Category: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Publishes Updated I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Handbook with Important Changes

January 27th, 2011 — 3:46pm

All U.S. employers must complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form for each new hire, regardless of immigration status or citizenship.   U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) publishes a Handbook for Employers with instructions and guidance directed to employers on how this form should be completed for foreign nationals.   A copy of the Handbook can be accessed at the USCIS website at

The newly published guide offers revisions and clarifications on appropriate documentation for lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, and work authorization documents for foreign nationals in temporary protected status (TPS).  The Handbook provides detailed guidance on completing I-9 forms for individuals in J-1 exchange visitor status and F-1 and M-1 student status.  Additionally, the Handbook explains how to complete the I-9 for F-1 students who are changing status to H-1B and are eligible for a “cap-gap” extension of status and employment authorization.

In a helpful revision to previous policy, the Handbook now states that an employee in valid H-1B status who changes (“ports”) to a new employer can begin to work with the new employer upon filing an H-1B petition with USCIS, rather than upon receipt of the I-797 Receipt Notice, which can take weeks to arrive in the mail.

The revised Handbook includes specific instructions on how U.S. employers should document employees’ I-9 files, as well as requirements for electronic records.  For example, an employer must maintain and make available upon request complete descriptions of the electronic generation and storage system and the indexing system that permit the identification and retrieval of documents and records maintained.

For federal contractors, the revised Handbook provides additional guidance on responsibilities under the amended Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) related to employment eligibility verification.   These clarifications make it easier for employers to properly complete I-9 forms for its employee’s that have unique situations.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, I-9, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Worksite enforcement policies

Supreme Court and Undocumented Workers: Another Arizona Law Being Tested

December 21st, 2010 — 3:52pm

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in early December on a controversial 2007 Arizona law that would revoke the business license of companies who knowingly hire undocumented workers. The legislation, known as the Legal Arizona Workers Act, is being challenged by a coalition of business groups who argued that the law intrudes on the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government over immigration. While both sides agree that the federal government, through the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), preempted states from enacting legislation that would use employer sanctions to control immigration, Arizona has argued that a parenthetical clause in IRCA allows states to act “through licensing or similar laws.”

The case, while important in its own right, also is being watched closely because it could give some indication on how willing the Justices are to allow states to pass legislation to curb undocumented immigration. In particular, it may serve as a bellwether for a Supreme Court challenge to the high-profile Arizona law passed earlier this summer requiring local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country without legal status. That law — S.B. 1070 — garnered extensive, national media attention and spurred protests across the country when Governor Jan Brewer signed it into law in May. S.B. 1070 is currently moving through the courts as the Obama Administration challenges its constitutionality. It is expected to reach the Supreme Court during the 2011 or 2012 term.

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Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, I-9, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Worksite enforcement policies

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