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Customs and Border Protection to Begin Collecting Exit Data on Certain Foreign Nationals

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that it will begin collecting biographic and biometric data from some foreign national travelers in a test program when they depart the United States at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer Rejects DACA Recipient's Document Discrimination Claim

The U.S. Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) recently published Gonzalez-Hernandez v. Arizona Family Health Partnership,1 an interesting decision that illustrates the conflict between state laws and the administration’s deferred action policies that provide work authorization to undocumented immigrants.

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.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Extension Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume accepting Requests for Premium Processing for all H-1B extension petitions effective July 13, 2015. Premium processing for H-1B extensions had been suspended on May 26, 2015 so that USCIS could dedicate staff to the implementation of a new rule allowing certain H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization application. USCIS clarified that it will now accept an I-907 premium processing request on any H-1B extension petition, including pending petitions filed during the premium processing moratorium. If an I-907 was filed and/or received by USCIS prior to July 13, 2015, it will be rejected.

USCIS Completes Return of H-1B Petitions Not Selected in the Lottery

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 14, 2015, that it completed processing the return of fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in its “computer-generated random selection process” commonly referred to as “the lottery.” If a cap-subject case was not selected, it should have been returned to the petitioner or attorney of record by now. If you have not received a receipt or a returned package by July 20, 2015, you are encouraged to contact USCIS.

Fifth Circuit Hears Arguments on the Proposed Reversal of the Block on Executive Actions

A three-judge panel in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, hearing arguments in State of Texas v. United States of America, questioned the attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice and 26 states about whether the block on President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration should be reversed.

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.

Preview of Potential Changes to EB-5 Immigration Program: Source of Financing for Construction and Hospitality Projects

With the impending expiration of the Immigrant Investor Visa Program, also known as EB-5, in September, bipartisan legislation has been proposed in Congress to renew and improve the Program. The proposed changes could significantly impact the attractiveness of the program to investors, particularly in certain parts of the country. The following overview describes the proposed changes to this important immigration program which has provided billions of dollars in financing for hospitality, real estate, and other sectors in the United States over the past decade.

IRS Notice 2015-43 Addresses Expatriate Health Coverage

New guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) leaves in place the limited Affordable Care Act (ACA) exemptions set out in the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 (EHCCA). IRS Notice 2015-43 (Notice) permits a good faith interpretation of the EHCCA exemptions and attempts to reconcile the EHCCA’s definition of “expatriate health plan” with the definition announced in prior Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidance.

Business Immigration Zone (BIZ): It's Easier Being Green

There is good news for employers who hope to obtain employment-based visas for certain job categories.