By: Dawn M. Lurie and Greg Morano*

Seyfarth Synopsis: The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rules concerning auto extensions of employment authorization and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can be confusing, and it is important employers know how to update Forms I-9 for TPS beneficiaries.  We have previously reported on USCIS terminating TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti while initially deferring a decision for Honduras.  Since then, the government terminated TPS for Nepal on 05/22/2018 and for Honduras on 06/05/2018.  The decision affects approximately 9,000 Nepalese foreign nationals and approximately 57,000 Honduran foreign nationals.

What Happened?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has terminated TPS for Nepal and Honduras with delayed effective dates.  For Honduras, TPS will terminate on January 5, 2020.  For Nepal, TPS will terminate on June 24, 2019.  This means that TPS recipients of the respective countries have until the above-mentioned dates to continue to live, and, if so authorized, work in the United States.

Continue Reading TPS Terminations and the Form I-9

By: Randy Johnson and Walt Mullon

Seyfarth Shaw’s new, leading Government Relations and Policy Group, which has already won the attention of national media outlets, is excited to offer regular updates to clients regarding the actions of Congress, administrative agencies, and other lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels. Comprised of Seyfarth attorneys with government relations and policy experience, the team will develop solutions for clients and provide ongoing education and advocacy on policy issues.  Below is our round-up from what happened this week in Washington.

Click here to sign up for this weekly newsletter.

House to Vote on Two Immigration Proposals Next Week. Speaker Paul Ryan defused a moderate Republican rebellion with a promise to hold high-stakes votes on two DACA related immigration bills next week. The floor votes will effectively stop the effort to bring up legislation through the discharge petition; Republican moderates reportedly fell two signatures short of the 218 needed to force votes.

The House will consider H.R. 4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018,” a bill drafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), as well as a second compromise package, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018” (still in draft form), which was assembled by Speaker Ryan in consultation with conservatives and moderates. House Leadership circulated this summary of the draft compromise bill. There are no guarantees that either bill will pass.

Continue Reading Seyfarth Shaw Policy Matters Newsletter – June 14, 2018

The 2018 edition of The Legal 500 United States recommends Seyfarth Shaw’s Immigration group as one of the best in the country. Nationally, for the fourth consecutive year, our Immigration practice earned Top Tier.

Based on feedback from corporate counsel, Seyfarth partners Jim King, Russell Swapp, and Angelo Paparelli were ranked in the editorial’s “Leading Lawyers” list, Gabriel Mozes was named a Next Generation Lawyer, and 3 other Seyfarth Immigration attorneys were also recommended in the editorial.

The Legal 500 United States is an independent guide providing comprehensive coverage on legal services and is widely referenced for its definitive judgment of law firm capabilities. The Legal 500 United States recognizes and rewards the best in-house and private practice teams and individuals over the past 12 months. The awards are given to the elite legal practitioners, based on comprehensive research into the U.S. legal market.

By Dawn M. Lurie and Greg Morano

In mid-April, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced long awaited enhancements to the program as part of the new “modernized E-Verify system”. In fact, the overhaul is enormous in scope, the new system is entirely separate from the previous itineration of E-Verify. From a data storage location shift to reinforcement of the old infrastructure, the bones of the system are being reinforced.  Employers will continue to maintain access to their old data while being able to open cases in the new system. The updates demonstrate USCIS’ continued focus on improving the system, which makes perfect sense in the face of a possible, nationwide, E-Verify mandate.

What is E-Verify

E-Verify is an internet based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. Continuously improving, but not perfect, the system struggles with cracks in its armor especially when it comes to ensuring identity. However, one of the key benefits of E-Verify is that employers are provided a rebuttable presumption that there has been no violation of the statute, with regard to the knowing hiring of an unauthorized worker, if the employee’s information has been confirmed by the system. This is important in the context of a Form I-9 inspection.

Continue Reading More than a Makeover: E-Verify Boast a New, Modernized Look Inside and Out

Trivia: On May 10, 1877, U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes had which common piece of technology first installed into the White House?


Where are we this month?

Advancements

Employment

  • Chinese nationals advance approximately one month in the EB-2 and Other Workers categories while Indian nationals see a slightly more significant advancement of 3 months in both the EB-3 and Other Workers categories.
  • Mexican nationals advanced nearly 11 weeks in the EB-4 category.
  • Of particular importance, filing dates for Certain Religious Workers are current for all nationals excluding Mexican, El Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and Honduran nationals while the 5th Non-Regional and Regional Center categories are current for all individuals except Chinese and Vietnamese nationals

Continue Reading MAY 2018 VISA BULLETIN

Seyfarth Synopsis: USCIS completes the lottery process and received 190,098 H-1B cap petitions.

On April 12, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received 190,098 H-1B petitions to meet both the Master’s and regular H-1B quotas (or “caps”) for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins on October 1, 2018.  This means that USCIS received more than double the number of available H-1B petitions in the first week of filing, and that more than 20,000 of these petitions were filed under the Master’s cap.  The number of petitions decreased slightly again this year, down from more than 199,000 petitions filed for Fiscal Year 2018.

In addition, USCIS announced that they completed a computer-generated random selection process — the lottery — for all cap-subject filings received from Monday, April 2 through Friday, April 6, 2018 to determine which filings to adjudicate.  USCIS first conducted the lottery process for H-1B petitions subject to the Master’s cap, which sets aside 20,000 H-1B visas for holders of U.S. Master’s degrees or higher degrees.  Any Master’s cap petitions not selected in the Master’s lottery were eligible for selection in the regular H-1B lottery, effectively providing two opportunities for an H-1B visa.  USCIS will now begin the process of sending Receipt Notices for petitions selected in the lottery while rejecting and returning petitions, together with the associated filing fees, that were not selected in the lottery.

By Mark Katzoff

The omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Trump on March 23, 2018 included a six month extension of the EB-5 regional center program to September 30. This marks the latest in a series of short-term extensions over the last few years while Congress has attempted to agree upon legislation providing more substantive changes to the EB-5 program in general.

Continue Reading Regional Center Program Extended Six Months

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?

Advancements

     Employment

  • 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.

Family

  • 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.