SSA Resumes Sending Out No-Match Letters

May 31st, 2011

In April 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) resumed issuing thousands of so-called “no-match letters” to employers around the country. These letters inform employers that certain Social Security Numbers (SSN) provided by employees do not match the names of the individuals that SSA has on file for such numbers.  A “no-match” may be caused the use of a false or otherwise assigned SSN by an unauthorized worker. However, it may also be the result of an alteration to an individual’s status such as a name change or a simple typographical error.  

This issue is of considerable concern to employers with the recent increase in immigration enforcement aimed at companies employing unauthorized workers.

The new version of the “no-match” letter contains the name of one employee (rather than several employees as in the prior version) and does not include language warning the employer that failure to take action could be construed as constructive knowledge.   It does particularly advise that receipt of the letter in and of itself should not be the basis of adverse action against the employee.  Despite the change in language, it can still be considered by ICE in a potential investigation as indicia that an employer was aware of an individual’s ineligibility for US employment.

Our firm has counseled employers on employer sanctions issues and has represented employers in such enforcement proceedings since these laws were enacted more than 20 years ago.  We recommend that employers pay careful attention to no-match letters.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, I-9

Victory for Equal Justice and the Rule of Law: Court of Appeals Enjoins Enforcement of Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law (SB 1070)

April 18th, 2011

On April 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against key and controversial provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070, the law enacted nearly a year ago that requires police to demand proof of immigration status from anyone who they have a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally. The court thus denied Arizona’s appeal of a U.S. district court’s July ruling that prevented segments of the law from going into effect because it was likely that the law violated the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, and significantly, the decision signals that the appeals court believes that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is likely to succeed in its challenge to the law’s constitutionality.

SB 1070 is the draconian state immigration law that was signed into law on April 23, 2010, after Arizona state legislators argued that they needed their own immigration enforcement tools to stem the tide of undocumented immigration into the state. Federal efforts, the state argued, were not enough. The law immediately sparked nationwide boycotts and protests as an unconstitutional attempt to usurp the federal government’s right to enact and control immigration law and as a way to set the stage for abusive and illegal police activity, including profiling. DOJ sued and won an injunction on June 29, 2010, the day before the law was originally set to go into effect.

In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit rightly rejected Arizona’s claim that state police have “inherent authority” to enforce federal immigration laws; in fact, the court held that Arizona’s attempt to drive immigrants from the state interferes with the federal government’s exclusive authority to enforce immigration law. Congress, the court held, intended state officers to “aid in immigration enforcement only under the close supervision of the Attorney General,” which was not the case here. The court also recognized that the SB 1070 has negatively impacted U.S. foreign relations and reflects the dangers of allowing states to enact a patchwork quilt of conflicting laws and regulations. In the immediate aftermath of SB1070’s enactment, a number of states considered or introduced copycat bills, but most states have now backed away from these measures.

While the fate of SB 1070 is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court, for now the court’s decision is a victory not only for the Obama Administration in its ongoing effort to halt the Arizona law, but also for equal justice and the rule of law.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, I-9, Immigration Policy Center

Connecticut District Court Protects H-1B Employee from Wrongful Arrest; Holds Regulation That Extends Work Authorization Implicitly Extends Authorization to Remain in U.S. During Pendency of Timely Filed Extension Request

April 18th, 2011

A federal district court in Connecticut ruled that the government may not arrest an H-1B employee for whom a timely filed extension application remains pending. U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in El Badrawi v. United States found that a federal immigration regulation allows H-1B employees to continue working for 240 days pending the adjudication of their extension applications and that that authorization is part of their authorization to be in the country, not a separate matter. “The government’s proposed interpretation of the work authorization regulation . . . that it extends authorization to work in the country, but not authorization to be in the country,” held Judge Hall, “cannot be squared with the text or purpose of that provision. . . .” Judge Hall also found that the government’s proposed interpretation of the regulation at issue raises grave due process concerns. “The government has argued that. . .an alien who has filed a timely application for extension may remain in the country, but if he does, the government has discretion to arrest, detain, and remove him. There is a serious question as to whether this interpretation is consistent with the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.”  Had the government provided clear, advance notice of the risk of detention, the court may have ruled otherwise.

The plaintiff, a medical researcher from Lebanon, was in valid H-1B status when his employer timely filed an H-1B extension. USCIS never adjudicated the petition and refused to respond to requests for information. Nearly seven months later, with the case still pending, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested the plaintiff for allegedly “overstaying” his initial period of admission. He was placed in removal proceedings and detained for nearly two months. He sued the government for false arrest and abuse of process.

The court concluded that permitting the initiation of removal proceedings during this period would thus be unfair.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | I-9, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

USCIS Processing Times: Separating Fact from Fiction

February 28th, 2011

USCIS processing times may be accessed on the Zulkie Partners website at http://www.zulkiepartners.com/processing.html.

The posted USCIS processing times represent data that is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting. In addition, the listed dates reflect the most-recently filed case in the particular product line on an examiner’s desk at the time the data as gathered. This means that there are many cases with substantially earlier receipt dates than those officially listed that have not been processed as of the date of publication of the processing times schedule. The National Customer Service Center (NCSC) is not using the processing times listed on the USCIS website when it considers whether a case is beyond the official USCIS processing times. The processing times used by NCSC are substantially longer than those on the posted processing time schedule in many cases, particularly in H and L filings, causing NCSC to refuse to submit a case inquiry in some instances.

Sign-up for Case Updates

USCIS Customers (applicants or petitioners) can create an account to more conveniently access information on pending applications and petitions. 
In addition, USCIS Customers can choose to receive automatic case status updates, which will be sent via e-mail. A new pilot program provides the additional option to receive a text message notification that a case status update has occurred, which will be sent to a United States mobile phone number. USCIS Customers who select the option to receive the text message notification acknowledge that Standard Messaging Rates or other charges related to these notifications may apply.

Click here to access this USCIS service.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, I-129, I-140, I-485

VIBE System Introduced to Facilitate Employer Vetting by USCIS

February 20th, 2011

USCIS has begun the beta testing of a new tool called the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (“VIBE”).  VIBE is purported to enhance and assist USCIS in assessing employers filing employment based immigration petitions.  The VIBE system will utilize commercially available data from independent information providers such as Dun and Bradstreet, and will allow USCIS to validate basic information about companies or organizations filing employment based petitions.  

USCIS has stated that it will not deny a petition based exclusively on information obtained via the VIBE system, rather, that it would give the petitioner an opportunity to respond to agency concerns regarding the business.  Employers are hoping to avoid the obstacles they faced when the Department of Labor used a similar commercially available database to implement its iCERT Portal, resulting in numerous Labor Condition Application denials for allegedly incorrect Federal Employer Identification Numbers.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, H-1B, I-129, I-140

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