DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility

By: Attorney Rick La Trace

Due to the need for ongoing precautions related to Covid-19, the Department of Homeland Security has announced an extension of its temporary policies affecting employment eligibility verification. For businesses operating remotely, the Department will continue to defer the physical presence requirements for completing Section 2 of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, until July 19, 2020.

Read the full news release, here.

DHS Announced Flexibility in Complying with Requirements Related to Employment Eligibility Verification

By Attorney Rick La Trace

On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19 for employers who are working remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from March 20, 2020 OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first. For more information, please follow this link: http://ow.ly/DGVT50yUdjB or contact the attorneys at Johnstone Adams for assistance.

Appeals Court Refuses to Lift Injunction on Public Charge Rule

A panel of federal judges has denied a request to lift the injunction on the implementation of the public charge rule while the a lawsuit over the rule plays out in court. Under the new rule, announced in August, an immigrant would be considered a public charge — essentially dependent on government aid and, therefore, inadmissible — if he or she received at least one public benefit for more than 12 months within any three-year period, among other things. The new rule also authorizes DHS to conduct a more thorough and burdensome examination of the immigrant and his or her sponsor’s financial history, health, and education. The net result of the rule, if implemented, would be to increase the burden on most immigrants and increase the number of application denials on public charge grounds.

DHS to Review State Laws Issuing Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has ordered a review of state laws that allow undocumented aliens to obtain driver’s licenses and restrict data-sharing with Federal immigration authorities. Wolf’s memo follows the enactment in December 2019 of New York’s “Green Light” law, which authorized the grant of licenses for undocumented immigrants, among other things. Similar laws exist in a dozen other states. The Trump Administration has clearly indicated its disdain for such laws and is studying them at present, likely looking for an avenue to challenge their enforceability.

DHS Proposes Additional Mandatory Bars to Asylum

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed seven new bars to asylum in addition to those already existing (e.g., serious crimes, security threats, terrorism, etc.) under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.  The proposed rule would bar asylum for aliens who are convicted of:

  1. A felony under federal or state law;
  2. An offense related to alien smuggling or harboring;
  3. An offense involving illegal reentry;
  4. A Federal, state, tribal, or local crime involving criminal street gang activity;
  5. Certain Federal, state, tribal, or local offenses concerning the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant;
  6. A Federal, state, tribal, or local domestic violence offense, or those who are found by an adjudicator to have engaged in acts of battery or extreme cruelty in a domestic context, even if no conviction resulted; and
  7. Certain misdemeanors under Federal or state law for offenses related to false identification, the unlawful receipt of public benefits from a Federal, state, tribal, or local entity, or the possession or trafficking of a controlled substance or controlled-substance paraphernalia.

The proposed rule not only adds to the list of offenses, it would also remove the requirement to conduct a second review in cases where an immigration judge issues a discretionary denial of the application. The net result of the rule, if it goes into effect, will be fewer aliens with criminal records being eligible for asylum.  Comments on the rule are due January 21, 2020, so stand-by for further updates.

Happy New Year!

As 2019 comes to an end, and a new decade approaches, we would like to take the time to reflect and express our gratitude to everyone who has helped make this year so special. It is truly a privilege to have such great friends and clients that make our growth and continued business success possible. We look forward to all the opportunities that 2020 brings and hope that you and your family have the best New Year!

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