Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) levied a historic $95 million settlement against a national tree company in connection with a six year investigation by ICE into the company’s hiring of undocumented workers and other immigration violations. This settlement represents the largest payment ever received in an immigration case. Moreover, it demonstrates ICE’s commitment to immigration enforcement and deterring U.S. employers from knowingly hiring undocumented workers.
Continue Reading U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Levies Record $95 Million Civil Settlement for Immigration Violations

On Sept. 5, 2017, Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  DACA is a mode of temporary relief given to children (now college-aged or older) who entered the United States without inspection with their parents and allowed them to apply for temporary work authorization if they met certain criteria.  This policy was established through an Executive Order issued June 2012 by the Obama Administration.  Since then, DACA has undergone scrutiny and much debate, and with the change of administrations, it has been clear that this policy would change, if not end.

AG Jeff Sessions announced that DACA will end, with a wind-down process overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Effective immediately, the following will happen as per the recently released DHS memo:

  • DHS will adjudicate, on a case by case basis, initial requests that have been accepted as of today (Sept. 5).
  • After today (Sept. 5), DHS will reject all DACA first-time applications.
  • DHS will adjudicate all properly-filed renewal applications as of today, and will continue to adjudicate applications for those whose benefits will expire by March 5, 2018.  Those applications will only be accepted until Oct. 5, 2017.  All other renewal requests will be rejected.
  • Current approvals and valid employment authorization document (EAD) cards will not be revoked and will remain valid until the expiration dates.
  • No new advance parole (AP) applications (an AP is permission to travel) will be accepted or approved and current/pending AP applications will be closed (fees refunded).  Currently, valid Advance Parole will still be valid and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will retain the discretion to admit a person based on the AP.
  • Discretion will be retained by DHS to terminate or deny deferred action at any time deemed appropriate.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not provide this information proactively to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP for enforcement proceedings, but this policy may be modified.

Continue Reading Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces the Rescission of DACA

ICEIn the Final Decision and Order dated April 27, 2016, Administrative Law Judge Ellen K. Thomas ordered Golden Employment Group, Inc. (Golden Employment), a staffing and temporary-employment company, to pay
Continue Reading Employer’s Use of E-verify is Not a Substitute for Completing I-9 Forms, Fined More Than $200K in Civil Penalties

U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) announced that it has signed up 25 Puerto Rican companies to its IMAGE system, increasing the total number of companies enrolled in its program to approximately 225 employers. This represents a 12.5% increase in enrollment for a federal program that had not previously gained much traction with US employers. By way of background, IMAGE is a Federal program, established in 2006, that is best described as E-Verify Plus, with ICE giving employers a two-year audit pass as long as they pass a minimum compliance threshold, including having ICE forensic auditors review company historical I-9 records.

So, what is going on in Puerto Rico to cause 25 companies to enroll on the same day? For now we have no answers, but it could be part of a government initiative to mitigate fines against the affected employers pursuant to an active I-9 investigation. One thing is for sure, the local USCIS office has been successful in its IMAGE recruiting drive. In the meantime, let’s address the benefits IMAGE gives employers:
Continue Reading ICE Increases its Enrollment in IMAGE by 12.5% in One Day!

Many employers are familiar with the following scenario: You hire someone, put them on payroll and deduct taxes from their checks automatically – just like you do with all employees. You then find out through an audit by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) or by the employee coming clean that he or she is using a fake social security number. You consequently terminate employment on the grounds that they violated the company’s “honesty policy” or simply because he or she is not authorized to work in the United States. So what does Social Security do with the payments that the employee has made?
Continue Reading Where do Social Security Payments Made by Undocumented Workers Go?

All Indian consulates in the United States are changing their visa service contractor, so applicants for Indian visas should expect significant delays in May and June 2014. Advance planning is strongly recommended by anyone seeking an Employment Visa (EV) or a Business Visa (BV) to India.

Earlier this month, the Embassy of India in the United States announced that it is changing the company it uses for visa application support services. The current service provider, BLS International Limited (BLS), will be closing all Indian visa support services at close of business on May 20, 2014. The Indian government says that beginning May 21, 2014, Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd. will provide all Indian visa application support services, but applicants should be prepared for delays as the new company begins accepting applications.Continue Reading Heavy delays expected with Indian visa processing