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Seyfarth Synopsis: Following the wave of Notices of Inspection (NOI) at 77 Northern California businesses last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents are continuing to spread the cheer with NOIs targeting businesses in Southern California this week.  Serving NOIs throughout the greater Los Angeles area, the inspections appear industry agnostic.  The NOIs delivered by HSI agents and auditors notify businesses that they must produce their employees’ Forms I-9, Employment Eligibility Verifications within 72 hours.  The notices often include a list requesting additional company information and documents as well.

Local HSI offices are keeping ICE’s Deputy Director Thomas Homan’s promise of increasing its activities not just across the nation but more specifically targeting sanctuary cities and states like California.  It is important to note that businesses receiving the NOIs are not all within the service, manufacturing, agriculture, or traditional “infrastructure” sectors. Employers across industries should take a look at their Form I-9s and overall immigration compliance – the time to figure things out is not during the 72 hours after a NOI is issued.

Continue Reading California Continues to Shine Under ICE’s Spotlight

Trivia: Each year, March and which other month end on the same day of the week?

Where are we this month?



  • Chinese nationals experienced some advances with 9+ weeks in the EB-2 category and 8+ weeks in the EB-3 category.

While the EB-5 category for Regional Center filings is now available for Chinese nationals with a priority date of July 22, 2014, it remains unavailable for all other nationals.  Non-Regional Center filings are current for all with the exception of Chinese nationals where we see a July 22, 2014 priority date.

  • Indian nationals also advance modestly moving forward by 1 week in the EB-2 category and 4 weeks in the EB-3 category.
  • Philippine nationals continue to be current in the EB-2 category with an 8 week advancement in the EB-3 category
  • Of particular importance, filing dates for certain religious workers are now current with a slight backlog for Mexican, El Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and Honduran nationals.


  • For family-based sponsorship, Philippine nationals advance 10+ weeks while all other nationals advance approximately 1+ week in the F-1 category.
  • In all other family-based categories, we continue to see similar modest advancements, with the exclusion of the F-3 classification for Mexican nationals, which is not subject to any changes on this month’s bulletin.

Continue Reading March 2018 Visa Bulletin

By Dawn M. Lurie and Alexander Madrak

True to its word, last week Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) at seventy-seven Northern California businesses. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents spread out across northern California, serving NOIs in Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Jose at the end of January. No employees or employers were arrested at the time; instead, HSI agents notified businesses that they are being audited and provided seventy-two hours to produce their employees’ Forms I-9, Employment Eligibility Verifications.

The worksite actions follow ICE’s Deputy Director Thomas Homan’s comments that ICE would increase its activities in California after designating itself an official sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants following the passage of AB 450. With Homan’s nomination to be the Director of ICE, these and other comments by Homan indicate ICE may very well follow through on its promises—both that enforcement will increase by “four to five times” this year and that California may bear a disproportionate brunt of the action.

Employers across industries should proactively prioritize addressing immigration compliance by:

  1. conducting careful internal assessments;
  2. conducting Form I-9 audits (with the assistance of competent counsel);
  3. reviewing and/or establishing procedures to ensure employees are prepared to deal with visits from ICE;
  4. creating and updating immigration compliance polices; and,
  5. providing training and resources in order to ensure the Form I-9 process is captured correctly.

Prioritizing immigration compliance today will prevent problems and minimize exposure tomorrow.

Trivia: Who was the only U.S. President to serve in two nonconsecutive terms?

Where are we this month?


  • Chinese nationals experienced some advances with 7+ weeks in the EB-2 category and 22 weeks in the EB-3 category.

Of note is the EB-5 category for Regional Center filings remains unavailable and for direct investment there is no movement in the Final Action Dates; and moving backward 4 weeks to September 1, 2014 for Date of Filing Application cut off.

  • Indian nationals also advance modestly with 2 weeks in the EB-2 category and 4 weeks in EB-3.
  • Philippine nationals continue to be current in the EB-2 category with a 2 week advancement in the EB-3 category

Continue Reading February 2018 Visa Bulletin

By: Dawn M. Lurie, Alexander Madrak and Greg Morano*

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued automatic extensions of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries from Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, and most recently, El Salvador. Employers should be prepared to recognize these automatically extended EADs and correctly handle the resulting influx of Form I-9 updates.

What’s the Latest on TPS?

While the government is back in business, the path to immigration reform seems as tumultuous as ever. The chances to reverse the termination of TPS are slim, and the impact is slowly beginning to sink in for TPS beneficiaries and employers alike. An Immigration Forum Fact Sheet on TPS notes: “Recent data estimate that TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti contribute a combined $4.5 billion in pre-tax wages or salary income annually to our nation’s gross domestic product.”

What Do Employers Need to Know?

Continue Reading Auto Extension Influx: Automatic Extension of El Salvador TPS EADs

  1. By: Mahsa Aliaskari

Update: At midnight the federal government shut down.  We will keep employers updated as details of immigration related closings and the negotiations in Congress become available.

Seyfarth Synopsis: As we wait to hear the fate of yet another temporary extension to continue funding the government after midnight on Saturday January 20th – employers should know how a shutdown may impact processing of immigration petitions and immigration programs.

Continue Reading Déjà vu – Government Shutdown and Impacts on Immigration

By: Dawn M. Lurie and Alexander Madrak

With the recent slew of news from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) concerning Temporary Protected Status (TPS), it is important employers know how to update Forms I-9 for TPS beneficiaries.  Over the last several months, we reported on USCIS terminating TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti while deferring a decision for Honduras.  The debate in Congress surrounding the loss of status to almost 300,000 individuals continues to intensify.  Employers are also affected by the phase out of TPS as they consider how to handle the TPS beneficiaries in their workforce, some of whom have been with companies for many years.

Continue Reading More Form I-9 Confusion for Employers: TPS and Limited Automatic Extensions

By: Dawn M. Lurie, Alexander Madrak, and Greg M. Morano*

Seyfarth Synopsis: On January 13, 2018, per a federal district court order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals and requests from certain individuals.  On January 16, 2018, the United States government stated its intent to appeal the district court’s injunction to both the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Continue Reading DACA: Drama over Dreamer’s Program Continues

By: Dawn M. Lurie

Seyfarth Synopsis: “ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”  Referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) early morning raids at nearly a hundred franchisee convenience stores across the nation, the ensuing public comments from agency officials confirm that 2018 will be a year of increased immigration enforcement.  ICE investigations can result in the arrest of employers and employees and the imposition of large-scale fines; under the current Administration, though, it’s not only ICE that companies need to consider.  Following the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order, a myriad of reinvigorated agencies that span all parts of the government have increased immigration-related oversight.  Employers should proactively prioritize addressing immigration compliance. 

Continue Reading Following a Long Thaw, ICE Returns with Increased Worksite Enforcement

By: Dawn Lurie and Alexander Madrak

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Department of Homeland Security ends Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti, affecting close to 300,000 individuals.  Employers should be prepared to handle the influx of work authorization automatic extensions, expiring work authorizations, and other Form I-9 issues that may arise.

What Happened?

On Monday, January 8, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador.  El Salvador’s TPS designation was set to expire on March 9, 2018, but Secretary Nielsen delayed termination for 18 months to September 9, 2019 in order to “provide for an orderly transition.”  This decision affects an estimated 200,000 Salvadoran foreign nationals.

Similarly, Nicaragua’s TPS was set to expire on January 5, 2018, but was extended to January 5, 2019.   The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also previously announced the termination of TPS for Haiti.  Haiti’s TPS termination was delayed for 18 months from the original expiration, with TPS now terminating on July 22, 2019.  Together, these decisions affect an estimated 5,300 Nicaraguan and 59,000 Haitian foreign nationals.

Continue Reading TPS Ending for El Salvador, Haiti & Nicaragua, and a Short Reprieve for Hondurans Still Waiting to Know Their Fate – Now What?