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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

AILA responds to Neufeld Memo

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by Chris Musillo


AILA has sent a comprehensive letter to USCIS Chief Counsel Roxana Bacon arguing that the USCIS ought to set aside the January 8 Neufeld Memorandum Guidance that purports to limit approvals of H-1s in instances where the Beneficiary is employed at a third-party worksite. The letter, which reads like a legal brief, calls into question the core legality of the issuance of the Neufeld Memorandum, and challenges the reasoning throughout the Memorandum.



The letter's key points are:


1. The issuance of the Neufeld Memorandum is a substantive change to existing law. Such changes to law by Memorandum are illegal under the Administrative Procedures Act. Under the APA, regulatory agencies like USCIS must first publish proposed rules in the Federal Register. Then, the agency must allow the public to comment on the changes. The USCIS must then consider and respond to the public comment.


2. The entire reasoning of the Neufeld Memorandum is unsound. In the Neufeld Memorandum, the USCIS found that existing law did not define "employer-employee" relationship. AILA contends, correctly MU thinks, that existing law does define "employer-employee" relationship at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(ii). An "employer" is one who may "hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of any such employee". Therefore the USCIS' use of Supreme Court cases and common-law is improper since the definition is already right there in the definition.


3. To the extent that the USCIS applies the definition, it limits its focus to one of these five characteristics -- control - and fails to explore the other four characteristics - hire, pay, fire, and supervise.


4. Even if the USCIS feels that it needs help in defining "employer-employee," the USCIS completely misapplies the relevant Supreme Court decisions. Cases such as Clackamas speak to the idea of balancing all characteristics and not limiting the analysis to the control characteristic.


5. When Congress last amended the relevant statutes in the law IMMACT90. It expressly sought to expand the definition of employer, not restrict it. USCIS is not legally allowed to violate Congress' express intent.

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