As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, those of us who practice immigration law, in particular business immigration law, have seen substantial shifts in immigration enforcement at the worksite. Reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities have sensitized employers to the need for strict employment eligibility verification. However, the employers often forget about another side to their compliance obligations – that of avoiding immigration-related unfair employment practices.
Immigration and Visa Policy
August 29th, 2011 - by Patrick Shen
Earlier this week, all the talk was earthquakes and hurricanes. It was also the day that The Heritage Foundation released its latest report on how to fix homeland security –“Homeland Security 4.0: Overcoming Centralization, Complacency, and Politics.” It is always nice to have some real world disasters to remind us that the U.S. is still not well prepared for to deal with really big disasters.
August 23rd, 2011 - by Stephen Heifetz
The 10th anniversary of 9/11 will bring many retrospectives. But DHS should not lose sight of current programs and policies and the current political context. That means focusing on security measures that simultaneously bolster the economy. DHS has plenty of opportunities to do both. Here is a “security, tourism and trade” package that can be offered to U.S. allies to: (1) strengthen mutual security efforts; (2) bolster the economy by increasing tourism and trade; and (3) grow alliances with new and old global partners.
July 5th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
On June 23, 2011, the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees issued a press release stating that ICE “Union leaders around the nation issued a unanimous no confidence vote in ICE Director John Morton on behalf of ICE officers, agents and employees.” The basis for the second no confidence vote in a year was another memo by ICE director John Morton, this time on prosecutorial discretion. The ICE Union is calling this memo a, “law enforcement nightmare developed by the Administration to win votes at the expense of sound and responsible law enforcement policy.”
June 16th, 2011 - by Edward Alden
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the trip to Washington yesterday to meet with members of Congress and delivered a very strong speech at a Council on Foreign Relations symposium, “The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy.” Bloomberg’s message was one that all sides in the caustic immigration debate need to hear: that in the dire economic situation this country faces, the question is no longer what the United States can do for immigrants, it’s what immigrants can do for us.
Supreme Court Ruling Opens Floodgate to More State Immigration Regulation, Stronger Federal Preemption Statute Needed
June 6th, 2011 - by Patrick Shen
After much anticipation and speculation, the Supreme Court decided that, in essence, states may enact their own employment eligibility and employer sanction laws. The name of the case is Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting, and we have to expect more states joining the ranks of Arizona and others already with verification laws on the books
May 26th, 2011 - by Patrick Shen
On March 31, the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security released the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding worksite enforcement of immigration laws in the event of a DOL investigation of labor dispute. So who cares, one might ask? We care because this is yet another reminder of the difficult task employers have to balance the interest of immigration compliance and managing labor relations.
Interesting hearing Wednesday on visa security at the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration policy enforcement, where I testified alongside Security Debrief co-contributor Janice Kephart and officials from State and ICE. The hearing was called to consider the Secure Visas Act, legislation calling for the expansion of the number of ICE agents deployed in overseas embassies.
April 28th, 2011 - by Edward Alden
The Department of Homeland Security is finally eliminating one of the worst vestiges of the immediate aftermath of 9/11 – the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) that required special travel procedures for those coming from more than two dozen countries that raised terrorism concerns. NSEERS was an understandable, but nonetheless counterproductive, response to the fears of the post-9/11 environment.
April 25th, 2011 - by David Olive
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has been making numerous public appearances throughout the country. I applaud Secretary Napolitano’s efforts communicating with the public, but what I do not understand is that among her many domestic travel destinations, Napolitano has never visited the one place Arizona where DHS has made a major investment – the area where the “SBInet” technology has been deployed and is currently being used with great success.
April 20th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
On April 5, I testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on a bill that would eliminate the Diversity Visa lottery (DV) program. The hearing was specifically on the SAFE for America Act, and is sponsored by Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), who has been seeking to do away with the visa lottery for years. This was the first time Goodlatte has received a legislative hearing on this bill.
April 6th, 2011 - by Asa Hutchinson
Since the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) challenging early days, when I served as Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, we have made progress towards better border security. While this progress should be noted, without a doubt, more needs to be accomplished. Here are three priorities on which we should focus our border control efforts, foremost among them, a visa exit system.
April 5th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
While driver’s licenses and birth certificates remain a tool sought by terrorists to support jihad in the United States, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is still pushing for repeal of driver’s license and birth certificate standards supported by 9/11 Commission recommendations. Ironically, Secretary Napolitano continues to assail the REAL ID Act’s standards despite new statistics – still held tightly within DHS – showing that 41 states, plus D.C., have embraced REAL ID implementation even without DHS support or new monies.
The recent GAO report, “Federal Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve E-Verify but Significant Challenges Remain,” paints a fairly optimistic picture of what the executive branch has done to improve E-Verify. Although the federal agencies responsible for E-Verify should be asked many tough questions, many of the issues identified in the report could actually be resolved by Congressional action, such as by comprehensively implementing Real ID.
January 19th, 2011 -
GAO recommends, among other things, that USCIS disseminate information to employees on the importance of consistently recording their names, DHS components develop procedures to help employees correct inaccurate personal information, USCIS develop reliable cost estimates for E-Verify, and SSA assess risks associated with its E-Verify workload costs.
November 30th, 2010 - by David Olive
Over the Thanksgiving week, I could not get a story from the Houston Chronicle’s Dane Schiller out of my head – “Will eye in the sky over Texas ever shift its gaze to Mexico?” The article’s prime focus is whether Predators can be used to peer across the border into Mexico. Schiller, who regularly covers drug cartel and immigration activity along the southwest border, does America a great service in publicly stating what has been one of the so-called “dirty secrets” about the use of Predator UAVs for border enforcement purposes. The Border Patrol agents who are in pursuit and most in need of information from expensive technology are not seeing anything produced by Predator cameras.
November 1st, 2010 -
As investigations continue into the bombs shipped from Yemen to the United States, the news last week about a plot to bomb Washington, DC Metro stations should not be forgotten. Indeed, the arrest of Farooque Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, is evidence of another kind of ongoing terrorist threat to the United States, one that stems from citizens and immigrants. Ahmed’s arrest shows the threat of smaller-scale terrorist attacks carried out by U.S. citizens is growing. U.S. citizens are particularly attractive to al Qaeda and other terrorists because they can more easily plot and prepare for attacks without drawing the attention of law enforcement, the intelligence community or the Department of Homeland Security.
October 5th, 2010 - by Stewart Verdery
Since 9/11, the U.S. government has struggled with the twin goals of reviewing visa applicants for security risks while maintaining the attractiveness of the United States as a premiere destination for business and leisure travel. As the President’s outgoing National Economic Adviser Larry Summers recently commented, improving the climate for travel to the United States may represent the most effective way to grow U.S. exports and create export-related jobs. The reasons for the relative decline in the U.S. travel market are complex, but clearly new security dictates are part of the explanation. We need to recognize the economic impact of this security, and we need to be more creative in securing the international travel system that is so valuable to our economy and foreign policy.
September 14th, 2010 - by Chris Battle
If DOJ is going to sue the state of Arizona over its immigration law that is allegedly at odds with federal law, then why is the same standard not applied to California, which has legalized so-called medical marijuana and is pushing to fully legalize pot outright?
August 31st, 2010 - by David Olive
The announcement Monday afternoon by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano that Predator B unmanned aerial vehicles will begin patrolling the skies over American’s Southwest border, funded in part by the latest $600 million infusion of cash from Congress, ought to raise some very serious questions about the manner in which increasingly limited homeland security funds are being spent. If DHS wants to deploy Predator B UAVs, then at least admit that Predators are far more expensive than almost every other alternative – or make the case why this is a better choice. Thus far, the explanations are lacking, and this should not be allowed to continue. When Congress returns, or whenever GAO gets around to it, Secretary Napolitano should be required publicly to address some of the following questions.