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Total Articles: 209

Preparing for an Increase in I-9 Worksite Enforcement

After reviewing data related to time spent by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit on worksite enforcement, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan issued a directive “to increase that [level of enforcement] by four to five times.” A review of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI statistics from the prior administration reveals that the number of employer audits reached a peak in 2013 with 3,127 nationwide, but by 2016, audits had dipped to 1,279 audits (down 59 percent). The ICE directive comes just after an announcement of the largest fine on the I-9 enforcement record, as well as the White House release of President Trump’s interior enforcement principles which include making participation in the now-voluntary E-Verify program mandatory.

Do Not Respond to Emails Requesting I-9 Information

The USCIS has issued the following notice regarding scam emails requesting I-9 information

Mandatory E-Verify under Consideration in Congress

Every employer in the United States would be required to use E-Verify to determine whether employees are authorized to work if “The Legal Workforce Act of 2017” (LWA) is passed.

Employers Take Note: New Form I-9 Now in Effect

As of September 18, 2017, all employers must now use the revised Form I-9 released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new hires, whether citizens or noncitizens. USCIS initially published the new version of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form on July 17, 2017, but had permitted a transition period during which employers could continue to use the previous edition of the Form I-9 through September 17, 2017.

New Form I-9 Must Be Used Starting Today

Starting today, employers must begin using the revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for all new hires. The new form includes changes to the instructions and to the Acceptable Documents on List C. However, the existing storage and retention rules have not changed. Employers must continue to follow these rules for any previously completed Form I-9, as well as for new ones.

Employers Must Use New I-9 Form Beginning September 18, 2017

Starting September 18, 2017, employers must use the revised Form I-9 with the revision date “7/17/17” to verify the identity and work eligibility of every new hire.

Insights: The Recent Rescission of DACA Is Not an I-9 Re-Verification Event

The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency announced the rescission of DACA did not require employers to re-verify work authorization documents for DACA employees, stating: “[a]ny action or attempt by employers to re-investigate or re-verify work authorization documents in order to retaliate against any immigrant worker is unlawful in California.”

Mandatory Use of New Form I-9 to Begin Soon

As a reminder, on July 17, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which employers must begin using no later than September 18, 2017. Many of the changes are subtle, focusing on revising the form’s instructions and wording, and clarifying the list of acceptable documents.

eLABORate: September 18, 2017 Deadline for Employers to Use Revised I-9 Form

Beginning Monday, September 18, 2017, employers must begin using the updated Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 is a mandatory form that must be completed by all U.S. employers. It is used to verify the identity and employment authorization for individuals hired for U.S. employment. On July 17, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released the updated I-9, and employers can download the new form from the USCIS website. According to USCIS, there are several changes to the updated Form:

HR Reminder: On Sept. 18, Start using New Form I-9

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released a new version of Form I-9, which must be used on and after Sept. 18, 2017. This new form has a revision date of July 17, 2017, and is the current (and only) version that is available on the agency’s website.

New I-9 Form and DOL Request for Comments on Federal Overtime Exemption Rules

The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has issued a new Form I-9. The only significant change is to add a new List C document, a Consular Report of Birth for a U.S. citizen board abroad. Employers must begin using the new form by September 18, 2017.

USCIS Revises Form I-9: What’s New?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new edition of the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form on July 17, 2017. Employers may now use the revised version, dated 07/17/17 N, or continue using the Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N through September 17, 2017. On September 18, 2017, the 07/17/17 N edition of the Form I-9 will become mandatory. Employers must also continue to follow existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Forms I-9.

USCIS Releases New Form I-9 and New Handbook for Employers

On July 17, 2017, the USCIS announced the release of a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Employers Must Soon Use Yet Another New I-9 Form

It might seem like just yesterday that employers were told that they needed to use a new version of the Form I-9, the document verifying the identity of new hires to ensure they are authorized to work in the United States. Yet just eight months after the release of the most recent version, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has today released an updated Form I-9. Employers will need to adapt to the change and use the new form by no later than September 18, 2017 or face the possibility of large fines.

USCIS Releases New Form I-9 and New Handbook for Employers

On July 17, 2017, the USCIS announced the release of a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Form I-9 Revised Again

Today, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released yet another revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Changes were made to the form's instructions and to the list of Acceptable Documents on List C.

USCIS May Request I-9

The USCIS is requesting some applicants for Adjustment of Status to submit copies of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms that they (and their employers) completed for current or former employment. These requests are coming as RFEs or from local USCIS field officers.

Spending Bill Would Fund Government E-Verify, Certain Visa Programs through End of Fiscal Year

Back in December, President Barack Obama signed a stop-gap spending bill to keep the government running through April 28, 2017. Immigration programs that were extended at that time included the Conrad 30 Waiver, the Non-Minister Religious Worker Visa, the EB-5 Regional Center, and E-Verify.

Updated Green Card and EAD Designs Enhance Safety Features, No Changes for I-9 Purposes

Employers and I-9 professionals should be aware that starting Monday, May 1, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin issuing a redesigned Permanent Resident Card (also known as a “Green Card” or Form I-551) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD or Form I-766). While the updated Green Card and EAD will contain bolder imagery and a few enhanced safety and fraud deterrence features, the cards will continue to serve the same purpose for employers’ I-9 verification obligations.

Reminder: Glitch in Form I-9 in November 2016

USCIS is reminding employers that if they are continuing to use a Form I-9 (“Smart Form”) that was downloaded between November 14 (when the form first became available) and November 17, 2016, they should download, save, and start using a new Form I-9, available at uscis.gov/i-9 .

Employers Should Review Form I-9 for SSN Glitch

Employers that downloaded Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, between November 14 and November 17, 2016, are advised to immediately review any of the forms they used to ensure their employees' Social Security numbers (SSNs) appear correctly in Section 1. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has discovered a "glitch" that occurred when the revised Form I-9 was first published on November 14, 2016.

President’s FY 2018 Budget Plan Requests $15 Million to Support Future Implementation of Mandatory Nationwide Use of E-Verify

On March 17, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the first installment of the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 Budget plan: “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The Budget provides details on discretionary funding proposals, with the complete Budget request being released later this year to include specific mandatory and tax proposals. The government’s 2018 fiscal year commences on October 1, 2017.

OSC Stresses Need to Comply with Federal E-Verify Requirements Regardless of Potential State Conflicts

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) used a case involving the apparent conflict between federal E-Verify rules and a Missouri state law to reiterate some general guidelines regarding employer compliance with the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

E-Verify Records Will Soon Be Purged

This is a reminder that, as of March 31, 2017, employers will not have access to E-Verify records that were created on or before Dec. 31, 2006.

Construction One-Minute Read: Trump Administration Increases Resources to Crack Down on Employers for I-9 Compliance

As part of his first-week initiatives, President Trump turned his focus toward immigration. These initiatives included dramatically expanding the resources of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Dear Littler: Does an Employer Have to Report Discrepancies Identified in Old I-9 Forms?

Dear Littler: A former employee recently reapplied for an open position at our company. In reviewing the new-hire paperwork, we noticed that her social security number did not match the one we had on file previously. Her new information checks out fine, but we are wondering if we have any reporting or disclosure requirements, to the extent that perhaps her information in her old I-9 was inaccurate?

New I-9 Handbook for Employers

USCIS’s new M-274 “Handbook for Employers with Guidance for Completing Form I-9” is now available. In addition to detailed I-9 completion instructions, the Handbook contains guidance on Photocopying and Retention, Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties, E-Verify. It also contains FAQs as well as images of sample documents.

USCIS Issues Fact Sheet and Guidance on Automatic Extensions of EAD and I-9 Compliance

Among the last rules issued during the Obama Administration, Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers went into effect on January 17, 2017. One of its provisions allows for automatic extensions of the validity periods of certain Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for up to 180 days if the EAD application is timely filed and in the same category as the previous EAD.

New Year, New Form: Employers Must Use New I-9 Form Starting January 22, 2017

Starting on January 22, 2017, all employers are now required to use the new I-9 form (version date 11/14/2016) to verify the identity and employment authorization eligibility of employees. A link to the new form can be found here. Failure to ensure proper completion and retention of Forms I-9 may subject you to civil money penalties of up to $2,156 per I-9 form, and, in some cases, criminal penalties.

Form I-9 Changes: What Employers Need to Know

Ready or not, the time has come for all employers to use the new Form I-9. While employers were still permitted to use the prior form until January 21, 2017, the new form must now be used to verify the identity and work eligibility of all new hires. If an employer does not use the new form it could be subject to penalties ranging from $216 to $2,156 per violation. While certain parts of the Form I-9 remain unchanged, such as the lists of acceptable documents, there are six key changes of which employers should be aware.

Time to Start Using New Form I-9

Now that you’ve mastered the I-9 form, it’s time to learn how to use the new one. On November 14, 2016, USCIS released a new Form I-9 (copy attached). Employers are permitted to use the previous version of the form only until the end of this week. By January 22, 2017, this Sunday, you must use the new Form I-9, which is a "smart" form because it can be filled out online and includes drop-down menus, hover text with instructions, and error messages. Employers have the option of printing the form to be filled in by hand, completing all sections on one computer, completing the sections on different computers, or using any combination of these options. The smart form, however, does not meet the requirements for an electronic form under the regulations. Thus, any forms completed online must be printed and signed by the employee and employer representative. It can then be scanned for electronic storage. If you currently work with a third party for electronic completion and/or storage of your I-9s, they may have addressed electronic signature requirements.

Employers Must Use the New Form I-9 Starting January 22, 2017

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out a new Form I-9 in November 2016. Starting January 22, 2017, all employers must use the new Form I-9, which is dated November 14, 2016 (the edition date is on the bottom of the Form I-9). Employers that do not use the new Form I-9 starting January 22, 2017 could face civil penalties.

Revised Employment Verification Regulations Take Effect on January 18, 2017

Revised regulations implementing Section 274B of Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), prohibiting certain unfair immigration-related employment practices, will become effective on January 18, 2017, the Department of Justice has announced. Of particular import to employers are the revisions to 28 CFR Part 44 on the employment eligibility verification process. Employers should ensure their policies and practices are in compliance with the revised regulations.

E-Verify Extended Through April 2017

President Barack Obama has temporarily extended the federal E-Verify program by signing the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, which extends appropriations through April 28, 2017. E-Verify, or the Electronic Verification system, is a web-based program operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify allows participating employers to electronically verify the information provided by the employee on the Form I-9.

USCIS Releases New I-9 Form

USCIS has released a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers may start using the new 11/14/2016 version now if they desire, but it will not become mandatory for U.S. employers until January 22, 2017. In other words, employers may use the 03/08/2013 version through January 21, 2017. Once an employer starts using the new 11/14/2016 version, it must use it for all new hires, and also for reverifying existing employees. For reverifying an existing employee, the employer would just complete Section 3 of the 11/14/2016 version and attach it to the employee’s existing I-9. The issuance of the new I-9 version does NOT compel an employer to complete brand new I-9s for its entire existing workforce in a blanket fashion.

New Form I-9 Goes Into Effect In January 2017 – Stay In Compliance!

A revised Form I-9 was recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The new version is expected to be published by November 22, 2016.

USCIS Unveils New Form I-9 And Allows Time For Employers To Transition

On November 14, 2016 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new Employment Eligibility Verification form, commonly referenced as Form I-9. The new form, which employers must use to establish the employment authorization of employees they hire, features a number of upgrades intended to help reduce errors and facilitate greater efficiency and accuracy in the completion of the form.

Form I-9 Changes May Usher in Era of Increased Enforcement

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a revised Form I-9. According to the agency, the changes are designed to reduce errors and to enhance form completion using a computer. Employers should expect additional developments in the area of immigration law enforcement under a Trump administration.

New Form I-9 Issued

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published the long awaited new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The prior form expired on March 31, 2016. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires that employers complete a Form I-9 for all new hires after November 6, 1986, to verify employment authorization.

New Form I-9 Published

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the new form I-9 dated November 14, 2016. Although you may accept the prior version of the Form I-9 for the next two months, you will be required to use this new form starting January 21, 2017.

Fifth Circuit Reverses $226,000 Form I-9 Fine Against Employer

Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a $226,000 fine imposed by the government on a staffing company. What was the staffing company’s alleged transgression? A government audit showed the individuals which completed Section 2 of Form I-9 (the Employer section of the form) were only reviewing copies of the newly-hired employees’ employment verification documents.

New “Smart” I-9 Form Becomes Mandatory on January 22, 2017

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that starting January 22, 2017, all employers in the United States will be required to use the new version of the Form I-9 exclusively to conduct employment eligibility verification.

Form I-9 Fines Can Be $200,000 Or More – Should/Can You Do An Internal Audit?

Now is a perfect time to consider an internal audit of your employees’ Form I-9s and your company’s practices, as the government recently issued guidance for employers on this very issue. Of course, you should ensure you conduct your audit lawfully, as mistakes made during an audit can themselves prove costly.

I-9 Checkup: Nine Best Practices for I-9 Compliance

In today’s complicated maze of compliance requirements, most employers are aware of the need to complete a Form I-9 for every new hire. However, some employers fail to recognize the significance of the I-9 form. What appears to be a simple two-page onboarding form can carry the potential for six-figure liability if not completed correctly. Effective August 1, 2016, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increased the base penalties for failure to comply with the I-9 requirements; civil fines now range from $375 to $3,200 per form—numbers that can be staggering in the face of an ICE audit.

Proposed Rule Could Increase Scrutiny of Employers During the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Process

Under existing law, employers are required to verify the identities and employment eligibility of employees hired after November 6, 1986, by completing the Form I-9. In addition, employers cannot discriminate against workers during the Form I-9 process. In support of this directive, the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits certain unfair immigration-related employment practices which play out during the employment eligibility verification, or Form I-9, process.

Current Form I-9 Is Valid for Four More Months

After a series of proposed improvements to and public comment periods on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, the Office of Management and Budget has approved a revised version of the form.

New Form I-9 With Enhancements and Clarity Starting January 2017

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a proposed new Form I-9. USCIS must publish a revised form no later than November 22, 2016. This new form will be effective as of January 22, 2017.

Revised I-9 Form Approved But Not Yet Released

USCIS has announced that a new I-9 form has been approved, but has not yet been released. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the new form and must publish it by November 22, 2016. Employers may continue to use the current version (Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013) until January 21, 2017. After January 21, 2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. We will provide more information regarding the new form as information becomes available.

New Form I-9 Update

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has approved revisions to the Form I-9 to be released to the public within 90 days. The exact date of release has not been announced. The new form will include much-needed technology features to assist employers in identifying errors. The new form will replace the 2013 version and will be valid until August 31, 2019.

5th Circuit Throws Out I-9 Fines Against Employer for Alleged Section 2 Attestation Deficiencies

Vacating a $226,000 fine against Employer Solutions Staffing Group for alleged Form I-9 violations, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it was not a violation for employer to have one of its agents inspect original employee documents in Texas and have another person in Minnesota complete the employer attestation in Section 2 after reviewing photocopies of the documents sent by the Texas person reviewing the forms. Employer Solutions Staffing Group v. OCAHO, No. 15-60173 (5th Cir. Aug. 11, 2016).

Fifth Circuit Overturns $226,000 Fine Imposed on a Staffing Company for Completing Section 2 of Form I-9 Remotely

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) takes the position that employers must physically review original documents in the actual presence of a new hire when completing the attestation in Section 2 of the Form I-9 (the attestation is a statement from the employer indicating the employer reviewed the new hire’s documents and the documents belong to the new hire). In other words, DHS prohibits employers from reviewing copies of documents remotely or via video when completing a Form I-9. In a decision published on August 11, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that a Minnesota staffing company was not liable for a $226,000 fine it received when it completed Section 2 in Minnesota after reviewing copies of the Form I-9 documents presented by new hires located in El Paso, Texas.1

Fines for I-9 and Other Immigration Violations Have Increased as of August 1, 2016

The U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Labor (DOL) and Justice (DOJ) have increased the civil fines for employers that commit immigration-related offenses, such as unfair employment or discrimination practices, H-1B and H-2B program violations, and Form I-9 and E-VERIFY violations. The new penalties, which went into effect on August 1, 2016, apply to violations that occurred after November 2, 2015.

Employers Risk Higher Penalties for Hiring Unauthorized Workers

The U.S. Department of Justice is increasing civil monetary penalties substantially for employers who knowingly employ an unauthorized worker and for certain other immigration-related violations, according to an interim final rule the Department has published. The rule will take effect on August 1, 2016, and will apply to violations occurring after November 2, 2016. The increases come in response to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which requires agencies to adjust penalties for inflation.

DOJ to Increase Civil Monetary Penalties for Immigration-Related, False Claims Violations

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has published an interim final rule adjusting current civil monetary penalties, which takes effect on August 1, 2016. The adjustments are based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for October 2015 and are in accordance with the 2015 Amendments to the Inflation Adjustment Act.

Colorado Companies Receive Relief From Extra I-9 Recordkeeping Requirements With Repeal of State-Driven Attestation Law

For several years, Colorado employers have been required to declare their compliance with federal I-9 requirements by completing an extra affirmation document and retain copies of verification documentation (federal law does not require employers to retain copies of the underlying verification documentation) or face sanctions from the Colorado Division of Labor. This burden is about to disappear. On June 8, 2016, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 16-1114 repealing these attestation requirements and alleviating the need for Colorado employers to duplicate existing federal employee verification recordkeeping. The law will become effective on August 10, 2016.

Business Immigration Zone: I-9 Compliance Alert: DOJ Announces New Fines For Immigration and Employment Verification Violations

The U.S. Department of Justice recently unveiled a rule that will increase possible penalties for unfair employment practices tied to immigration and employing undocumented individuals.

Proposed Changes to E-Verify

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is in the process of reviewing public comments and considering revisions to its recently proposed changes to the E-Verify program.1 USCIS’ Supporting Statement provides that the proposed changes are aimed at assisting employers with preventing document fraud and with electronically verifying the employment authorization of employees with expiring temporary work authorization.2

Many Tennessee Employers Will Soon Be Required To Use E-Verify

Tennessee’s state immigration law just received an important update by the state legislature and Governor, and many employers in the state will soon be impacted. Beginning January 1, 2017, all Tennessee businesses with 50 or more employees will be required to use the E-verify system in order to determine workers’ eligibility for employment. If you currently do not use E-Verify, the time to begin preparing is now.

USCIS Says Expired Form I-9 Still Okay to Use, Requests Additional Comments

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an employer should continue to use the current version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, even though it expired on March 31, until a new form is finalized and posted for use. USCIS has also announced that it has extended the comment period until April 27, because it has made additional proposed revisions to the form.

USCIS Says Expired Form I-9 Still Okay to Use, Requests Additional Comments

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an employer should continue to use the current version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, even though it expired on March 31, until a new form is finalized and posted for use. USCIS has also announced that it has extended the comment period until April 27, because it has made additional proposed revisions to the form.

USCIS Proposes Changes to Form I-9, Instructs Current I-9 to be Used Beyond Expiration Date

The current Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification is set to expire on March 31, 2016. On the eve of the form’s expiration, USCIS has announced that employers must continue to use the current version until the proposed I-9 is in effect.

Form I-9 Strikes Again: Hotel Executive Pleads Guilty for Knowingly Hiring Unauthorized Worker

The Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) requires all employers to complete a Form I-9 for all employees hired after November 6, 1986. The law prohibits an employer from knowingly hiring or continuing to employ an unauthorized alien. The severity of the consequences awaiting employers who violate this law was evident recently in two cases in Nebraska federal court. U.S. v. Younes and U.S. v. Kearney Hospitality Inc.

PERM: Where Details Matter

In 2010, Abundant Life Evangelical Community filed a PERM labor certification application with the US Department of Labor on behalf of an individual to work as an administrative assistant. PERM is the process most employers use to seek permanent residency or a green card for an employee. PERM involves testing the labor market or seeking qualified US citizen or other employment authorized workers. If no qualified workers are found, the employer files the PERM application with the DOL requesting certification.

60 Day Comment Period on Proposed Changes to Form I-9 Ended on January 25, 2016

On November 24, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a 60 day notice of proposed changes to the Form I-9 in the Federal Register. The 60 day public comment period ended on January 25, 2016.

To Audit, or Not to Audit: That is the I-9 Question

For some time, employers have been confused about how to handle situations relating to potential undocumented workers in their workforces. On December 14, 2015, to address some of this confusion, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) jointly prepared a guidance memorandum clarifying how to handle internal I-9 audits.

Workplace Enforcement Update: New Self-Audit Guidance and a New I-9 form on its Way

This Workplace Enforcement Update covers two significant developments, namely new I-9 self-audit guidance published jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the status of a new I-9 form that DHS has submitted for notice and comment.

Internal I-9 Audits: Alternative Documentation

Periodic internal I-9 audits are considered an employer “best practice” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Before conducting an internal I-9 audit, however, employers need to understand how to address a range of issues likely to be identified.

DHS Seeks Comments for Its New ‘Smart’ Form I-9

For its proposed 13th iteration, the I-9 form is getting “smart” new features.

Form I-9 Changes Proposed by USCIS

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a notice and comment request in the Federal Register regarding proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 must be completed by an employer for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the US.

Government to Delete E-Verify Records after 10 Years

Employers using E-Verify may mistakenly believe that once a record is created, it will be stored forever in the E-Verify system. Effective January 1, 2016, E-Verify transaction records more than 10 years old will automatically be deleted from the E-Verify system. That means that employers will no longer have access in E-Verify to cases created prior to December 31, 2005. This action is being taken to comply with the National Archives and Records Administration’s retention and disposal schedule.

E-Verify Records Disposal Is Imminent, System Enhancements Made

On January 1, 2016, E-Verify must delete transaction records that are more than 10 years old, in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) retention and disposal schedule. An employer that used E-Verify before December 31, 2005, that wants to keep a record of its case information should download and save the new Historic Records Report by December 31, 2015, which is the last day the report will be available. The report contains information about each E-Verify case that will be purged.

Five Tips to Avoid Form I-9 Pitfalls

Did you know that all industries, regardless of size or location may be exposed to worksite investigations by the government to ensure they are hiring authorized workers? No? Well pay attention – the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stepped up enforcement efforts resulting in a dramatic increase in administrative fines imposed during an eight-year period, ranging from $0 (FY 2006) to more than $16 million (FY 2014)!

Steep Fines Underscore Value of I-9 Compliance

A recent ruling by the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (which has jurisdiction over cases arising under the Immigration and Nationality Act) underscores the importance of employers revisiting their internal policies and procedures for verifying employees’ ability to legally work in the United States.

Proposed Expansion of E-Verify Services and Obligations Could Add New Burdens for Employers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced its intention to expand not only its E-Verify communication services but also implement new obligations for employers that participate in the E-Verify program (either voluntarily as a federal contractor or as required by state law). E-Verify is a USCIS sponsored, Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 to data on file at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to confirm employment eligibility. Several of these changes could create complications or increase potential burdens for employers that use the program.

More I-9 Confusion for Employers from Three-Year DACA Card Recall

President Barack Obama’s executive order expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligibility and work authorization met a another roadblock when a federal District Court threatened to sanction the Secretary of Homeland Security and senior DHS officials for issuing three-year Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). The court previously enjoined implementation of expanded DACA, including issuance of EAD’s valid for three instead of for two.

Retailers Should Review I-9 Processes in Light of Recent DOJ Settlement

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement agreement with a large clothing retailer to resolve claims that the company discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen in violation of the federal immigration laws. The agreement requires the payment of substantial back pay and close DOJ monitoring of the retailer’s immigration employment verification practices for a two-year period of time.

Events Planning Company Fined over $600,000 for Serious I-9 Paperwork Violations

Executive Summary: On July 8, 2015, an administrative law judge (ALJ) ordered Hartmann Studios to pay a fine of over $600,000 for more than 800 I-9 paperwork violations, the largest fine awarded by an ALJ for paperwork violations to date. In United States v. Hartmann Studios, Inc. (OCAHO Case No. 14A00008), the ALJ found the employer liable for 808 of the 818 Form I-9 paperwork violations alleged by the government. Although the judge refused to entertain Hartmann's financial hardship defense due to its failure to provide audited financial statements or otherwise respond to the government's discovery on its ability to pay the government's proposed civil money penalty ($812,665.25), she made modest downward adjustments in the proposed base penalties, but increased the aggravation penalties for violations associated with unauthorized workers, resetting the fine amount at $605,250.

USCIS Adds Foreign Language Resources for Employers

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released versions of current forms and the E-Verify poster in three additional foreign languages: Urdu, Punjabi and Somali. Employers with employees who are not proficient in English now have additional resources available in order to better inform employees of employment verification processes.

USCIS Expands myE-Verify Program as Compliance Actions Rise

myE-Verify, a free, web-based service for workers and job seekers provided by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is now available nationwide after an initial roll-out to five states. According to the USCIS, myE-Verify allows employees to find information regarding their rights during the employment eligibility verification process in addition to their employers' responsibilities during the process.

Is Your Business At Risk for Damages and Civil Money Penalties Based on Violations Stemming from Improper I-9 and E-Verify Procedures?

Executive Summary: The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Discrimination (OSC) within the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has made it a priority to pursue employers who allegedly misuse or abuse access to the E-Verify program and unlawfully discriminate against applicants and employees in hiring and termination on the basis of citizenship status discrimination and document abuse. Employers suspected of engaging in a pattern or practice of discriminatory employment verification procedures could face months of costly investigation and be forced to pay civil money penalties, back wages and punitive damages. What's more, they could be ejected from participating in the E-Verify program, lose the right to do business in states that mandate private employer participation, and face debarment from federal contracting rights.

Tips To Prepare Your Company For An I-9 Audit

The Immigration Customs and Enforcement division (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security, continues to issue Form I-9 Notices of Inspection to businesses across the nation. In fiscal year 2012, ICE served over 3,000 Notices to businesses, resulting in over $12 million in fines. Additionally, ICE made 520 criminal arrests tied to worksite enforcement investigations. These criminal arrests involved 240 individuals who were owners, managers, supervisors, or human resources employees.

Tough ICE Deportation, I-9 Worksite Enforcement Efforts Continue to Affect Employers

As employers know, failing to comply with I-9 requirements can lead to fines, the loss of federal funding, even criminal sanctions against employers and, as we discussed at this year’s Employment Law Conference, their individual supervisors, HR staff, and executives. The takeaway point is that you must be proactive about I-9 compliance and consider working with us to conduct an internal audit now before ICE knocks on your door. As we discuss below, an internal I-9 audit and I-9 training for your key employees does not need to be difficult or time consuming.

E-Verify Cracks Down on Identity Theft

One of the issues employers have had with E-Verify is that the process was not designed to detect identity theft. This created a possibility that an employer could receive a "confirmation" from USCIS on two different employees who used the same social security number. USCIS is now trying to address this issue with E-Verify.

With Shutdown Over, All E-Verify Services Now Available

After the federal government’s partial shutdown on October 1, 2013, employers were unable to access their E-Verify accounts. Now that funding has been restored and E-Verify services are back online, the Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance and instructions to employers.

Immigration Alert: E-Verify Is Currently Unavailable

As of Oct. 1, 2013, employers will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts because of the federal government’s partial shutdown. As a result, employers will not be able to verify employment eligibility or view or take any action in any case previously initiated in E-Verify. In addition, employers will not be able to resolve any Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) until E-Verify reopens. We will await further guidance from the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security once the agencies reopen.

I-9s – The Mandatory Form Some Employers Overlook

In the maze of state, federal, and local regulations, some obligations may simply be overlooked. Although employers have been responsible for verifying all employees’ work eligibility since 1986, even some sophisticated employers have recently told us they are unfamiliar with their obligation to complete this process. As the federal government ramps up enforcement efforts, if you have not filled out the Form I-9 in the past, now is the time to start.

Recent OCAHO Decision Reminds Employers to Complete Accurate and Timely I-9 Forms

As immigration reform measures proceed through Congress, it is critical that employers are prepared for strict worksite enforcement of I-9 requirements to prevent costly auditing and penalties for paperwork violations or the knowing employment of undocumented workers. A recent decision from the Justice Department’s Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) is a stark reminder to businesses to ensure that their I-9 forms are in order. While OCAHO ultimately levied a civil money penalty of $15,600, it reduced that amount, as a matter of discretion, from the original fine of more than $25,500 initially sought by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Staggered Implementation of Georgia and North Carolina E-Verify Laws Completed on July 1

In May and June 2011 respectively, the states of Georgia and North Carolina each passed laws mandating the use of E-Verify, an internet-based system, administered by the federal government, which allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Each of the state’s E-Verify requirements were implemented in stages and participation was phased in according to the employer’s size.

Tips to Prepare Your Company for an ICE I-9 Audit

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) continues to issue Form I-9 Notices of Inspection to businesses across the nation. In fiscal year 2012, ICE served 3,004 Notices of Inspection to businesses, totaling over $12 million in fines. Additionally, ICE made 520 criminal arrests tied to worksite enforcement investigations. These criminal arrests involved 240 individuals who were owners, managers, supervisors or human resources employees.

New Form I-9 Mandatory Use Required Beginning on May 7

Starting on May 7, 2013, all employers in the United States may only use the new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/13N to comply with employment eligibility verification requirements under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Automation of Form I-94 and Release of New Form I-9

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will begin a new program on April 30, 2013 that will end issuance of paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Records for many visitors. Foreign visitors arriving in the United States via air or sea who need to prove their lawful immigration status will be required to access their arrival information online and print their own Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Records (Form I-94). A hard copy of Form I-94 is required to begin employment, apply for a Social Security Number, and obtain a driver's license or identification document.

New I-9 Form Released – Are You Ready?

Every time you hire a new employee, you must complete an “I-9 Form” to verify the employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States. An updated version of the form was issued on March 8, 2013, by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

New Poster and Forms for US Employers

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") released a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States, and employers must complete a Form I-9 for every new employee. The updated Form I-9 may be used immediately by employers, and must be used exclusively for all new hires and re-verifications beginning on May 7, 2013. Until then, employers may continue to use previous versions of the Form I-9 dated Feb. 2, 2009 and Aug. 7, 2009. The new Form I-9 revises the layout of the form (making it two pages), greatly expands the form's instructions, and adds certain data fields, including voluntary fields such as employees' telephone and email addresses. Employers should review the updated Employer Handbook issued by USCIS on completing the new I-9.

Now Is Not The Time For Bad I-9s

The government is cracking down on I-9 abuse.

The Law: New I-9 Form Shows More Changes May Be In Store For Employers

The March 19th, e-news blast from MidlandsBiz features "The Law: New I-9 Form Shows More Changes May Be In Store For Employers."

USCIS Releases New Form I-9

You may have noticed that the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 you were using had an expiration date of August 31, 2012. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") previously advised employers to continue using that form beyond the expiration date until a new form was released. On March 8, 2013, USCIS finally released the new form. The new Form I-9 can be used immediately; however, there is a 60-day grace period, meaning the versions dated February 2, 2009, and August 7, 2009, are still valid for use until May 7, 2013. After that date, the new form must be used.

USCUS Issues New Version of the Form I-9

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service issued a new version of the Form I-9 on March 8, 2013. Although employers should begin using the new version of the Form I-9 right away, older forms dated 2/2/09 and 8/7/09 will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the new version of the Form I-9 will be accepted. The revision date is on the lower left corner of the form.?

Are You Using The New I-9?

Employers have until May 7 to start using the new I-9

New Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, Has Been Issued

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has finally announced that the new, revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is available as of March 8, 2013. Employers are required to use Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees. The current form expired on August 31, 2012, but employers were instructed to continue to use the old form until the new one was issued. That day has now arrived.

Legal Alert: The New Form I-9 Is Here March 8, 2013

Executive Summary: After a lengthy delay and extensive comment period, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released today a revised Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13 N). Employers may download the new form by visiting the USCIS web site at: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf. The government has made several significant changes to the Form I-9, which must be used by all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of new hires to confirm they are authorized to work in the United States. Although prior versions of the Form I-9 will remain valid for use until May 7, 2013, we encourage employers to begin using the revised form immediately.

I-9 Compliance 101

What is an I-9, and why do you have to have this?

Employers Should Begin Using Revised and Expanded Form I-9 March 11, 2013

Employers must complete United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Form I-9, which requires all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States. As we reported last fall, the most recent USCIS form contained the ominous notation “OMB No. 1615-0047; Expires 8/31/12” in the top right corner. While the USCIS announced that this version of the form was valid at the time, USCIS was still seeking public comment on a revised From I-9. On Friday, March 8, 2013, the USCIS published the long-awaited final version of this form in the Federal Register and posted the form on its website.

USCIS Finally Releases New Form I-9

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the release of the new I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form. All employers are required to use the new I-9 immediately to verify the identity and employment authorization eligibility of their employees.

Revised Form I-9 Effective March 8, 2013

A revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, the form that must be completed by all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every new hire, will be introduced on March 8, 2013, according to an advance copy of a notice to be published in the Federal Register the same day.

Revised Form I-9 Effective March 8, 2013

A revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, the form that must be completed by all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every new hire, will be introduced on March 8, 2013, according to an advance copy of a notice to be published in the Federal Register the same day. The new form will not be made publicly available until March 8, but the modifications are expected to include the expansion of the Form I-9 from one to two pages (not including the “List of Acceptable Documents” and form instructions), additional data fields (such as the new hire’s email address and phone number), enhanced Form I-9 instructions, and a revised layout.

Not All Electronic Storage is Created Equally

At least not in the view of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"). In August 2010, ICE enacted the Electronic Signature and Storage of Form I-9 Verification Rule. This rule allowed for electronic completion and storage of the I-9 Form, provided there was a clear audit trail of actions taken with respect to each form. Two years later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance for its agents and auditors with respect to collecting these forms in an audit or investigation and analyzing the audit trail. Click here for a copy of the guidance.

Is the I-9 Dead?

The rumors of the I-9's demise are greatly exaggerated.

Form I-9 Does Not Expire on August 31, USCIS Still Seeking Public Comment on New Version

Employers must complete United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Form I-9, which requires all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States. Eagle-eyed employers may have noticed that the current form contains the ominous notation “OMB No. 1615-0047; Expires 8/31/12” in the top right corner. Earlier this month, the USCIS announced that the most recent version of Form I-9 remains valid despite the August 31 OMB expiration date. Normally, members of the public are not required to respond to collections of information on a federal form unless the form displays a currently valid OMB Control Number and expiration date. Until the USCIS advises otherwise, employers should continue to use the current Form I-9, which USCIS last revised in August 2009.

Legal Alert: Obama's Executive Order and the I-9 Compliance Implications

The Obama Administration chose to offer immigration protection to younger undocumented immigrants through the "Deferred Action Process for Young People" program. What could this potentially mean for your company?

New Round of ICE I-9 Inspection Notices 06/06/2012

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has received reports regarding the issuance of Notices of Inspection (NOIs) by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Responding to Social Security Number Mismatches: Threading the Needle between Discrimination and Employment-Eligibility Liability

With the spring and summer fast approaching, many employers will start hiring additional employees and other temporary workers for the upcoming season. An upswing in hiring also means that employers may see an upswing in mismatched Social Security Numbers (SSN). Outside of the hiring context, employers also learn about employee SSN mismatches in other ways, from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) “no-match” letters to wage garnishment notices, state and local agency inquiries, and even employees themselves. The penalties for overreacting to or ignoring an SSN mismatch are severe.

I-9 Compliance: Avoiding Traps of New Federal Security Features

Hiring managers know that in order to legally utilize immigrant workers, they must accurately complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. But, there’s a redesigned federal document that is leading to confusion as businesses try to comply with the law.

Construction Alert: Protecting Your Company From The Federal Crackdown On Form I-9s

The numbers are staggering. As of Sept. 17, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) instituted 3,015 administrative and criminal investigations and issued 2,393 Notices of Inspection for Form I-9 compliance in 2011. That’s a 375 percent increase from 2008.

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Immigration and E-Verify

A recent article in Businesweek, A Verification System for New Hires Backfires makes clear just how complex the immigration issue is.

Obama Administration Increases Scrutiny of Employers’ I-9 Records

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency notified 1,000 employers that their personnel records will be audited by federal investigators to determine their compliance with employment eligibility verification laws.

Federal Judge Blocks Certain Provisions of Georgia Immigration Law

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash granted a temporary injunction on key parts of the Georgia Immigration law due to go into effect on July 1, 2011. The Judge ruled that the criminal provisions of the law, specifically those empowering police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects and those prohibiting the transport, harboring, and enticing of illegal aliens, ran afoul of federal law. The parts of the law that were not blocked will go into effect as scheduled, including those requiring state contractors and private employers to participate in E-Verify.

U.S. Citizenship Launches New Online Resource

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently launched a new online resource providing employer and employee guidance relating to the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form. "I-9 Central" provides employers with information relating to I-9 completion, examples of acceptable documents, and I-9 retention and storage guidance. Employers also can pose questions through a toll-free number and via email.

SSA Resumes Issuance Of "No Match" Letters

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has resumed sending out No-Match letters to employers. This ends a long break that started when the Department of Homeland Security's 2007 no-match regulation (now rescinded) was blocked by a court. SSA's new letter says that the recipient is not required to respond, and that the letter alone should not be the basis for taking any adverse action against the employee listed. If you do respond to the letter, the SSA may share the information with the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Justice.

New Round Of I-9 Audits

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has started to serve another round of I-9 Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to businesses nationwide. ICE is expected to issue NOIs to over 1,000 businesses in the next few days. The NOIs require in-person inspection of I-9 employment verification forms and payroll documentation. Targeted employers are given three business days to prepare for a meeting with federal officials for review of the requested documentation. In the recent past, ICE has selected businesses for audit based on specific leads and information regarding allegations of hiring unauthorized workers, exploiting workers, and paying unfair wages. ICE also has targeted certain industries, including hospitality, manufacturing, and construction. Fines for uncorrected technical and substantive errors on the forms range from $110 to $1,100. Higher fines apply for knowing employment of unauthorized workers. Even if you do not receive an NOI in this round of audits, we recommend that you take this opportunity to conduct an audit of your I-9 compliance and policies.

Updated USCIS Handbook Answers Common I-9 Questions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released an updated version of its I-9 Handbook for Employers. The new edition provides several critical revisions to the prior version of the Handbook (also known as Form M-274). Employers can view and download the updated version at the USCIS website.

Florida Governor Orders Agencies To Use E-Verify.

Effective immediately, Florida state agencies under the direction of the Governor, and any contractors or subcontractors with those agencies, are required to use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' E-Verify system to check the legal work authorization of employees.

Requesting Too Many Documents Can Be Costly.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, a division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of Section 274B of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This statute prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee that is based on an individual's national origin or citizenship status. The statute also prohibits unfair documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process, and retaliation or intimidation.

This Halloween, Don't be Tricked by New I-9 Rules on Birth Certificates From Puerto Rico

On July 1, 2010, Puerto Rico began issuing new certified copies of birth certificates to U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico. The new, more secure document is expected to strengthen certified copies of birth certificates, combat fraud, and protect the identities and credit of Puerto Rican-born U.S. citizens. After October 30, 2010, all certified copies of birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010, will be invalid. (Originally, the certified copies of birth certificates were to become invalid on September 30, 2010, but a thirty-day extension was granted on September 23, 2010.) The new law does not affect the citizenship status of U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico, but it does invalidate certified copies of birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010.

Abercrombie & Fitch Fined $1 Million After I-9 Audit

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday that it had settled with clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch on a fine in excess of $1,000,000 for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The violations related to an employer's obligation to verify its workers for employment eligibility.

ICE Targets Over 500 Businesses for I-9 Audits

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began serving Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to over 500 businesses nationwide on September 15, 2010. The NOIs require in-person inspection of I-9 employment verification forms and payroll documentation. Targeted employers are given three business days to prepare for a meeting with federal officials for review of the requested documentation.

Final Rule Allows Electronic Signature and Storage of Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9

Employers may now allow employees who are required to complete and sign a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (“Form I-9”), to sign the form electronically, and signed forms may be retained in an electronic format. On July 22, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a Final Rule, effective 30-days after publication in the Federal Register, that provides employers with the option to complete, sign, scan and store the Form I-9 electronically, as long as the standards promulgated by the rule are satisfied. In light of increasing government enforcement, employers, regardless of whether they maintain the forms electronically, should be aware of common Form I-9 mistakes, discussed herein.

The Road to Verification: U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on E-Verify, But Pennsylvania Moves Ahead.

Arizona's controversial immigration laws are being tested in the court of public opinion, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, but that's not stopping Pennsylvania from wading into the same potential quagmire.

E-VERIFY REDESIGNED (pdf).

On June 13, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled its latest redesign of the E-Verify website with the goal of improving its usability, security, accuracy and efficiency.

Is Your Company Next? 10 Tips to Help Prepare for an ICE I-9 Audit.

In June, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a strategic plan for work site enforcement through fiscal year 2014. One of the key initiatives of the plan is enforcement of U.S. immigration-related employment laws, in particular pursuing employers who knowingly violate the laws.

Green Card Redesign - The New Card Will Be Green!

On May 11, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will begin issuing a redesigned Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as the "Green Card." For the first time in over 30 years, newly-issued Green Cards will actually be green in color. The new card replaces the beige/tan card that has been used for the past several years. The new card incorporates several new security components, including storing biometric data and adding several features designed to prevent fraudulent reproduction of the card. Existing cards, produced in the older format, remain valid for the period indicated on the card. As individuals renew their Green Cards, the old cards will be phased out.

The New ICE Age: Are You Ready for an I-9 Audit?

In April 2009, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced new guidelines for worksite enforcement directing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to shift its focus and resources to investigating and prosecuting employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers in violation of U.S. immigration laws. This shift in strategy is based on the belief that employment is the driving force behind illegal immigration and that the only way to stem the tide is to eliminate that temptation. ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton recently stated one of the department's goals is to "create a culture of compliance within the employer community" by encouraging employers to follow U.S. immigration laws and by conducting I-9 audits and investigations and assess­ing fines against employers who flaunt the law. ICE will continue to arrest undocu­mented workers uncovered during a worksite enforcement action.

ICE Issues Third Round of I-9 Notices of Inspection.

On March 3, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the issuance of Form I-9 Notices of Inspection to 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. The Notices of Inspection require employers to allow ICE to inspect their I-9 forms to determine compliance with employment eligibility verification laws.

New E-Verify Law Goes Into Effect.

The recently passed law amending the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act places statutory obligations on employers that use E-Verify. Effective January 1, 2010, Illinois employers now are required to complete an attestation at the time of E-Verify enrollment. The form requires employers to attest to the following: (1) the employer and all its employees using E-Verify have received the Basic Pilot or E-Verify training materials and completed the online computer-based tutorial (CBT) training provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); (2) the employer has posted the required notice from DHS indicating that the company is enrolled in E-Verify in a place that is clearly visible; (3) the employer maintains the original signed attestation form, as well as all CBT certificates of completion and makes them available for copying and inspection at the request of the Illinois Department of Labor; and (4) the employer has posted the required anti-discrimination notice issued by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigrant-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in a place that is clearly visible. Employers already enrolled in E-Verify must sign the attestation before January 30, 2010.

The Federal Government and Immigration Enforcement in 2010: I-9 Audits, Site Visits and a Big Push for E-Verify.

The Obama administration's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the leadership of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano implemented a bold new worksite enforcement strategy and shifted the focus onto employers in 2009. The result was immediately noticeable, and a new era of stricter corporate compliance means the business community should now be on guard and expect an increase in I-9 audits, employer recordkeeping audits, unannounced site visits, and a big push for E-Verify for use by employers in 2010.

Federal Government Announces More I-9 Investigations.

Continuing the trend of increasing I-9 audits, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced on November 19 the issuance of Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 1,000 employers across the country. This round of inspections is focused on employers associated with "critical infrastructure." The employers were selected based upon investigative leads and intelligence and because of the businesses' connection to public safety and national security. While the names of the businesses were not released, it is suspected that employers based at or near airports, borders, military installations, and critical infrastructure facilities (such as power plants, chemical facilities, etc.) are likely targets. In the same press release, ICE indicated that its newly-implemented enforcement strategy initiated on April 30 has already resulted in 1,069 Form I-9 Inspections and Notices of Intent to Fine (NIF) totaling nearly $16 million.

ICE Issues Another Round of Immigration I-9 Notices of Inspection.

On November 19, 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced the issuance of Form I-9 Notices of Inspection to 1,000 employers nationwide. The Notices of Inspection require employers to allow ICE to inspect their I-9 forms to determine compliance with employment eligibility verification laws. This is ICE's second round of immigration audits this year. The first round occurred on July 1, 2009, when ICE issued Notices of Inspection to 652 businesses.

E-Verify Updates – Federal Contractors, Illinois Special Certification, Supreme Court Mulls Arizona Law.

President Barack Obama signed a $42.8 billion fiscal year 2010 homeland security appropriations bill that included a three-year extension of the federal government’s employment verification system – E-Verify. Approximately $137 million was budgeted to operate the system and further improve its accuracy and compliance rates. Although proposals to make E-Verify mandatory were not included in the final bill, there is clear support for the continuation and expansion of E-Verify as evidenced by the recent implementation of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requiring certain federal contractors to use the system.

Where Are Your I-9’s ? Can’t Seem to Find Them? Tell It to the Judge.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a nationwide I-9 audit initiative on July 1, 2009, issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 652 employers (see the ICE press release). This action confirms the new method of enforcement promised by representatives of the Obama Administration. In April 2009, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano indicated that ICE would focus its worksite enforcement program resources on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal workers and that ICE would use all available civil and administrative tools, including civil fines and debarment, to penalize and deter illegal employment.

DHS Throws In The Towel, Rescinds No-Match Rules.

Plagued by controversy and legal battles, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is rescinding the 2007 No-Match Rule in a regulation to be published in the October 7 Federal Register.

E-Verify: The Truth About Who Has to Use It (pdf).

Now, not only do all private employers with operations in certain states (Arizona, Mississippi, and South Carolina) have to use E-Verify, but also certain employers with certain federal contracts or subcontracts have to as well. Figuring out whether you are required to use E-Verify and what you need to do can prove challenging, so we've rounded up some helpful tips.

Enforcement Update – I-9 Audits and Criminal Sanctions.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a nationwide I-9 audit initiative on July 1, issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 652 employers (see the ICE press release). This action confirms the new method of enforcement promised by representatives of the Obama Administration. In April 2009, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano indicated that ICE would focus its resources in the worksite enforcement program on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal workers and that ICE would use all available civil and administrative tools, including civil fines and debarment, to penalize and deter illegal employment.

Which I-9 Form to Use?

First, the simple answer: employers should use the most recent Form I-9 found at www.uscis.gov/i-9. The form indicates the most recent revision date on the lower right hand corner: Rev. 08/07/09. Also acceptable is the immediately prior version of the form dated 02/02/09 on the lower right hand corner.

E-Verify for Federal Contractors Underway.

On November 14, 2008, the Bush Administration promulgated a final rule to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require certain federal contractors to use E-Verify. After four delays and a lawsuit filed to prevent implementation, the federal contractor/E-Verify regulation became effective on September 8.

Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule Goes Into Effect On September 8, 2009

On September 8, 2009 the government will begin requiring federal contractors to use E-Verify to verify the legal work status of newly-hired employees and current employees working directly on the covered federal contract. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is seeking an emergency order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to delay implementation but it appears unlikely to be granted.

E-Verify for Federal Contractors Takes Effect.

The regulation requiring certain federal contractors to use E-Verify goes into effect on September 8, 2009. Implementation of the regulation has been delayed four times and many questions remain unanswered. A simple Q&A might be helpful to sort out exactly what this regulation means to employers.

USCIS Updates Form I-9 to Reflect New Expiration Date

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new version of the form I-9, bearing a revision date of August 7, 2009. The new form will remain valid until August 31, 2012. The current version of the I-9 form can be downloaded from our website or from USCIS.gov.

E-Verify Requirement For Federal Contractors Now Delayed Until September 8.

Implementation of the regulation requiring certain federal government contractors and subcontractors to use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) E-Verify system has once again been delayed. Most recently scheduled to become effective on June 30, the regulation's effective date has been pushed back to September 8, 2009. The regulation was published on November 14, 2008, and was originally scheduled to take effect on January 15, 2009.

Keep Using the Expired I-9 Form.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the new I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form lists an expiration date of 06/30/2009 in the upper right-hand corner. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an update on June 26 requesting that OMB extend the document approval and stating that the form may continue to be used by employers until such approval is secured.

DHS: Social Security No-Match Regulation Will NOT Happen (But Does It Matter Anyway?)

At the same time the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the agency would follow-through on the federal contractor/E-Verify regulation, Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that DHS would be rescinding the Social Security “No-Match” regulation (see the DHS’ press release). Pro-business and pro-labor groups alike applauded the action. However, the end of the “No-Match” regulation resolves nothing for employers and seemingly returns us to a lack of clarity for employers on what steps to take when a No-Match letter is received.

DHS: E-Verify for Federal Contractors WILL Happen.

On July 8, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release announcing the agency’s support for the delayed regulation that would require certain federal contractors to use E-Verify to check employee work authorization. After four delays in implementation, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed the regulation will indeed become effective on September 8. Simultaneously, Secretary Napolitano announced DHS’ intention to rescind the Social Security No-Match rule, which has been on-hold for nearly two years due to litigation contesting the validity of the rule (see the article in this issue regarding the No-Match rule).

Anatomy of an I-9 Audit.

In light of the recent I-9 audit blitz conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 1, a review of what to expect during an I-9 audit might be instructive.

I-9 Audits Initiated by ICE Nationwide.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a nationwide I-9 audit initiative on July 1, issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 652 employers (see the ICE press release). This action confirms the new enforcement strategy promised by representatives of the Obama Administration. In April 2009, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano indicated that ICE would focus its resources in the worksite enforcement program on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal workers and that ICE would use all available civil and administrative tools (including civil fines and debarment) to penalize and deter illegal employment.

Current Version of I-9 Form Still Valid After June 30, 2009.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has verified that the current version of the I-9 form, dated February 2, 2009, will remain valid beyond its June 30, 2009 expiration date. USCIS is in the process of releasing a new version of the I-9 Form. Until the new form is released, employers must continue to use the current version of the I-9 Form to confirm employees authorization to work in the United States. The current version of the I-9 Form can be downloaded from our website at www.laborlawyers.com/I-9 or from www.uscis.gov.

E-Verify Reminders for Employers in South Carolina and Mississippi.

E-Verify, the Internet-based system operated by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of employees, is currently voluntary at the federal level. However, certain states have acted to require some or all employers to use the system. Arizona has the most sweeping law, requiring all employers to use E-Verify.

E-Verify Requirement for Federal Contractors Now Delayed Until September 8.

Implementation of the regulation requiring certain federal government contractors and subcontractors to use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) E-Verify system has once again been delayed. Most recently scheduled to become effective on June 30, the regulation’s effective date has been pushed back to September 8, 2009. The regulation was published on November 14, 2008, and was originally scheduled to become effective on January 15, 2009. This is the fourth time implementation of the regulation has been delayed.

Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule Delayed Until September 8, 2009.

The effective date of the Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule has been postponed once again. The new implementation date is now scheduled to be September 8, 2009, (extended from the most recent scheduled implementation date of June 30, 2009) and is the result of an agreement between the parties to the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups challenging the rule.

I-9 Compliance Challenges In The Hospitality Industry.

In the past several years, businesses in the hospitality industry have particularly borne the brunt of increased federal enforcement of the nation's immigration laws. Through high-profile tactics including raids of businesses large and small, the previous administration put employers on notice that hiring unauthorized workers could result in million dollar fines, jail time for company owners, and months of damaging press coverage.

Compliance Watch: E-Verify, State Laws, Enforcement and I-9s.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to provide updates and reminders on significant changes in immigration compliance on a regular basis. With all of the changes, stops, starts, delays and new rules, it is difficult to recall what changes are effective, which ones have been discontinued and which ones are soon to become effective. Below is a status report on significant compliance developments:

State Employment-Related Immigration Laws: When The I-9 Form Isn't Enough.

When comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level stalled, many state governments decided to take matters into their own hands. Since 2006, many states have enacted laws which provide for employer sanctions related to hiring unauthorized workers – independent of any monetary or criminal sanctions available for federal immigration violations.

Federal Contractor E-Verify Delayed Again;Updates on State Laws, Enforcement and I-9s.

The regulation requiring certain federal contractors to use E-Verify is once again being delayed from May 21 until June 30. A notice was published in the Federal Register on April 16 confirming the delay. This is the third delay in implementation of the rule which was originally expected to be effective on January 15, 2009. E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. The rule would require participation in E-Verify by certain federal contractors and their subcontractors.

Effective Date for Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule Delayed Again.

The federal government has announced a third delay in the implementation of the Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule. The new date for implementation of the rule is now June 30, 2009.

April Showers Bring... New I-9 Form (pdf).

Just when you thought you finally understood the I-9 form that went into effect in 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) produced a new form—one that went into effect on April 3, 2009.

New Form I-9 Effective April 3, 2009.

Starting April 3, 2009, employers must use the new version of the Department of Homeland Security's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Rev. 02/02/09). The Department of Homeland Security also has issued a revised Handbook for Employers to be used with the new Form I-9. The new form and handbook are available on the I-9 Compliance page of the Fisher & Phillips website. The new Form I-9, among other things, narrows the list of acceptable documents to show identity and work authorization and eliminates the use of expired documents. Please view our January 20, 2009 Legal Alert for a detailed description of the proposed changes. All employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each employee hired after November 6, 1986 to show that the employee is authorized to work in the United States. Additionally, the employer must re-verify documents for any employees whose work authorization documents are expiring.

New I-9 Form and Regulations Effective April 3.

Employers must begin using a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) effective today, April 3, 2009. The new form was originally scheduled to be required on February 2, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) delayed implementation until April 3. The new Form I-9, which can be found on the agency’s website, is dated 02/02/2009 on the lower right hand corner. USCIS also released a new Handbook for Employers that has been modified to reflect changes made to the new Form I-9 and corresponding regulations.

Compliance Watch: Obama Administration, E-Verify, and State Laws.

The world of immigration compliance continues to be a moving target for employers. In recent months, stricter state and federal government compliance provisions have been initiated, though the implementation of several of these measures has been delayed. A new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) was finalized in December, and then implementation was delayed from February to April (see the January 2009 issue of the Immigration eAuthority). A regulation requiring certain federal contractors to use E-Verify was published in November and then delayed twice and now is scheduled to be effective on May 21 (see Ogletree Deakins’ November 14, 2008 E-Alert). Several states have acted to require employers to use E-Verify, the Internet-based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees. Arizona requires all employers to use E-Verify, while the other states typically require certain employers with state government contracts to use the electronic verification system.

New I-9 Form Expected To Become Effective on April 3.

The implementation of the regulation requiring employers to use a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) is scheduled to go into effect on April 3. The new form was originally scheduled to be required on February 2, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) delayed implementation until April 3.

Delayed: New I-9 Form and E-Verify for Federal Contractors.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release on January 30 delaying the implementation of the regulation requiring employers to use a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). The new form was originally scheduled to be required on February 2, 2009. USCIS instead reopened the comment period on the new regulation through March 4 and currently plans to implement the new form and corresponding documentary changes on April 3. For an overview of the changes to the I-9 process contained in the original regulation, see the January 2009 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.

Federal Government Announces Delay in Implementing New I-9 Forms.

The Department of Homeland Security announced a delay in the implementation of the newest version of Form I-9, which was due to become effective today. In a last minute announcement issued on January 30, 2009, the Department postponed implementation of the new form until April 3, 2009. The administration will be considering public comments on changes to the form and may further delay its effective date. Until further notice, employers should continue using the June 5, 2007 version of Form I-9. The current version of Form I-9 can be downloaded from the I-9 Compliance section of the Fisher & Phillips website.

New I-9 Form Delayed To April 3.

On January 30, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release announcing that it was delaying implementation of the regulation requiring employers to use a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). The new form was originally scheduled to be required as of February 2. USCIS has reopened the comment period on the new rule through March 4 and currently plans to implement the new form and corresponding documentation changes on April 3.

Second Delay of Effective Date for Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule.

The federal government has agreed to delay the implementation of the Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule until at least May 21, 2009. This is the second delay. Previously, the federal government decided to postpone the implementation of the rule until February 20 following a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups.

USCIS Releases New I-9 Form and New Employment Eligibility Rules.

Beginning February 2, 2009, employers must use a new Form I-9 for all new hires and to reverify any employee with expiring employment authorization. Employers using the previous June 5, 2007 edition or earlier editions of the Form I-9 after February 2, 2009 may be subject to fines. Between now and February 2, you should continue to use the June 5, 2007 edition of the Form I-9.

Federal Contractor E-Verify Delayed Until February 20.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of the regulation requiring certain federal contractors to use E-Verify will be postponed from January 15 to February 20. E-Verify is the Internet-based system operated by DHS in cooperation with the Social Security Administration that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment authorization of newly-hired employees. The final regulation requires certain federal contractors to use E-Verify for new hires and to reverify existing employees working on covered contracts.

E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule Suspended.

On January 9, 2009, the federal government agreed to suspend the implementation of the E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule until February 20, 2009. The E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule was due to take effect on January 15, 2009, but the government agreed to delay implementation after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with other business groups, filed a lawsuit on December 23, 2008 challenging the legality of this law. A notice announcing the suspension is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register this week.

USCIS Revises Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) submitted to the Federal Register an interim final rule to revise Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The rule narrows the list of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents, requires employers to accept only unexpired documents, and makes several technical changes. The rule and the revised Form I-9 will be published in the Federal Register soon and will take effect 45 days after publication.

E-Verify Mandatory for Federal Contractors.

Starting January 15, 2009, certain federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the E-Verify system administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the eligibility of their employees to legally work in the United States. The final rule implementing the requirement was published on November 15 in the Federal Register.

DHS Tests Authority in Regulating Social Security No-Match Letters.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its final rule making employers accountable for resolving mismatched social security numbers of employees. The regulation, “Safe Harbor Procedures for Employers who Receive a No-Match Letter,” describes the legal obligations of an employer when the employer receives a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or notice from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the internal investigative arm of DHS. It establishes “safe-harbor” procedures that the employer can follow in response to such a letter or notice to avoid being imputed with constructive knowledge that an employee targeted in a no-match letter is a person not authorized to work in the United States.

OFCCP Issues New Form I-9 Inspection Procedures.

The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a directive on October 2, 2008, effective immediately, regarding inspection procedures for OFCCP compliance officers (COs). The directive applies to reviews of Forms I-9 during an on-site compliance review.

Final Rule Issued about E-Verify.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued a final rule on whether most federal contractors must prove that their employees are in the United States legally. The rule, which was released last week, mandates companies to use E-Verify. The system compares employee information to electronic government records.

New E-Verify Rules For Federal Contractors.

A final rule just published in the Federal Register amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require certain federal contractors and sub-contractors to use the E-Verify system. All federal solicitations issued and contracts awarded after January 15, 2009 will include a clause related to the new rule.

The Department of Homeland Security Releases An Updated No-Match Letter Rule.

On October 23, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its supplemental final No-Match Letter Rule and announced that it will take effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register on a not yet scheduled date. The supplemental final rule does not substantively change the safe harbor procedures described in the rule as originally written and issued in August 2007 or as supplemented in March 2008. The DHS will seek to lift the preliminary injunction imposed by Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California in October 2007. Once the injunction is lifted, employers who receive No-Match letters issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) but follow the safe harbor procedures described in the No-Match Letter Rule, will be sheltered from a charge of constructive knowledge that the individual named in the letter was not authorized to work in the United States. DHS takes the position that its supplemental final rule addresses the issues raised by Judge Breyer and if the injunction is lifted, will take immediate steps to implement the rule. Judge Breyer has rescheduled a status conference in the case from October 31 to November 21, 2008.

OFCCP Issues New Form I-9 Inspection Procedures.

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a directive on October 2, 2008, effective immediately, regarding inspection procedures for an OFCCP compliance officer (CO) when reviewing Forms I-9 during an on-site compliance review.

To E or Not to E? Should an Employer use E-Verify?

Employers are scratching their heads wondering whether to use E-Verify. While it typically is a case-by-case decision that can be affected by a multitude of factors, here is a partial list of key employer considerations regarding the use of E-Verify.

E-Verify Update in Rhode Island, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Various states have passed legislation or issued Executive Orders mandating E-Verify participation for public employers, state government contractors, or even all employers in the state. The court decision upholding Arizona’s law requiring all employers to use E-Verify strongly suggests these state efforts will be found valid. Here are updates on developments over the past month:

U.S. Passport Card Valid for I-9s and Certain North American Travel.

On August 8, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the new U.S. Passport Card may be used for employment eligibility verification purposes. The Passport Card is considered a valid “List A” document that may be presented by newly hired employees during the I-9 employment eligibility verification process. As the document contains a photo and verifies both the identity and work authorization of the card holder, it can singularly satisfy the employee’s I-9 documentation requirements and also can be accepted by employers participating in E-Verify. For more information, see the USCIS press release.

Will E-Verify Be Extended, Become Mandatory or Be Terminated?

E-Verify, the voluntary electronic employment verification system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has been at the center of efforts to improve the employment eligibility verification system and enhance worksite enforcement efforts. In 1996, Congress introduced the Basic Pilot Program, the predecessor to the current E-Verify, as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Current authorization and funding for E-Verify is set to expire on November 1, 2008. On July 31, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 6633) that would extend E-Verify for five years. The bill has moved to the Senate for consideration where competing bills have also been introduced, including one that would make E-Verify permanent and another that would recapture immigrant visas (green cards) that were authorized but went unused between 1992 and 2007.

Missouri Requires Certain Employers To Use E-Verify; Colorado Issues An Update.

Missouri joined the growing list of states that have passed immigration measures impacting employers. Governor Matt Blunt signed House Bill 1549 which will require (as of January 1, 2009) the following entities to participate in a federal work authorization program (currently known as “E-Verify”): any public (government entity) employer and any business entity that applies for a contract or grant in excess of $5,000 with the state of Missouri or one of its political subdivisions or applies for a tax credit, tax abatement, or loan from the state of Missouri. Although private employers are not required to participate in E-Verify, the law encourages them to do so. For a complete summary of the law, see the July 8 Missouri eAuthority.

2008 Immigration Update Video.

Melissa Azallion, Esquire of Nexsen Pruet, recently lead a seminar to update professionals about changes in Federal and South Carolina immigration law. Watch this video to learn more about: the details of this new law, E-Verify - the pros and cons of enrollment and new requirements for federal contractors, a thorough analysis of the SC Illegal Immigration Reform Act and how it will impact your business, and the importance of I-9 compliance in preparing for a federal or state audit.

Proposed Rule for Use of E-Verify for Federal Contracts and Subcontracts.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation Counsel (FAR Counsel) issued a proposed rule to implement the President's admendments to Executive Order 12989. Comments to the proposed rule are due August 11, 2008.

USCIS Issues New Version of Form I-9.

The USCIS issued an updated version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for immediate use. All employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each employee hired after November 6, 1989 to show that the employee is authorized to work in the United States.

E-Verify Mandatory for Federal Contractors.

An Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush on June 6 will require federal government contractors to use E-Verify, the electronic employment verification system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

States Continue the Battle to Require E-Verify.

While Congress remains unable to agree on immigration reform, the Executive Branch has acted (see article above) and individual states continue to move forward with immigration legislation of their own.

President Signs Executive Order Requiring All Federal Contractors to Use E-Verify.

President George W. Bush recently signed an Executive Order requiring all federal government contractors to use E-Verify to confirm the employment authorization of new hires and persons assigned to perform work on future federal contracts. E-Verify is the Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration to electronically verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees.

Arizona and Mississippi Employers are Required to Use E-Verify (pdf).

Last month, we provided you with information about the E-Verify program. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also offers another program: the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program. The stated goal is “to help restore the integrity of the immigration system of the United States by utilizing industry outreach and self-policing.” Let’s just say IMAGE takes E-Verify and “kicks it up a notch.”

Work Authorization in the Electronic Age (pdf).

I-9 compliance and work authorization are hot topics in the human resources world. Two government programs, E-Verify and IMAGE, are aimed at addressing the problems employers face in maintaining a legal workforce. This article addresses E-Verify. The IMAGE program, which encompasses E-Verify, will be addressed in a subsequent E*Zine.

Seven States Now Mandate the Use of E-Verify.

Across the country, states continue to enact their own employment-related immigration legislation, including legislation requiring certain employers to use E-Verify to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. Currently, seven states have implemented laws requiring certain employers, and state contractors to use E-Verify. The seven states mandating the use of E-Verify are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.

Update on No-Match Regulations.

On March 21, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security released a Supplemental Proposed Rulemaking for the no-match rule previously published in August 2007 (the 2007 Final Rule). Interested persons have 30 days to submit comments on the supplemental regulation. The 2007 Final Rule proposed amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act by establishing safe harbor procedures for employers who receive Social Security Administration "no-match" letters.

Reminder: Employers Must Begin Using The Revised I-9 Form By December 26th.

As previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") released the revised I-9 form on November 7, 2007. Employers are required to use the newly revised I-9 form no later than December 26, 2007. Employers who do not use the revised I-9 form on or after December 26, 2007 will be subject to all applicable fines and penalties under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Status of "No-Match" Letter Regulation and Compliance with Continued Immigration Enforcement Efforts (pdf).

This edition gives a status report on the Department of Homeland Security's rule, announced in August 2007, addressing what employers should do upon receipt of a "no-match" letter from the Social Security Administration. Implementation of the rule was recently enjoined by a federal judge, and DHS is working on a revised rule. The article goes on to provide pointers on what employers can do in response to no-match letters pending publication of the revised rule.

DHS Appeals Injunction to Social Security No-Match Rule.

On December 5, 2007, Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") Secretary Michael Chertoff released a statement confirming that DHS filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting that the court lift the injunction against implementing the DHS no-match rule. On October 10, 2007, a federal court in California issued a preliminary injunction preventing DHS and the Social Security Administration ("SSA") from implementing the rule entitled Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter. The court enjoined SSA from sending out the no-match letters because the letters were to include DHS language threatening possible criminal and civil liability for employers that failed to respond to the letters.

I-9 Alert: Employers Must Be Using New Form By December 26, 2007 (pdf).

Employer who fail to use the form will be subject to applicable penalties.

Immigration Alert - New I-9 Form Released.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has just released a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for immediate use and a new M-274, Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9.

USCIS Releases New I-9 Form (pdf).

The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”), recently announced the release of a new I-9 form for employers to use in verifying an employee’s authorization to work in the United States. The changes to the I-9 are relatively minor.

USCIS Releases Revised I-9 Form.

On November 7, 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the revised I-9 form and the updated Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9. The revised I-9 form reduces the number of documents employers may accept for newly hired employees during the employment eligibility verification process in compliance with the reduction requirements of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Judge Suspends Social Security No-Match Regulations.

On October 10, 2007, a San Francisco district court judge granted an order preventing the implementation of the new Social Security No-Match regulations. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer halted over 140,000 no-match letters from being issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to employers relating to approximately 8 million employees. This order was granted in connection with a lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and other organizations on the grounds that the new regulations could lead to mass layoffs in low-wage industries. The order is in effect until a final decision can be reached in the case (which could be many months).

Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction in No-Match Litigation.

On October 10th, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") rule that would use Social Security mis-match records as a tool for immigration enforcement.

Immigration Alert - No-Match Regulations Placed On Hold Until October 1.

On Friday, August 31, a federal district court judge granted a nationwide temporary restraining order placing a hold on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new Social Security No-Match regulations. The final regulations were scheduled to take effect on September 14 (see the Ogletree Deakins’ E-Alert dated August 10, 2007.) The ruling also puts a hold on the federal government’s plan to start sending out No-Match Letters today.

DHS Mismatch Letter Published Today (pdf).

The final mismatch or "no match" regulation appears in today's Federal Register. Thus, the rule will be in effect September 14, 2007. Employers need to get ready now.

New Regulations Issued Regarding Social Security No-Match Letters.

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented new rules regarding Social Security No-Match Letters. Under the regulations, new specific legal obligations are imposed on employers that receive the so-called "no-match" letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). A no-match letter may be issued when an employee's social security number does not match the employee's name in the SSA database.

DHS Safe Harbor Rule for SSA Mismatch Letters (pdf).

Today,the Department of Homeland Security announced publication of a final rule establishing safe harbor procedures for employers who receive an SSA mismatch letter or notice from DHS that an individual lacks authorization to work.