Seyfarth synopsis: President Biden’s Executive Order on artificial intelligence sets forth his vision for America to continue leading in AI innovation while also addressing risks associated with the use of AI. While much of the document delves into cutting-edge safety issues with national security implications, there are many provisions in the EO that have broad ramifications for companies generally, and employers specifically. The Order mandates greater coordination by civil-rights agencies on AI issues, emphasizes worker protections, and instructs the Department of Labor to guide federal contractors regarding AI-driven hiring practices. It marks the strategic emphasis on the government’s internal standards for AI governance and AI risk management, and towards articulating and implementing “required minimum risk-management practices” for AI applications that “impact people’s rights or safety.” The Executive Order’s emphasis on security assessments of AI systems are also set to influence AI risk management and safety dialogues across various sectors, all with significant implications in the labor and employment domain.Continue Reading President Biden Signs Executive Order Setting Forth Broad Directives for Artificial Intelligence Regulation and Enforcement
Seyfarth Synopsis: This is the final installment in a series of recommendations to the Biden Administration on immigration reform previously published by the Cato Institute in “Deregulating Legal Immigration: A Blueprint for Agency Action.” Read the first, second, third, and fourth installments here. In total, five installments have been published.
President Biden Should Require Immigration Agencies to Apply the Rule of Lenity to All Decisions
The President should issue an executive order requiring all federal immigration agencies to interpret ambiguous statutes and regulations with leniency in favor of the applicant or petitioner.
Immigration law is commonly referred to as “second only to the Internal Revenue Code in complexity.”[i] It is a convoluted morass of vague and poorly defined terms, making life‐altering decisions hang on the meaning of unfamiliar and ambiguous terms like “moral turpitude” or subjective analyses about an applicant’s “credibility.”[ii] In the removal context, courts have dealt with this phenomenon by “construing any lingering ambiguities in deportation statutes in favor of the alien.”[iii] The Supreme Court has stated, “since the stakes are considerable for the individual, we will not assume that Congress means to trench on his freedom beyond that which is required by the narrowest of several possible meanings of the words used.”[iv] This interpretative method is referred to as “strict construction” or “the rule of lenity.”[v]
Continue Reading Require Agencies to Apply the Rule of Lenity to All Actions
Post originally appeared as a Legal Update on Seyfarth’s News & Insights Page link here.
Gone are the days when the U.S. DOL’s Wage & Hour Division (“WHD”) invited employers to proactively identify and collaborate with the Division to fix their wage and hour missteps. Closed is the…
At the urging of President Biden, two members of Congress – Senator Robert Menendez and Representative Linda Sanchez – introduced companion 353-page bills last month in the Senate and the House entitled the “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.”
Presented as a comprehensive modernization of our nation’s long outdated immigration laws, this proposed legislation – uniformly lauded by Democrats and opposed by Republicans – features many provisions that U.S. employers may welcome, including, as this White House Fact Sheet details, a path to legal status, employment authorization, and eventually, American citizenship, for some 11 million undocumented noncitizens; relief for Dreamers, persons in Temporary Protected Status, and immigrant farmworkers; and improvements to the legal, employment-based immigration system.
Continue Reading Beware the Employer Risks Nesting in President Biden’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill
“America is back, the trans-Atlantic alliance is back.” – So declared President Biden on February 23, 2021. Apparently, however, Antony J. Blinken, the newly installed U.S. Secretary of State (DOS), didn’t get the memo. On March 2, 2021, he “rescinded the previous national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143 [relating] to the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.” As DOS’s announcement of the rescission noted, PP 10143, issued on January 25, 2021, restricted the issuance of visas and U.S. entry to “certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty-traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.”
NIEs for travelers from these Trans-Atlantic countries had been granted (at times with relative ease at some U.S. embassies and consular posts) based on previous State Department guidance. Under the prior guidance, executives, managers and specialists in the E-1 and E-2 (treaty traders and investors), H-1B (specialty occupation workers) and L-1 (intracompany transferees) visa categories, whose visit could be shown as likely to confer “substantial economic benefit” on the U.S., would often be approved. (For background, see this blog post (“Pursuing a National Interest Exception to the Presidential Entry Bans on Economic Grounds — Not A Fool’s Errand,” and slide deck, “Getting Your Key Employees Back to the U.S. under the National Interest Exceptions” to Presidential Proclamations ~ A Conversation about Eligibility and Process.”)
Continue Reading Why? Oh My! State Department Makes It Harder for Travelers from the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland to Receive National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) under Pandemic-Based Visa and Entry Bans
The English nursery rhyme was wrong. Not only do sticks and stones break our bones, but words can also hurt us. A lot. This is the lesson recently imparted by Tracy Renaud, the Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In a recent internal memorandum, Renaud is insisting on a new set of descriptors for the foreign citizens whom her agency serves, banishing into exile the word, “alien,” and the phrase, “illegal alien.” Henceforth, USCIS will use more inclusive language such as “noncitizen,” “undocumented noncitizen,” or “undocumented individual.” See the reports in Axios and BuzzFeed News.
This is a welcome change. For far too long, the exhausting and fearsome journey of U.S. immigration has been made more difficult by the hurtful taunt, “alien,” a word employed throughout the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Reportedly, the Biden Administration in its comprehensive reform bill would likewise excise the offensive word, and substitute “noncitizen” at every point where “alien” now appears in the INA, the U.S. Code, uncodified statutes, and all agency regulations and executive branch communications (something California did in 2015, while opting instead for “foreign national,” rather than “noncitizen”). In addition, we understand that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have likewise received instructions to remove the word, “alien,” from its template notices to employers that, following a Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) investigation, “unauthorized aliens” have been found on the employer’s payroll.
Continue Reading Inclusive Immigration: USCIS Nixes “Alien” Terminology But Much More Must Be Done
From Seyfarth’s December 7, 2020 Policy Matters Newsletter:
President-Elect Biden has indicated that he will seek to completely overhaul the current administration’s immigration policies, as well rescind the numerous Executive Orders issued by President Trump to enforce those policies. As we discussed in our Election 2020 Special Report, Biden supports expanding guest-worker programs, maintaining…
As a new administration takes office on January 20, and the tantalizing prospect of enlightened immigration reforms looms on the horizon, an intriguing question has surfaced on Twitter:
“Is there a progressive version of Stephen Miller? Someone who has (1) put in the time to understand how the immigration system works in great detail, (2) relentlessly committed to changing the system, and (3) is actually politically effective?” Austin Kocher, PhD
As grizzled and tireless proponents of a just immigration system, we humbly nominate ourselves for (1) and (2), and for (3) propose the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). To be sure, our audacity notwithstanding, others are more worthy. Many experts have suggested ways to restore America’s historic stature as a welcoming nation of immigrants.
Continue Reading Big-Picture, Clean-Slate Immigration Reforms for the Biden-Harris Administration