The Agricultural Guestworker Act Gaining Ground

In October, the Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017 (House Resolution 4092), introduced by U.S. Rep. John Goodlatte (R-Va.), was passed by the House Judiciary Committee and sent to the full House. Michigan’s lone representative on the committee, Rep. John Conyers (D), voted against it.

John Kran, national lobbyist with Michigan Farm Bureau, commented that “any farmer who’s dealt with this issue will tell you that the availability of domestic workers continues to decrease. This bill not only deals with the seasonal workforce, but the need for year-round ag workers.” The need for such legislation is clear, at least to farmers. Currently, the only way farmers can have the peace of mind about a legal workforce is to go through the H-2A program, which is so notorious for burdensome paperwork, long lead times and woefully complicated processes that Michigan Farm Bureau established the Great Lakes Agricultural Labor Services (GLALS) to help farmers successfully navigate the process.

Goodlatte’s legislation would create a new H program, called H-2C, under which a new guest-worker program would be established, allowing farmers to hire workers for up to 18 months for seasonal labor and 36 months for year-round labor, such as are needed on dairy farms, other livestock operations, and food processing, including meat packing. “Michigan dairies have a huge need for the longer visa, and poultry and hog operations have trouble finding people too,” Kran said. “The bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a good place to start.” Among the things Farm Bureau would like to see changed in the bill is a mandatory limit on the number of workers allowed in. The bill proposes that the number be capped at 450,000 per year, with an ‘escalator’ for additional need.

 

© 2017 Varnum LLP
This post was written by Aaron M. Phelps of Varnum LLP.
Read more Immigration legal updates.

Haitian TPS Program Will End in July 2019

Six months after then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced the extension of Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for only six months (until January 2018, when he would reevaluate the determination), Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced her decision to terminate the designation with a delayed effective date of 18 months.  She said this would allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019.

Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the end of the period. Further details about this termination for TPS will appear in a Federal Register notice. Termination of TPS will affect not only some 50,000-60,000 Haitians who are in the U.S. on TPS, but also their families, including approximately 30,000 U.S.-citizen children born in the U.S. to Haitians in TPS status since 2010 (when TPS was conferred after the earthquake that killed thousands on the island).

A number of advocacy groups, members of Congress, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had been urging a further extension based on ongoing problems from the devastating 2010 earthquake and Haiti’s limited capacity to reabsorb these nationals and family members.  They also highlighted that termination will create labor dislocations in certain construction, food processing, hospitality, and healthcare industries that have relied on Haitian TPS workers since 2010. Florida and Texas may be particularly hard hit as they continue to recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

This post was written by Michael H. Neifach of Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017
For more Immigration legal analysis go to The National Law Review 

President Trump’s Third, Indefinite Travel Ban Takes Blow from Courts

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have temporarily blocked the implementation of President Trump’s most recent travel ban, which was issued by Presidential Proclamation on September 24, 2017 (Proclamation) and set to take effect October 18, 2017. The more sweeping ruling by the federal court in Hawaii blocks implementation of the Proclamation as to all countries except Venezuela and North Korea, and the decision by the Maryland federal court declares the ban unenforceable toward those individuals with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States (U.S.).

Essentially, the Proclamation imposes certain restrictions on the entry of nonimmigrants and immigrants who are nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The type of restriction varies from country to country and the restrictions are of indefinite duration. The Proclamation was allegedly crafted based on recommendations by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant to Executive Order 13780, which included a requirement for a global review of each foreign government’s information sharing practices, policies, and capabilities.

For a detailed analysis of the Proclamation, which is President Trump’s third attempt at instituting a travel ban, please click here.

What Are the Takeaways from the Two Decisions?

The Hawaii Decision: U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the Proclamation likely exceeds the scope of presidential authority permitted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. His ruling is effective nationwide and prohibits implementation of the Proclamation’s provisions, except as to nationals of North Korea and Venezuela.

The Maryland Decision: U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang found that the Proclamation likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution as well as the INA. As for the scope of the injunction issued by the Maryland district court, Judge Chuang ruled that the Proclamation is blocked as it would apply to those with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. This language echoes that used by the U.S. Supreme Court when it temporarily restored President Trump’s second travel ban issued by Executive Order (E.O.) back in June of this year. In that decision, the Supreme Court temporarily allowed implementation of the E.O. but eliminated from its purview those with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Where Are We Headed?

These court actions are just the beginning of what is anticipated to be a protracted legal battle that may very likely head to the Supreme Court yet again. The Supreme Court was positioned to hear oral arguments on the legality of an earlier iteration of the travel ban this month. One of those cases has been dismissed, and the other will likely be dismissed as well. Both of the cases that were set for argument this month were based on the decisions of these same two federal courts that have issued injunctions on the Proclamation. This travel ban battle is far from over.

What Should Employers Do?

It is unlikely that the Proclamation in its current form will have much of an effect on employers because the current pool of affected travelers is very small. It is important to remember that the Proclamation is still in effect for certain government officials from Venezuela seeking visitor visas as well as travelers from North Korea who do not have bona fide relationships with persons or entities in the U.S.

U.S. consulates still exercise, however, a great deal of discretion in adjudicating visa applications. Thus, while the Proclamation may be “mostly dead” for now, individuals from the restricted countries should expect increased scrutiny and prepare for it accordingly with counsel. Additionally, we are just at the beginning stages. An appeals court or the Supreme Court could ultimately reinstate the Proclamation or a portion of its content. Thus, careful pre-planning for visa applications is crucial.

Here are a few things that an employer can do:

  1. Assess travel plans for employees of affected nationalities based on implementation.
  2. Consider the ability of those who are dual nationals to travel on a non-restricted country (under the ban) passport.
  3. Consider rescheduling meeting locations and using internet-based meeting options.
  4. When necessary, compile documentation and information for a potential waiver application under the standards set forth in the Proclamation even though it is not in effect in full, such documentation may be required to withstand the heightened scrutiny that will likely continue to be applied toward individuals from these targeted countries.
This post was written by Heather L. Frayre of Dickinson Wright PLLC., © Copyright 2017
For more Immigration legal analysis go to The National Law Review

GOES Website Goes Away…October 1 Trusted Travelers Take Note

Effective October 1, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is replacing the GOES (global online enrollment system) website with the new cloud based Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) system website. Users of the various Trusted Traveler Programs (Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri, Fast, APEC) managed by CBP are all familiar with the GOES website. The GOES website is used for applications and the creation of accounts as well as receiving notifications from CBP and updating certain account information.

September 30 will be the last day users can access the GOES website information regarding their accounts. It is critical for users to save/print out their information in their GOES account including their PASSID membership number to recreate their account in the new TTP system.

What do current TTP program participants need to do before September 30?

  1. Make sure your GOES profile information is correct. Log into your GOES account at: https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/ and print/save the information located in your profile. Make sure to record your PASSID number, which appears on the back of your TTP card or in the top left corner of your GOES homepage.
  2. Create a Login.gov account, if you do not have one. Visit https://login.gov/. The GOES user ID/password will not work to log in into the new TTP system website. You can also create this Login.gov account after September 30, 2017.

The GOES website will be gone on October 1, 2017. So, what must TTP users do on or after October 1?

  1. After using login.gov to create an account for authentication, create a new account using the TTP system at https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov (not yet activated).
  2. For those who had started an application in GOES before October 1, the application will be cancelled unless it is submitted before October 1. If the application was not submitted in GOES before October 1, the data will be lost and a new application must be submitted using the TTP system.
  3. To manage TTP accounts in the future, the place to go will be https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov (not yet activated).

This post was written by Kathleen C. Walker of  Dickinson Wright PLLC © Copyright 2017

For more Immigration legal analysis, go to The National Law Review

The Time to Comply is Now: The New “I-9 Sheriff” is in Town!

As we have previously informed our readers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued yet another update to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Employment Eligibility Verification Form (commonly referred to as Form I-9).

As of September 18, the revised Form I-9 is in effect, bringing a new paperwork duty for all U.S. employers. All employers who have not already done so must immediately disregard the old version of and begin using the new version of Form I-9. The new form is accessible on the (USCIS) website, and older versions of Form I-9 are no longer available to the public. The new version of Form I-9 is not required for existing employees, since it pertains only to new hires joining a company on or after September 18, 2017.

Following are some reminders for employers to keep in mind during the onboarding process:

  1. While the core requirements of Form I-9 remain unchanged, employers will find minor revisions concerning the instructions and the list of acceptable documents that confirm an intended employee’s identity and employment eligibility. Specifically, USCIS changed the name of the U.S. Department of Justice’s enforcement arm on employment eligibility compliance, namely from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section. What is more, USCIS modified the form’s instructions by removing “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.” As a result, employers should amend their Form I-9 procedures to ensure that all intended employees complete the form’s Section 1 at the outset of the first day of employment.
  2. USCIS has also revised the list of acceptable documents concerning employment eligibility. Notably, USCIS added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad Form (Form FS-240) as an acceptable List C [employment eligibility] document. Form FS-240 is generated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at U.S. embassies worldwide to record the birth of a U.S. citizen outside U.S. territorial limits. Now, employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C pertaining to Section 2 and Section 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9. Lastly, USCIS combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the DOS into selection C # 2 in List C and renumbered all List C documents, except the Social Security card.

USCIS has included all these changes in a revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), which is more user friendly than older editions of this document. Unlike previous versions of M-274, users can no longer download the handbook as a PDF document. Instead, USCIS has now organized and posted the M-274 handbook’s content as a web-based resource. It is yet unclear how USCIS will be updating this document.  By consequence, employers should regularly review the most updated, on-line content of the M-274 handbook, as it will likely be a more dynamic document.

3.  Another valuable resource for employers handling Form I-9 issues is the I-9 Central webpage available on the USCIS website. This webpage provides additional information about Form I-9, including learning resources and frequently asked questions.

Although the changes to Form I-9 are minor, failure to use the new version of the form can result in significant fines. Employers should therefore revisit their compliance policies to ensure a seamless transition to the new Form I-9.

This post was written by Roy J. Barquet of Foley & Lardner LLP © 2017
For more Immigration Legal Analysis go to The National Law Review

Impact of the Trump Administration’s Decision to Terminate DACA

On September 5, 2017, Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), issued a memorandum rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. The DACA program, instituted in 2012 under the Obama administration, defers deportation and provides work authorization for individuals who were brought to the United States as children and who pass criminal and national security background checks. The DACA program was designed to assist individuals who were raised in the United States but who do not possess lawful status in the United States. These individuals are often referred to as “Dreamers.”

Citing a recent 4-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in effect allowed a lower court injunction of a program providing similar relief for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens to stand, the Trump Administration determined that the DACA program should end on March 5, 2018. Effectively, this provides Congress with six months to provide a legislative solution for the nearly 800,000 individuals impacted by the DACA program rescission.

For individuals eligible or currently enrolled in the DACA program, this will have the following impact:

  • Currently valid DACA benefits, including Employment Authorization Documents (“EAD”s) and Advance Parole documents (I-131 applications, authorizing beneficiaries of DACA to travel) will remain valid until their expiration. These documents remain subject to termination or revocation under the existing DACA program rules.
  • No new DACA applications (I-821D applications) will be accepted as of September 6, 2017.
  • Currently pending initial DACA applications and extensions will be adjudicated.
  • USCIS will not accept any new advance parole applications where the basis of that application is an approved I-821D.
  • Currently pending advance parole applications will be administratively closed, and I-131 filing fees will be refunded.
  • Individuals whose DACA benefits expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 will be allowed to file an extension of their DACA benefits until October 5, 2017. If approved, we anticipate that extensions will be valid for two years, and not end on March 5.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”, the agency that oversees administration of the DACA program) will not affirmatively provide information regarding DACA recipients to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”, the agency in charge of interior immigration law enforcement) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”, the agency in charge of border security) unless the DACA recipient meets existing deportation enforcement guidelines.

Once an individual’s DACA benefits expire, that individual will no longer have work authorization, and his or her deportation will no longer be deferred. This does not mean that individual will be automatically deported by ICE. However, it does mean that the individual will no longer be protected from deportation. In essence, without congressional action, Dreamers will once again become subject to potential removal from the United States.

A lawsuit has already been filed challenging the DACA program’s termination. It is hard to know whether the case will succeed, however. In the meantime, Dreamers plan to press Congress to pass a legislative solution before March 5.

A DHS memorandum outlining rescission of the DACA program is here. An FAQ is here.

 

This post was written by David J. Wilks of Miller Mayer LLP. All Rights Reserved. © Copyright 2013 – 2017
For more Immigration legal analysis go to The National Law Review

DACA Program to Be Phased Out

Today, the Trump Administration announced rescission of the Obama Administration’s 2012 Executive Order which created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As of March 5, 2018, DACA will fully end with many questions yet to be answered.

DACA has benefitted approximately 800,000 recipients, who came to the U.S. before the age of sixteen and hold no valid immigration status, by granting them temporary work authorization and relief from deportation.  Through the program, beneficiaries have gone on to become productive members of communities, contributing to the economy by attending college, buying houses and cars, and obtaining better paying jobs.

What We Know:

  • The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will immediately halt acceptance of new DACA applications while “orderly winding down” the program for existing DACA recipients.

  • Current DACA recipients with permits that expire before March 5, 2018 may apply for a renewal by October 5, 2017.

  • Some DACA recipients could lose work authorization as early as March 6, 2018, while others may continue to use the program over the next two years.

  • No specific guidance will be issued to DHS agents to shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

What Is Unclear:

  • Whether and how quickly Immigration & Customs Enforcement will take enforcement action to remove DACA recipients who have disclosed personal information in order to obtain a DACA benefit.

  • Whether Congress will be able to pass a legislative solution within the next six months.  Much will depend on DACA proponents’ ability to mobilize and advocate some form of relief.

  • Whether those granted Advance Parole pursuant to DACA will be permitted to return to the U.S. once DACA ends.  Having Advance Parole does not guarantee admission to the U.S., and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may revoke or terminate it at any time.

Other Possible Forms of Relief:

In lieu of federal legislation, other forms of relief may be available.  Current DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants may want to explore eligibility for:

  • Asylum;

  • A temporary visa as a victim of a specific crime;

  • Proof of existing U.S. citizenship or noncitizen nationality; and

  • Lawful permanent residence.  Potential applicants include:

    • Individuals whose last entry to the US was after inspection and admission or parole by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and who have an immigrant visa immediately available;

    • Certain individuals who are beneficiaries of visa petitions filed by family members or employers on or before April 30, 2001 and who have an immigrant visa immediately available;

    • Certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders who have been subject to battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or green card holder family member, even if the individual entered without being inspected and admitted by CBP; and

    • Certain unmarried individuals under 21 where a juvenile court has found that the child’s reunification with his or her parent(s) is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or a similar basis under state law, even if the individual entered without being inspected and admitted by CBP.

Additional guidance is expected in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned for further updates.

This post was written by Jennifer Cory of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

For more Immigration legal news, go to The National Law Review