GOVERNMENT RULES, NOTICES and ANNOUNCEMENTS
- E-Verify Upgrades Affect New Case Queries and User Security (6/22/14)
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that effective June 22, 2014, E-Verify released a new set of system enhancements. These enhancements include flagging duplicate cases, updating the Further Action Notices for Web service users and updating and validating user information when passwords expire. Click here to read our client update on how this will affect your company and third party vendors. To view the enhancements yourself, visit the E-Verify Enhancements page.
- Department of Labor Updates Prevailing Wage Data from Occupation Employment Surveys
On July 1, 2014, the United States Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification uploaded the newest prevailing wage data from the Occupation Employment Surveys as generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the fiscal year July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015. Prevailing wages issued from the national Prevailing Wage Center after June 30, 2014 will reflect the new data, which can be found here .
- USCIS Newsletter “E-Verify Connection” Announces Partnership with the North Carolina Labor Department (06/28/2014)
On June 28th, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services published their June “E-Verify Connection” newsletter. In addition to I-9 tips and information on extended employment authorization for certain Haitian nationals, it announces a partnership between E-Verify and the North Carolina Department of Labor to conduct monthly webinars for North Carolina businesses. North Carolina’s E-Verify law applies to all companies doing business in North Carolina that employ 25 or more people. For assistance in complying with North Carolina’s E-Verify law, please contact Charlotte partner Sarah Buffett. Click here to view the newsletter and sign up for a webinar.
- USCIS Secretary Johnson Announces Process for DACA Renewal
On June 5, 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the process for individuals to renew enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has submitted to the Federal Register an updated form to allow individuals previously enrolled in DACA, to renew their deferral for a period of two years. At the direction of the Secretary, effective immediately, USCIS will begin accepting renewal requests. USCIS will also continue to accept requests for DACA from individuals who have not previously sought to access the program. The first DACA approvals will begin to expire in September 2014. To avoid a lapse in the period of deferral and employment authorization, individuals must file renewal requests before the expiration of their current period of DACA. USCIS encourages requestors to submit their renewal request approximately 120 days (four months) before their current period of deferred action expires. Additional information on the DACA program and recently announced renewal procedures can be found here.
AGENCY and COURT DECISIONS
- OSC Settlement Resolving Employment Verification Discrimination Claims
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Discrimination entered into a settlement agreement with Commercial Cleaning Systems for $53,500 in civil penalties and $25,000 in back pay, resolving claims that it subjected work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present specific documentation in order to verify their employment eligibility. The DOJ Investigation was based on referral from USCIS E-Verify Compliance and Monitoring. To view the decision in its entirety, please click here.
- 9th Circuit Blocks Arizona Driver’s License Ban for DACA Beneficiaries
In Arizona Dream Act Coalition v. Brewer, The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held it could identify no legitimate state interest that was rationally related to defendants’ decision to treat DACA recipients disparately from other noncitizens who could use their EAD cards when applying for driver’s licenses and enjoined enforcement of the law. The panel remanded with instructions that the district court enter a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendants from enforcing any policy by which the Arizona Department of Transportation refuses to accept plaintiffs Employment Authorization Documents issued to plaintiffs under DACA, as proof that plaintiffs are authorized under federal law to be present in the United States. (Arizona Dream Act Coalition v. Brewer, 2:12-cv-02546-DGC No. 13-16248 (July 7, 2014). ). The order can be read here.
- OCAHO Reduces Penalties for Golf Course After Reviewing Seriousness of Violations
The US Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) reduced the penalties from $113,742.05 7to $57,650 but disagreed with the employer’s position that failing to sign the section 2 attestation for nearly all employees was mitigated by their use of the E-Verify program. The Court held that this failure reflected a pattern of serious violations that the employer had attempted to characterize as a “single, benign error”. (U.S. v. Golf International D/B/A Desert Canyon Golf, 11 OCAHO no.1222 6/13/14). The decision can be found here.
- California Supreme Court Says State Employee Protections is Not Preempted by Federal Immigration Law
The court concluded that Senate Bill No. 1818, which extends state law employee protections and remedies to all workers “regardless of immigration status,” is not preempted by federal immigration law except to the extent it authorizes an award of lost pay damages for any period after the employer’s discovery of an employee’s ineligibility to work in the United States. The court also found that contrary to the Court of Appeal’s holdings, the doctrines of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands are not complete defenses to a worker’s claims under California’s FEHA, although they do affect the availability of remedies. A state law extending state employee protections to workers “regardless of immigration status” is not preempted by federal law except to extent it authorizes lost pay damages after discovering an employee’s ineligibility to work in the U.S. (Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co.,S196568, Ct.App. 3 C064627 (6/26/14).