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Monday, August 31, 2009

CCH: Far E-Verify Rule to Start September 8, 2009

CCH Labor and Employment Law online reports that the District Court in Maryland upheld the E-Verify federal contractor rule, which will take effect September 8th. E-Verify employers sign a memorandum of understanding with the CIS that allows investigators to enter the workplace to examine I-9 forms and E-Verify records, similar to an audit but without any advance notice required. The FAR E-Verify regulation requires that federal contractors and certain subcontractors use the E-Verify system for both new employees and existing employees assigned to federal contracts. An estimated 3.8 million persons’ Form I-9 data will be processed electronically. The agencies estimated that in the initial fiscal year (2009) that there will be 168,324 contractors and subcontractors that will be required to use E-Verify

Use Either of the 2009 Form I-9 Versions

USCIS has republished the Form I-9 with an August 7, 2009 revision date to reflect OMB approval of the form until 2012. Employers may use the Form I-9 with the revision date of either August. 7, 2009 or February. 2, 2009. The revision dates are located on the bottom right-hand portion of the form. The latest I-9 form is available in our publications section.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW

by Charles M. Miller

President Obama’s Mexican trip brought disappointing news to the U.S. Hispanic community: Immigration reform action in Congress would be postponed until 2010. The President cited in his August 9,2009 Mexico City remarks that healthcare reform, energy legislation and financial reform would all come first in 2009. What the President forgot was that first on the American public’s 2009 wish list is economic recovery.

Four days later the Cato Institute, the libertarian, free-market think tank issued a report concerning the effect of immigration reform on the U.S. economy, finding that immigration reform efforts made by Congress and the president could have a major economic impact on the welfare of U.S. households. Debunking popularly held beliefs that the estimated 8.3 million unauthorized workers in the United States lower the incomes of U.S. households, the Cato Institute study concluded that legalization of these workers would actually result in income gains for American workers. The report found legalization would lead to potential gains to U.S. households represented in higher wages, investment income, employment, and government revenue. The report found the net effect to government spending to be manageable compared to the net gains for American workers and their households.

A Wall Street Journal editorial citing the Cato Institute report, found that “re-enforcing the deeply flawed immigration status quo, rather than reforming it, isn’t doing the economy any favors.” The WSJ may be understating the case for the economic need for immigration reform now.

Immigration reform as a phrase has come to mean a compromise between two apparently conflicting goals: The legalization of the estimated 13 million unauthorized persons in the U.S. and the institution of workplace and border enforcement measures that will discourage future illegal entries and employment. That was the grand compromise that was reached in 1986 when President Reagan signed IRCA, the last major immigration reform bill. IRCA legalized 1.7 million unauthorized workers and instituted the I-9 identity and authorization verification system with graduated penalties.

Much has changed since 1986. Hispanics are a major demographic for both the economy and the politics of the U.S. The economic downturn adversely affected the Hispanic worker in America in human terms and as part of the statistics that are now being analyzed. It is clear that one key factor in the return to consumer confidence will be measured by whether the Hispanic consumers return to retail stores in December. What is crystal clear for our country’s economic future is that our nation’s economy will not rebound without a recovery in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, all states with substantial Hispanic populations.

The question for President Obama and Congress is whether they understand that immigration reform, the grand compromise, will drive the economic recovery. The 13 million persons are here and most of them are employed already. It is important that this segment of the work force be employed under the terms of the laws that affect other American workers: Taxes, Social Security, wage and hour laws need to be enforced. The best way to accomplish this is to provide humane and efficient employment authorization to those workers who deserve the opportunity to work hard and build their own version of the American dream.

Critics of immigration reform have traditionally raised the argument that the newly-legalized workers will take jobs away from U.S. workers. That criticism implies that the unfair hiring practices and exploitation of the undocumented workers do not already exist. The truth is that the undocumented workforce exists in far greater numbers than ever before. The best protection for the unemployed American worker is to make sure that unfair hiring practices do not continue.

An indication that the Obama administration has already made that enforcement decision was its continued support of the FAR E-Verify rule. The Bush administration in 2008 had published a final rule that required government contractors and subcontractors to place a clause in their government contracts requiring the use of the E-Verify electronic verification system. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has recently signaled the Obama administration’s continuing support for the FAR rule and the E-Verify system for future U.S. hiring.

Bringing the millions of undocumented workers into the legal system will guarantee that employers who want to obey the law will be able to fill out the I-9 form, and if they are E-Verify member employers, secure confirmation of a legal hiring for compliance purposes.

The economic recovery will fuel more hiring by employers. But without a realistic way of employing a major segment of the U.S. workforce, the existing violations, and the exploitation of the undocumented will continue.

Immigration reform will end two forms of unfair economic advantage that lawbreaking employers currently hold-they hire the undocumented, pay them lower wages and fail to share the tax burden that their lawful competitors disproportionately shoulder. The unfair advantage of unscrupulous companies can only be eliminated by immigration reform in the earliest stages of the recovery. The economic recovery requires immigration reform now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

IMMIGRATION LAW IN THE WORKPLACE

My co-authors, Marcine Seid and Chris Stowe, and I are pleased to announce that our Aspen book is shipping this week. We tried to walk the fine line between making the book comprehensive and understandable. We hope that the readers will find IMMIGRATION LAW IN THE WORKPLACE innovative, as it covers both immigration employment benefits and compliance in one volume.
With Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announcing nationwide I-9 audits, employers need to understand the rules governing Form I-9 compliance and keep up to date with the latest changes affecting immigration law. We hope that you find our book to be an authoritative resource that provides a direct understanding of current worksite enforcement and compliance issues.
IMMIGRATION LAW IN THE WORKPLACE helps employers handle both current – and coming – requirements and includes:
• The latest forms, agency guidance and our analysis;
• Clear alternatives that fit a company’s goals and challenges;
• Appendices that give real-world examples of how the immigration employment benefits and compliance laws can work to save a company time and money.
• Guidance for visa applications and enforcement compliance in one volume.
• Explanations of the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories
for foreign employees and the CIS requirements for fast approvals.
The book also provides the following employer guidance:
• I-9 audits, and how to prepare for them;
• Government Contractors’ E-Verify responsibilities;
• Visa application requirements;
• Permanent labor certifications and alternatives;
• How to immigrate your foreign employees;
• ICE enforcement and sanctions policies and the best practices to ensure compliance;
• U.S. immigration strategy for multinational employers;
• E-Verify and IMAGE requirements,;
• Tax and Social Security issues for foreign employees,
and much more.