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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Reveals "myE-Verify"

On October 6, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the launch of its "myE-Verify" website. According to USCIS, myE-Verify is "a one-stop shop for employees to create and maintain secure personal accounts and access new features for identity protection" and "signifies a significant step forward for added transparency, features, and identity protection" related to E-Verify.

Immigration Law Does Not Preempt State Wage and Hour Claims, Says Court

In case there was any question, an Indiana staffing company, Access Therapies, learned late last month that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not absolve employers of their responsibilities under state wage and hour laws. The Southern District of Indiana denied Access Therapies’ motion to dismiss a counterclaims filed by a Philippine citizen who had signed several agreements and promissory notes with the company in return for its sponsorship of his H-1B petition.

EB-2 India Retrogresses Significantly in November

As predicted in the August/September 2014 issue of the Immigration eAuthority, the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) Visa Bulletin for November 2014 indicates that the priority date for the employment-based second preference category (EB-2) for Indian nationals will retrogress more than four years, back to February 15, 2005. The Visa Bulletin sets out per country priority dates that regulate when an individual may begin the final phase of the “green card” process, either through adjustment of status or consular processing of an immigrant visa application. Those with a priority date that is earlier than the date listed for that visa category and country can proceed with their application.

I-94 Errors: How to Address Missing or Incorrect I-94 Cards

Since July of 2014, it has been reported that certain visa petition approval notices (Form I-797s) have been issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) without I-94 cards attached. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued I-94 cards with incorrect names, duration of stay dates, and visa classification information. These errors have been occurring regularly over the last several months. The I-94 card is a crucial document showing that an employee entered the United States legally and is authorized to work for a sponsoring U.S. employer until the expiration of the card. If the card is missing or I-94 information is incorrect, the employer may be exposed to liability for unauthorized employment and problems may arise when the employee travels or extends his or her visa.

U.S. Diversity Visa Opens October 1, 2014, May Help Workers Obtain Residency More Quickly

The U.S. Department of State has announced that it will open the Diversity Visa lottery registration for FY 2016 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. The program allows nationals of states with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to obtain permanent residence (i.e., a green card) in the United States. Registration for the diversity visa (DV) program is free. On October 1, 50,000 immigrant visas will become available. The lottery may allow certain employees to obtain permanent work authorization, more quickly and at lower cost, when normal routes are unavailable.

Republicans Fail on Effort to Prevent President Obama from Taking Executive Action on Immigration After Mid-Term Elections in November 2014

On September 18, 2014, the Senate voted on a Republican-led measure to prohibit President Barack Obama from unilaterally granting deportation relief to any undocumented immigrant.

Jackson Lewis Employers’ Immigration Update

ICE Levies $2M Fine against Hotel for I-9 Related Violations A Salt Lake City-based hotel will have to pay nearly $2 million for hiring unauthorized workers, including illegal aliens. The hotel will avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for its full cooperation with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation and for taking action to correct its hiring practices. According to the non-prosecution agreement, several lower-level employees and mid-level managers conspired to rehire unauthorized workers amidst an administrative audit of I-9 employee verification forms that began in September 2010. The hotel was notified that 133 employees were not authorized to work in the United States; however, the conspirators created three temporary employment agencies, essentially shell companies, to rehire 43 of the unauthorized, and most of the workers returned under different names using fraudulent identity documents.

Immigration eAuthority (September 2014)

Major Retrogression in the EB-2/India Immigrant Visa Category Expected in the Fall of 2014; Cap-Subject H-1Bs Will Be Effective October 1; USCIS 2014 Ombudsman Annual Report Confirms Increased Scrutiny for L-1 Intracompany Transferrees.

Business Immigration Now: DOJ Issues Guidance on Citizenship/Immigration Status and National Origin Discrimination in Employment

The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under this law, employers discriminate when they treat workers differently in the hiring and firing process because a worker is or is not a U.S. citizen, because of a worker’s particular immigration status, or because of where a worker is from or appears to be from. Additionally, employers may not treat workers differently for these reasons when completing the Form I-9 and E-Verify process.

Lesser Known DOL Regulations: "Bona Fide" Terminations for H-1B Workers

It probably falls into the category of cult classic, but one of my favorite movies is 2000’s “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” starring George Clooney. To me, it is the Coen brothers at their finest. Loosely based on Homer’s “Odyssey,” the movie follows Everett McGill (Clooney) and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississippi. At one point later in the movie, Everett finds his ex-wife and their kids. His daughter explains that her mom’s new beau is “bona fide:”