DHS Releases Worksite Enforcement Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Dignity of Workers, and Worksite Conditions

On October 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directed ICE, CBP, and USCIS to take actions to promote a fair labor market by supporting more effective enforcement of wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other employment laws and standards.

“The Department of Homeland Security has a critical role to ensure our Nation’s workplaces comply with our laws,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.  “We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions.  Employers engaged in illegal acts compel the focus of our enforcement resources.  By adopting policies that focus on the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.”

In accordance with a memorandum issued by Secretary Mayorkas on October 12, ICE, CBP, and USCIS will develop and update policies to enhance DHS’s enforcement of employment and labor standards.  The agencies must also develop strategies for prioritizing workplace enforcement against unscrupulous employers and, through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, facilitate the participation of vulnerable workers in labor standards investigations.  Employers who shirk employment regulations not only harm workers, they also unfairly drive down business costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law. Continue reading “DHS Releases Worksite Enforcement Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Dignity of Workers, and Worksite Conditions”

USCIS permits use of approval notices as evidence of work authorization due to COVID-19 delays

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has had a disruptive effect on almost every aspect of our lives. The extraordinary and unprecedented public health emergency COVID-19 created has caused different businesses and government agencies to unexpectedly shutter their operations in order to minimize the spread of this virus. One unintended consequence is that COVID-19 has forced U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) processing of cases to come to a virtual standstill.  As a result, the production of certain Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766, EAD), among other things, has been delayed. Because failure to receive an EAD document can result in a foreign national not being able to continue to work (and ultimately) a termination, a lawsuit has been brought against USCIS in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Easter Division) challenging the delay in issuance of the employment authorization document (EAD) following approval of the I-765 application.

Today, USCIS announced that employees may use Form I-797, Notice of Action, with a Notice date on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020 informing an applicant of approval of an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) as a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, List C #7 document to establish employment authorization issued by the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 274a.2(b)(1)(v)(C)(7), even though the Notice states it is not evidence of employment authorization.  This newly created exception to the Form I-9 rules will expire on December 1, 2020.  Additionally, please note that employees will still be required to present a List B document to establish their identity. Continue reading “USCIS permits use of approval notices as evidence of work authorization due to COVID-19 delays”