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  1. ICE’s I-9 Audits Will Increase by 400% in Fiscal Year 2018

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    As I have discussed numerous times in this blog, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under the Trump administration, has significantly increased I-9 inspections/audits of employers to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the country and determine whether substantive paperwork violations have occurred. Now, we have statistics which substantiate the heightened activity of ICE in worksite enforcement.

    Between October 1, 2017, the beginning of fiscal year 2018, and May 4, 2018, there have been 2,282 ICE audits of employers’ I-9 forms while in the prior fiscal year, October 2016 and September 2017, there were 1,360 audits. Derek Benner, head of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit, said another nationwide wave of audits, like the ICE audits of 7-Eleven in January 2018, planned this summer, would push the total number of audits to "well over" 5,000 by the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2018. If so, that would be almost a 400% increase from fiscal year 2017 and highest number of ICE audits ever. ICE audits, as we know them today, started in George W. Bush’s administration. ICE audits previously peaked at 3,127 in 2013.

    According to Brenner, ICE has developed a plan to conduct as many as 15,000 I-9 audits a year if it can receive appropriate funding and support from other areas of the Trump administration. The plan calls for creation of an Employer Compliance Inspection Center to perform employer audits at a single location instead of at regional offices around the country. Benner said that putting up to 250 auditors in one center with the right technology and a team of attorneys to quickly levy fines would enable his agency to audit between 10,000 and 15,000 companies annually.

    Benner stated one of the goals of this proposal is to create a "reasonable expectation" among employers that they will be audited. "This is kind of our vision of creating this culture of compliance," he said. "I think it's a game-changer."

    The plan also proposes changing the manner of delivery of the ICE Notice of Inspection (NOI) from in person to email or certified mail. Furthermore, after an initial review, by electronically scanning the I-9 forms for suspicious activity, the most egregious cases will be sent to regional offices for more in-depth investigation.

    Benner said the agency will focus both on criminal cases against employers as well deporting employees who in the country illegally. The statistics show there were 594 employers arrested on criminal work-related immigration charges from October 1 to May 4, up from 139 during the previous fiscal year.

    The deportation numbers will certainly increase due to this worksite enforcement as ICE has begun to detain employees listed on the Notice of Suspect Documents. Prior administrations did not detain undocumented workers on the Notice of Suspect Documents which lead many undocumented workers to quit one employer and find work down the road with another employer. As Brenner and many other immigration officials have stated, hiring undocumented workers creates unfair advantages for companies, encourages people to come to the U.S. illegally, results in document and identity fraud, exposes workers to potentially dangerous conditions without proper equipment, and leads to failure to pay overtime pay.

    If the heightened I-9 audits by ICE frightens you, as it should, be prepared and conduct an internal I-9 audit under the direction or control of an experienced immigration attorney with expertise in worksite enforcement. If you want to know more information on employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at
  2. Letters of the Week: May 21 - May 25

  3. DOJ and USCIS Formalize Partnership to Protect U.S. Workers from Discrimination and Combat Fraud

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that expands their collaboration to better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse, and discrimination by employers bringing foreign visa workers to the United States.

    The MOU will increase the ability of the agencies to share information and help identify, investigate, and prosecute employers who may be discriminating against U.S. workers and/or violating immigration laws. In 2010, USCIS and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division entered into an ongoing partnership to share information about E-Verify misuse and combat employment discrimination, and this MOU expands upon the two agencies’ existing partnership.

    To advance the goals of the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, in 2017, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ launched the Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of foreign visa workers. Under this Initiative, the Civil Rights Division has opened dozens of investigations, filed one lawsuit, and reached settlement agreements with two employers.
  4. Enforcing Trump's immigration plan will be harder than he thinks. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    Trump inherited a number of immigration enforcement problems from the Obama administration, the most serious of which was an immigration court backlog that has prevented him from using removal proceedings to reduce the size of the undocumented alien population.

    His solution seems to be to heed the advice of Mitt Romney, who said, when asked about reducing the population of undocumented aliens during a debate in 2012:

    The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here.”

    But Trump is using harboring prosecutions to discourage people from helping undocumented aliens to remain here illegally in addition to enforcing employer sanctions to discourage employers from giving them jobs.

    Neither is likely to be successful.


    About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

  5. Trump Moves Toward Dictatorship: Threatens to Ruin WP/Amazon Chief's Business, Prosecute Oakland Mayor, for Opposing Immigration Agenda. Roger Algase

    Update, May 20 at 10:15 am:

    A May 18 comment on the site by Cody Fenwick focuses on the dangerous abuse of power when a chief executive singles out a specific company for government retaliation because the president doesn't like being criticized. In an article entitled:

    Trump's Corrupt Abuse of Power on Display in New Report About His Efforts to Target Amazon

    Fenwick writes:

    "Personally directing a federal agency to raise prices on Amazon, therefore, looks like a blatant attempt to punish Bezoz and the
    Post for negative coverage. That would be a classic example of abuse of power.

    Even if Trump had good reasons for saying we should raise prices on Amazon, the mere appearance of the abuse of power could have a chilling effect on other people or organizations who may want to be critical of the president. In this way, Trump can accomplish his goal of stifling dissent without actually carrying out any retaliatory measures."

    Trump's attempt to order the US Postal Service to increase Amazon's rates because of the Washington Post's negative coverage of his administration's immigration agenda, among other issues, is also paralleled in his directing his attorney general, Jeff Sessions to look into bringing "obstruction of justice" charges against a California mayor who resisted Trump's mass deportation program aimed mainly at Latin American and other immigrants of color, as described in my original comment below.

    Sessions, who, evidently, has some respect left for the rule of law, ignored Trump's demand.

    These two incidents of attempts to use the enormous power of the federal government to punish specific individuals for opposing or criticizing Donald Trump's immigration and other policies are just the latest additions to the steadily mounting evidence showing that his presidency and this nation's democracy are on a collision course.

    My original comment appears below.

    When I was growing up, a U.S. president, who, coincidentally, shared the same first four letters of his last name with America's current president, famously wrote a letter threatening to punch a Washington Post music critic in the nose (among other places) because the critic had panned the singing performance of the president's daughter, Margaret Truman.

    But there is quite a big difference between a never carried out presidential threat to punch a newspaper music in the nose and an actual ongoing attempt by a president of the United States to use a major instrument of the government, in this case, the United States Post office, to destroy the multi-billion dollar business of a major newspaper publisher because of the latter's opposition to the president's policies, including among the most important targets of criticism, that president's immigration agenda.

    Yet this is exactly what Trump is attempting to do to Jeff Bezos, owner of both and the Washington Post, in retaliation for that newspaper's criticism of Trump's policies and performance as president, including, as a key element of that paper's opposition, Trump's assault on both legal and unauthorized immigration from mainly non-European, non-white parts of the world.

    And there is an even bigger difference between President Harry Truman's expression of outrage and a threat by Donald Trump to prosecute a local government official, in this case the mayor of Oakland, California, for resisting this president's mass deportation agenda.

    Trump's attempt to use the vast power of the federal government to destroy the business of the Washington Post's owner for criticizing Trump's administration, and his threat to prosecute Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, for refusing to fall in line with his ethnic cleansing deportation agenda directed against Latin American and other immigrants of color who are not from"countries like Norway" are not the actions of the leader of a democratic country that honors the rule of law. They are the actions of a dictator.

    It is not only Latin American, Muslim, African and other immigrants from outside white Europe who are the victims of Trump's attempt to impose his own racial prejudices and/or those of his right wing supporters on America through dismantling the programs and protections which have allowed millions of immigrants ranging from highly skilled H-1B workers to Diversity Visa lottery winners with only a high school education to come to the US legally in the past decades, and through spreading fear and terror in minority communities throughout America through his ethnic cleansing mass deportation agenda for non-criminal immigrants.

    The ultimate losers are the American people, whose almost 250 year-old experiment in democracy is now in danger of being wiped out.

    For the full story on Trump's attempts to bully the USPS into doubling the package delivery rates for Amazon in an obvious attempt at revenge against Bezos for the Washington Post's vocal opposition to Trump's anti-immigrant agenda and many other policies as president, see, Washington Post, May 18:

    Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms

    (Available though Google - I do not have a direct link.)

    And for more details about Trump's threat to prosecute Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for "obstruction of justice" (a charge that Trump himself has been under investigation for the past year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a non-immigration related context) for allegedly refusing to cooperate with an ICE raid as part of Trump's mass deportation agenda, see:

    To be sure, the United States has not yet reached the point where critics of the president suddenly disappear in the middle of the night to be locked up on orders from the top or, allegedly, die by poisoning, as in the case of Russia (whose purported role in helping Trump win the presidency is still very much part of the Mueller investigation which is obviously causing Trump so much Angst).

    But the above news items leave no doubt that America is moving toward that direction in the "Donald Trump Era" - one which now includes a new CIA director who has had great difficulty overcoming allegations of complicity in torture.

    In view of Trump's open advocacy of using torture against people he perceives as dangerous during his presidential campaign

    could Trump's appointment of Gina Haspel to this powerful and influential position be another, not so veiled, warning to media figures and politicians who might be thinking of speaking out against Trump's plans to purge America of non-white immigrants, about what might happen to anyone who opposes this agenda in the non-so distant future?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 05-20-2018 at 11:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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