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: Dawn Lurie and Matthew Parker*

Seyfarth Synopsis: On May 3, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an increase to the automatic extension period for certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from 180 days to 540 days. This Temporary Final Rule (TFR) was published on May 4, 2022, will go into effect immediately, and

By: Dawn M. Lurie and Zachary Blas Perez 

Seyfarth Synopsis: USCIS issued long-awaited guidance on how employers should treat certain E and L spouses’ work authorization based on their status when completing the Form I-9. USCIS also confirmed that it will mail updated notices to E and L spouses, who previously received an I-797

By: Dawn M. Lurie

On June 9, 2021 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advised the public about its recent updates to the USCIS Policy Manual. Specifically, the USCIS updates:

  • Clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing
    • The guidance discusses emergencies, restores benefits to non-profits, and discusses the relationship between ICE and USCIS when

By Angelo A. Paparelli

On June 1, 2021, President Biden heralded the 30 days when Spring transitions into Summer as “National Immigrant Heritage Month,” by issuing a Proclamation that paid homage to immigrants’ contributions past, and offered lofty, aspirational goals:

In every era, immigrant innovators, workers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders have fortified and defended us

Late in the day, on May 26, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a 90-day extension for remote Form I-9 inspection, allowing flexibilities to continue through August 31, 2021.

While the U.S. appears to have turned a corner in the fight against COVID-19, most companies have yet to formulate and implement back to work policies. Thank you to ICE and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), for allowing these employers to head into the holiday weekend without having to worry about the fate of this anticipated extension.  And thank you for the 90 days, rather than the shorter 30 or 60-day extensions issued previously.

The Devil is in the Details

It would not be a exciting blog post, if we didn’t have something interesting to point out. The ICE announcement includes two confusing items:
Continue Reading Nothing “new” Other Than a 90 day Extension of Virtual I-9s

By: Angelo A. Paparelli

Seyfarth Synopsis: This is the fourth 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, and third installments here.  A total of five installments will be published.  Please stay tuned for the final update.

Prohibit Regulatory Actions on USCIS Forms

USCIS should amend its regulations to stop automatically incorporating all form instruction changes into its regulations, bypassing notice and public comment procedures.

USCIS requires employers and applicants for immigration benefits to use forms that it creates to collect information.[i] Along with these forms, USCIS publishes detailed instructions that explain to applicants how they must fill out the form and the types of information or evidence that must be provided. USCIS’s regulations currently assert that all form instruction changes are incorporated into the regulations themselves.[ii] The clause allows the agency to evade a slew of federal statutes and presidential directives including the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and OMB Circular A-4.[iii] It allows the agency to effectively change its regulations with only minimal notice under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Continue Reading Prohibit Regulatory Actions on USCIS Forms

By: Angelo A. Paparelli

Seyfarth Synopsis: This is the third 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 and second installments here.  A total of five installments will be published on a

By: Angelo A. Paparelli

Seyfarth Synopsis: This is the second 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 installment here.  A total of five installments will be published on a weekly

By: Angelo A. Paparelli

Seyfarth Synopsis: This is the first 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.”  A total of five installments will be published on a weekly basis. Please stay tuned for additional