Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ICE Serves 180 Audit Notices to Businesses in 5 States

ICE announced issuance of Notices of Inspection to 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. The notices alert business owners that ICE will inspect their records to determine if they are complying with employment verification laws.

The recent announcement by ICE of the increased inspections is the first signs in several months of stepped-up enforcement procedures for I-9 inspections. ICE announced that it “is focusing it resources on the auditing and investigation of employers suspected of cultivation illegal workplaces by knowingly employing illegal workers. The initiative being launched today is a direct result of this new strategy.”

The Obama administration has, thus far, steered away from crack downs on large employers with illegal work forces which characterized the last years of the Bush Administration. Instead, the current administration has focused on contractors that do business with the federal government. The reported aim to steer these contractors into signing up with E-verify, the on line, I-9 compliance program.

It is still unclear whether DHS has now shifted to a more aggressive program similar to that under the Bush Administration.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Investor Visa Proposed

A bill which would create a new path for permanent residency through investment was introduced into the Senate on February 24th, 2010.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Democrat John Kerry and Republican Richard Lugar co-sponsored a bill which would significantly ease the requirements of obtaining a green card through investment. The bill would allow individuals to obtain a temporary green card by investing as little as $250,000 in a start-up company. After 2 years, the investor could obtain a permanent green card by showing he or she has generated at least five full-time jobs in the U.S., attracted $1 million in additional investment capital or achieved $1 million in revenue.

The bill would greatly liberalize the current EB5 category which requires investors to invest at least $1 million and create ten jobs.

We will monitor the progress of this bill as it goes through Congress.

Monday, March 15, 2010

DHS Reports Decline of Unauthorized Population in the U.S.: January 2009

DHS released a report estimating that the unauthorized immigrant population living in the U.S. decreased to 10.8 million in January 2009 and grew by 27 percent between 2000 and 2009.

DHS estimates that the unauthorized immigrant population living in the United States decreased to 10.8 million in January 2009 from 11.6 million in January 2008. Between 2000 and 2009, the unauthorized population grew by 27 percent. Of all unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2009, 63 percent entered before 2000, and 62 percent were from Mexico. Most of the reported decline is being attributed to the current economic recession.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ICE To End Detention of Most Asylum Applicants

ICE announced today it would release from detention most asylum applicants who can demonstrate a credible fear of persecution in their home country starting January 4, 2010.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the “immigration police” announced today that it would end the practice of imprisoning most foreign nationals who seek political asylum upon their arrival to the U.S. Under the new policy, asylum seekers will generally be released from custody if they can demonstrate in an interview with asylum officers that they have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if they return to their home countries.

The released individuals would be still need to continue their cases before an immigration judge and report to an ICE officer on a regular basis while the case is proceedings in the courts.