On March 17, 2010, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced a number of measures that the agency claims will "strengthen the efficiency and accuracy of the E-Verify system" and combat worker discrimination. First, the USCIS signed a memorandum of agreement with the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices ("OSC") to streamline the process for addressing potential cases of discrimination and employer misuse of E-Verify. Second, the USCIS announced that it is creating an informational telephone hotline to help employees navigate the E-Verify system. Third, the USCIS indicated that it is issuing two new training videos focusing on procedures, employee rights and employer responsibilities under the E-Verify program.
The employee hotline number, (888) 897–7781, is currently operational. According to the USCIS, the hotline was created to respond to employee inquiries, issues and complaints about the E-Verify program. The employee hotline will allow workers to obtain general E-Verify information and assistance in completing the I-9 employment verification form and to learn about employee rights under the program. In addition, workers can use the number to file complaints about possible violations of verification policy and privacy laws, contest an E-Verify case or report employer misuse of the E-Verify system.
The two new videos have been designed to explain proper use of E-Verify to both employers and employees. They are as follows:
"Understanding E-Verify: Employer Responsibilities and Worker Rights," which is aimed at employers and is available in English, CIS said.
"Know Your Rights: Employee Rights and Responsibilities," which is aimed at employees and is available in both English and Spanish.
Each video is about 20 minutes long and contains reenactments of hiring scenarios where employers and employees work through the E-Verify process together. The videos are available on the DHS Web site and on YouTube.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's statement accompanying these initiatives stated that "[t]he initiatives announced today will provide essential information to workers about their rights and ensure that E-Verify is used fairly while bolstering the Department's efforts to protect critical employment opportunities."
X. Secretary Napolitano Announces Greece's Designation as a Member of the Visa Waiver Program On March 9, 2010, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano designated Greece as the newest country enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program ("VWP"). Secretary Napolitano said, "Our efforts to guard against terrorism while enhancing legal travel and trade depend upon close collaboration with our international partners," and "I commend our partners in Greece for committing to strong screening and security standards and enhanced information sharing for travel by Greek citizens to the United States as we work together to protect our citizens and strengthen our economies."
In accordance with the VWP designation process, DHS has determined that Greece complies with a number of important security and information-sharing requirements: enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports and the maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards. Accordingly, qualified Greek citizens will be permitted to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.
Greece now joins the 35 nations that already participate in VWP. Like all other VWP travelers from those countries, Greek citizens will be required to apply for an Electronic System Travel Authorization ("ESTA") through the Web-based system before they can travel under the VWP. For more information, visit www.dhs.gov or esta.cbp.dhs.gov.