By: Angelo A. Paparelli  [1]

Seyfarth Summary: In 2004, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – an agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – created its Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Directorate.  Since then, FDNS’s immigration officers have frequently appeared, without prior notice, at the business premises of employers that have petitioned USCIS to authorize the employment of noncitizens on U.S. work visas.  USCIS and FDNS describe these encounters as mere “site visit” intended to confirm the facts stated in employment-based nonimmigrant visa petitions.  As part of its “site visit” program, FDNS typically asks for voluminous documentary records, and demands physical access beyond the employer’s front desk in order to photograph the worksite.

This blog post challenges FDNS site visits as unlawful investigative activities that are conducted in violation of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA).  The HSA contains an express prohibition limiting the legal authority of USCIS solely to the “adjudication” of requests for immigration benefits,  such as work and travel permission, lawful permanent residency and naturalization.  Investigative activities and intelligence gathering under the HSA, the blog post explains, may only be conducted by two other DHS component agencies –  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The blog post therefore offers guidance to employers on practical strategies to consider when FDNS knocks at the door.


Continue Reading Challenging Unlawful Demands and Site Visits of USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS)

By: Randy Johnson and Scott Mallery

President Signs Coronavirus Legislation. Wednesday night, the President signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201), which will require employers with less than 500 employees to provide two weeks of paid sick leave for six itemized categories of leave related to the coronavirus crisis. The Act

By Jason E. Burritt and Michelle Gergerian

Seyfarth Synopsis: President Trump expanded the order restricting travel to the United States from most European countries — the Schengen Area, specifically —  to now include the UK and Ireland.

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, President Trump revised the proclamation to suspend travel to the US by

By: Angelo Paparelli

Seyfarth Synopsis: The legal cannabis business is spreading like weeds.  As several states and foreign countries have enacted laws decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, a fresh rush of reefer madness has overtaken the business world.  Investments in the cannabis industry are now available as ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), and marijuana startups are proliferating at every step along the supply chain.

Not to be a downer, but this blogger worries that many imbibers of high and heady times may not realize that engaging in, and even facilitating, the marijuana trade carries risks – not the least of which are the chockablock provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that portend bad trips aplenty.

Continue Reading Weed and Worry — The Immigration Consequences of Engaging in the Cannabis Trade

By David Warburg and Mark Katzoff

Seyfarth Synopsis: This article discusses the impact of the newly adopted EB-5 regulations on the disclosure obligations of ongoing EB-5 offerings.

The obligation to make full and fair disclosure under the US federal securities laws is most often viewed by many, if not most sponsors who are seeking

By Dawn Lurie, Mark KatzoffAngelo A. Paparelli and Randy Johnson

Seyfarth Synopsis: On July 24, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigration-benefits component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),   published a final regulation on “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization” (the “Rule”) to reform the EB-5 program in the Federal Register.  Absent successful court challenges, or the passage by Congress of EB-5 legislation, the Rule will take effect on November 21, 2019.  The Rule makes pronounced changes to the EB-5 program, including a significant increase in the investment threshold, conferral of exclusive authority to USCIS to designate Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), and retention of priority dates for petitioners. The text of the Rule can be found here.

Continue Reading USCIS Publishes EB-5 Modernization Rule: the Impact on the EB-5 Program

By Randy Johnson and Dawn Lurie

Seyfarth Synopsis: On July 10, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044 – the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019,” on the Suspension Calendar[1] with a bipartisan vote of 365-65. The legislation, originally introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), would eliminate the existing “per-country cap” for employment-based immigrants while also increasing the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas.

The current employment-based system for immigrant visas (i.e. “green cards”) is based on “per-country caps” which set a cap, or quota, per-country at 7% of the total amount of employment-based green cards issued annually by the United States.[2] As one employer-based coalition put it, “[t]his means that India and China, which account for over 40% of the world’s population are allowed the same number of visas as Greenland, a country that accounts for 0.001% of the world’s population.”  For more information on the operation of the per-country caps, see the Congressional Research Service’s December 2018 analysis here.

Continue Reading Houses Passes Bill Lifting “Per-Country Caps”

By Angelo Paparelli

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Social Security Administration has once again resumed issuing No-Match notices to employers.  The notices alert businesses that SSA has identified data discrepancies between the agency’s records and employer-provided data submitted for payroll tax reporting to the IRS.  Issuance of the notice triggers a duty upon employers to take action.  While a No-Match notice may involve an innocent clerical mistake or an unreported name change, it could also offer a clue suggesting that workers named in the notice may lack the right to work in the United States.  This blog outlines the risks and the measures prudent employers should take to comply with SSA requirements while avoiding the knowing employment of unauthorized workers and the risk of unlawful discrimination under the immigration laws.

Continue Reading Immigration Haunting: Social Security Administration Resumes Issuing No-Match Notices

Seyfarth Synopsis:  USCIS Announces the FY 2020 H-1B Cap Reached.

On April 5, 2019, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received sufficient H-1B petitions to meet the regular H-1B quota (or “cap”) for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins on October 1, 2019. This means that USCIS received more than 65,000 H-1B