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Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government

DOL in a Tizzy over Perceived Immigration Fraud

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I'm clearing my desk to get ready for travel on Wednesday to Vancouver.  That's of course where the American Immigration Lawyers Association is holding its annual conference.  One of the panels will be an open forum with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

As most in the immigration world know, the DOL is  very concerned about fraud in the immigration process.  No ethical employers or lawyers would deny the importance of deterring fraud, and truly bad apples of course need to be removed from the barrel. 

But when DOL targets reputable lawyers and law firms and audits all of their clients for alleged conduct that the agency belatedly acknowledges is within the proper scope of the attorney-client relationship, then the objective of fraud-deterrence is actually impaired rather than facilitated.  Moreover, when the agency in the name of "program integrity" or "reform" seeks to minimize the role of lawyers, while continuing to promote a deeply-flawed PERM system and tolerate a role for unlicensed agents (consultants and notarios), then something is definitely wrong in Bureacracyland. 

For background on the controversy, check out today's article, co-authored by Ted J. Chiappari and me, in the New York Law Journal's "Immigration Column," available at this link on my other blog - (By the way, the  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "tizzy" as "a highly excited and distracted state of mind."  After reviewing the article, you, dear readers, can decide if the label is apt.)

So, if you're heading to the DOL Open Forum AILA panel in Vancouver, maybe you'll think of a polite question or two for the DOL representatives.

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  1. Stuart Folinsky's Avatar

    The thing that has always intrigued me ever since I started practicing in the '70's is that, since the 1976 regulations has always considered the Labor Certification process for something which it never really was -- a method for hiring US workers. The question inherent in the Act is whether this particular alien will adversely affect the American job market. Perhaps, an individualized test is an appropriate method in SOME cases, but not all.

    Based upon the DOL conception of the reason for the labor certificate process, there has always been an inherent conflict -- the reason the employer files the LC is for the purpose of bringing in a particular alien. The employer's position is known to be "I want this particularly alien, and I believe it will not adversely affect the US job market." DOL would have it that the employer believes "I want a US worker and I am, ever so reluctantly, will only hire this alien if I have no other choice."

    On the recent controversy about attorney's taking an advisory part in the recruitment process -- my experience has been more along the lines of preventing REJECTIONS of US workers for reason not approved by the DOL. I have no problem with the idea that attorney's can't take part in the actual contact with the applicants. But DOL is now extending that beyond the reason for the rule.
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