscal impact that immigrants have on the economy. It noted that while unauthorized immigrants receive benefits, such as medical care and education,
    these costs are weighed against income received from unauthorized immigrants
    who have taxes subtracted from their earnings and do not receive refunds for
    excessive withholding. The fiscal drain that would result from the loss of part
    of the United States labor force, especially in the lesser-skilled positions,
    cautions against policies that further restrict immigrant workers from entering
    the United States.
    Two practices could help improve relations between immigrants who come to the United States seeking jobs and United States citizens. First, the government could focus more effort on
    locating and punishing employers who are hiring unauthorized immigrants. This
    would discourage employers from driving down the wage rate, which occurs when
    employers hire unauthorized immigrants and pay them lower wages than authorized
    workers. Increasing consequences and reducing incentives for hiring unauthorized
    immigrants would in turn slow the flow of unauthorized immigrants who enter the
    United States, and lessen the need for expenditures that are used to find and
    deport unauthorized immigrants. Second, the government could strengthen its
    labor laws to ensure that employers of migrant workers who are authorized to
    work in the United States are complying with federal working conditions and
    occupational safety standards. The opportunity to obtain adequate wages and job
    training would hopefully encourage more immigrants to make the effort to obtain
    temporary worker visas rather than enter the country undocumented. Assuring
    immigrants receive proper job training would also give them the skills they
    need to contribute successfully to the United States economy.
    For the report from The Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland, click here:
    For more information on the migrant female workers in the Maryland crab industry, click here:
    For the report from the Migration Policy Institute, click here:
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