Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Arizona Employers: E-Verify...WHAT'S E-VERIFY???

Well, despite two phone calls from reputable Chamber of Commerce folks in key Arizona cities, I resisted the urge to report on their stories of employers "playing ostrich" and simply ignoring the new mandate on electronic verification of new hires.  I verified the two opinions with a couple of other contacts in the state, yet I didn't write anything, because it all sounded so...I don't know...tabloid???

Well, I got scooped by the Associated Press, and it is official:

"An immigration official says a large percentage of Arizona
businesses aren't using a federal database to check the work eligibility of
their employees, as they are required to do by state law."

Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that Congress has yet to give our friends at E-Verify
the money they need to continue refining the user-friendliness of their powerful tool, much less to educate U.S. employers on the what is actually REQUIRED to be in compliance?  It is supremely ironic that, in their quest to act when the feds haven't, states such as Arizona are simply socking it to employers without solving the underlying compliance issues.

Arizona's tough-talking legislatures are already responding to this "ostrich syndrome" and a Chertoff-like promise of increased enforcement is all we are hearing.

If you are an Arizona employer still trying to figure out how your new state mandate "helps" you, stop hiding your head under the beautiful desert sand and call Terry at www.i9advantage.com and let him demo our amazing solution.

We are -- sorry, I can't resist -- RAISING ARIZONA to a state of I9 compliance one employer at time, and we have the solution you need!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Heads Up, Megafilers, Ze Jig EEZ up...

This from DHS: a pending regulation will prohibit employers from filing multiple H-1b petitions for a foreign national.  My prediction: this will very adversely affect the leaders of the IT sector.  Why? Glad you asked...

Not many folks sit around pondering the unponderable as much as I do, and it is for this reason that I am such a font of useful and useless information.  This one is useful, but first a question:

Q: How do the big, foreign-based H-1B mega-users manage to staff so well despite the fact that 4 out of 5 new H-1Bs filed in April don't make the 65,000 cap?

A:  They file multiple petitions.

That is correct, even with filing fees as astronomical as they are, the profits are even MORE astronomical, so the filing of 2,3, or even five petitions for the SAME new H-1B prospect can make economic sense.  With in house visa processing mostly handled offshore, it works.  Look at the numbers:

  • Tab Hunter is an IT grad from Nepal and Co. X wants to bring him to California.  Tab has accepted an offer of $75,000 per year plus benefits and is a happy Nepalese camper.

  • Knowing that Tab is a prize hire and that he has a 20% chance of capturing an elusive H-1B, the company files FIVE H-1B petitions, all identical...let's just say that with filing fees and all the hassle, each filing runs the company $3000, a total of $15,000 (and let's assume further that filing fees are lost on the four which do NOT make it.)

  • Tab will travel as a consultant and he'll be invoiced out at a solid hourly, grossing his company $250,000 while costing them $100,000.

Okay, this next part is kind of like in Jurassic Park, when Jeff Goldblum is in the helicopter hitting on the blond paleontologist and explaining chaos theory:

-Let's assume that one out of five Tabs for company X gets the H-1B for every four that doesn't.  The total cost of filing those 25 petitions -- five for each of the five applicants - is $75,000, right?  Well, it doesn't take a math whiz to realize that even with this massive overhead, Co. X is making money:

TAB'S Cost to Co. X      = $100.000
COST of all the filings   =  $75,000
CO. X Profit                 =   $75,000

Not bad, huh?  I figured all this out last year when I was researching the IT sector and found that some of the top H-1B companies had filed about 4 times as many petitions as had been approved.

If you are from one of those companies and are as freaked out as you should be after reading this, talk to me.  We still have time to structure an L-1 offshore seed program and get the folks you need here BEFORE the 2009 October crop of H-1Bs is ready for harvest.

Don't just think outside the box, guys.  Smash it to smithereens.

Buncha Stuff....some good, some scary...

...GOOD GRIEF what have I gotten myself into?  Here I am thinking this blog will be a nice little writing outlet but a hyper-caffeinated Chertoff and minions have me playing Headline News...here's the latest from that wacky cast of characters in your national capitol...

-USCIS announced today that on June 16, 2008, it will begin
accepting Premium Processing Service requests for Forms I-140 (Immigrant
Petition for Alien Worker) filed on behalf of certain alien workers who are
nearing the end of their sixth year in H-1B nonimmigrant status.  I know a lot of good folks who will smile at that one. (-:

-The Washington Times yesterday FINALLY relayed the news of the federal contractor mandate with E-Verify days after your faithful immigration bloodhound reported it.  Am I cool or what?  I outscooped a Washington newspaper on something that happened in Washington...while sitting in Gainesville. Gotta love the Internet.

-This is actually from March guys but I don't think I read it before and if I did I didn't report it:  Chertoff -- who has in my book evolved into one of those people known by a single name (e.g., Nosferatu, Godzilla, Prince, Nostradamus, etc.) -- let it be known that fines for violating federal immigration laws would increase by "nearly 25%".  That means that the maximum civil penalty is going from $11,000 to $16,000 for multiple violations.

Suggestion:  CALL ME.  We can get your small-midsize company audit ready for less than the five grand increase in the penalty!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

HSA's Chertoff: The Heat and Raids will Continue

Yesterday was a busy immigration day in Washington: not only did the President finally invoke the long-promised mandate of requiring E-Verify from all federal contractors, but two of his execs hunkered down for a rather verbose press conference dubbed the "State of Immigration Address".  Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff (a/k/a Bush's lead immigration enforcer) and Commerce Secretary Gutierrez (who appeared more because of his surname than because of his contributions to the issue at hand) waxed poetic on a bunch of stuff, so I'm culling the "Employer Relevant" nitty gritty for you from the transcript, write me if you have questions...

On 2-year EADs- Employment Authorization Documents will be issued with a 2 year validity period beginning later this month, doubling the current limit of one year and making stressed out adjustees a lot less stressed.  Good job, Mr. Chertoff, given that the promised processing timeframes are rarely realized and a lot of folks have to sit out employment while waiting for the renewal of timely filed EAD extensions.

On State Legislation- Chertoff cited the state of Washington, which is
currently issuing its own version of an approved, enhanced driver’s
license that will be acceptable at the border. New York has announced
that it has completed its business plan to begin producing those
enhanced driver’s licenses. [Comment: I remember when the concept of federal sovereignty would have made this state involvement an outrage in D.C.; talk about a tacit admission of federal failure in immigration...!]

On E-Verify: Mr. Chertoff was positively giddy about the system, calling it "a tremendous success".  Unfortunately, his reasoning is a little loopy, and he seems to fail to grasp the connection between increased E-Verify usage and the fact that HSA has terrorized the nation with raids, insuring front page comments.  His words:

"The proof of the pudding is the
marketplace itself. Every week on average, about a thousand new
employers join this program. And I will tell you that at this point, I
will estimate that is almost -- maybe actually more than ten percent of
the new hires being hired in the United States are currently being run
through this E-Verify system...The system
works. Of those workers who are legal, 99.5 percent of them roughly are
verified essentially instantaneously. And if those workers who have a
mismatch -- legal workers who we estimate to be about a half a percent,
they are able generally to resolve their issue within less than two

[NOTE: I respectfully disagree with Mr. Chertoff and so do all the organizations tracking the system, but it IS improving.  Unfortunately, these numbers still represent a small fraction of U.S. employers and E-Verify remains a complex and user-unfriendly application; that's precisely the reason behind the rush to implement full-spectrum compliance tools such as our own i9 Advantage]

On Raids, Enforcement, and Nailing the Big Guys:  If there was any hope that in its waning months the Bush Administration was going to lay off the raids and focus on improving employer education, Mr. Chertoff calmly and quickly dispensed with any such illusions:

"Finally, we are going to continue to keep the pressure up on
employers and on illegal aliens by bringing significant cases. As you
know recently we brought a case against a meat-processing operation in
Iowa. Almost 300 immigrants, illegal immigrants pleaded guilty to using
fraudulent documents to get their jobs in an Iowa meat-processing
plant. That means they took the identities of innocent Americans and
misused those identities. And at least in some instances, caused damage
to the innocent American whose identity was stolen.

For those who say that we are only focusing on the illegal workers
themselves, I point out that last year we had over 90 employers, or
those in a supervisory chain who were convicted of crimes. We have had
one CEO or President of a company sent to jail for 10 years.
We have
had recent conviction of a union official from the United Food and
Commercial Workers union for his involvement with the activities at --.

We will continue to pursue employers. I know these cases take a
little bit longer. There is a -- it is always more difficult to work up
the chain. I can tell you as an old organized crime prosecutor and as
an old drug prosecutor, you always start with the bottom ring first,
then you work your way up to the top ring. But I guarantee we are
continuing to work on making cases against that top ring and we will do
so whenever the evidence supports bringing that kind of a case.
"[Emphasis supplied]

No punches pulled there, eh?  Here are some interesting excepts from the Q&A that followed:

Question: Secretary Chertoff, about the executive order on
E-verify for federal contractors, do you have somewhat of a number of
how many contractors that would involve and how many workers

Secretary Chertoff: I think we were potentially talking about
hundreds of thousands, if not millions of workers.
This is going to
apply to contractors who are getting a new contract. Once this comes
into effect they're going to be required to run all their employees
through E-verify. Or if they have a contract and they're going to bring
new employees onto the contract, they're going to have to do that.

Since I can' t predict what contracting is going to be like in the
next two or three years I can't give you a precise number, but it's
going to be at a minimum hundreds of thousands and I think maybe
millions of people will be run through that program

Question: Can you tell us whether this will cover subcontractors as well contractors?

Secretary Chertoff: I think now we're getting into exactly
the area where we're going to wind up having to write the detailed
regulation. There are all kinds of issues about what the contracting
entity is, so we're going to get into all kinds of topics that will be
fascinating for the lawyers. But I'm not going to try to give the legal
analysis from up here.

The basic principle is this: if you're working for the federal
government and you're being paid with federal taxes you ought to make
sure that you're employees are obeying federal law when it comes to
their employment authorization
, and this executive order as implemented
in detail by the regulation will do precisely that.

Question: One of -- for one, on the contractors, number one, the E-verify is voluntary? Is it voluntary for them or is it --

Secretary Chertoff: No.

Question: -- going to be mandatory for them?

Secretary Chertoff: No, for federal contractors who are
getting new contracts who are putting new employees on existing
contracts, it's going to be -- it's not going to be voluntary. They
will have to do it as a condition of getting the contract

A Little Help from my Friends...

Folks, if you are finding my blog and our efforts at i9 Advantage worthwhile, I have a big favor to ask of you: PLEASE write me if you hear of passed or proposed legislation, executive orders, and the like in your state.  I cannot tell you how much time we are investing into bringing you the best, most current, and most useful employment verification legislation status map in the galaxy.  Despite our efforts, the amount of state legislation is staggering, and it seems like every day I hear of some law which passed SOMEWHERE and, somehow, I'd missed it in my canvassing state legislative websites and the myriad other resources out there.

If you get wind of some new proposed legislation in your state, or perhaps that the state has announced the governor's executive order mandating some new employment authorization process for employers, email me at jlatour@i9advantage.com .  THANK YOU!!!!  Jose

Monday, June 9, 2008

NEW: President Bush Signs Order Mandating E-Verify for Fed Contractors

President Bush signed an executive order today mandating what his administration has long promised: E-Verify mandated for all federal contractors.
The Nutshell: All agencies and departments of the Executive branch of the federal government must require their contractors to use an electronic employment verification system.
What You Need to Do: If you are not using E-Verify -- and the vast majority of U.S. companies with federal contracts or subcontracts do NOT -- you MUST begin to do so.

The Big Problem: the E-Verify interface remains complex and cumbersome and does not provide a full spectrum employment verification solution

The Smart Solution: Click on www.i9advantage.com, the I-9 solution of choice for America's leading employers and industries, and don't miss a single federal contracting opportunity!

I've included the entire E.O. below but highlighted the portions you need to read, so take a quick look.  Write me with your questions and I'll answer them here!
And remember where you heard it first!

Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 2008

Order: Amending Executive Order 12989, as Amended

<><><><><><> <><><>

By the authority vested in me as
President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America,
including subsection 121(a) of title 40 and section 301 of title 3, United
States Code, and in order to take further steps to promote economy and
efficiency in Federal Government procurement, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Executive Order 12989 of
February 13, 1996, as amended, is further amended:

(a) by striking the title and
inserting in lieu thereof "Economy and Efficiency in Government Procurement
Through Compliance with Certain Immigration and Nationality Act Provisions and
Use of an Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System"; and

(b) by striking the material that
follows the title and precedes section 1 of the order and inserting in lieu
thereof the following:

"This order is
designed to promote economy and efficiency in Federal Government procurement.
Stability and dependability are important elements of economy and efficiency. A
contractor whose workforce is less stable will be less likely to produce goods
and services economically and efficiently than a contractor whose workforce is
more stable. It is the policy of the executive branch to enforce fully the
immigration laws of the

United States
, including the
detection and removal of illegal aliens and the imposition of legal sanctions
against employers that hire illegal aliens. Because of the worksite enforcement
policy of the United States and the underlying obligation of the executive
branch to enforce the immigration laws, contractors that employ illegal aliens
cannot rely on the continuing availability and service of those illegal workers,
and such contractors inevitably will have a less stable and less dependable
workforce than contractors that do not employ such persons. Where a contractor
assigns illegal aliens to work on Federal contracts, the enforcement of Federal
immigration laws imposes a direct risk of disruption, delay, and increased
expense in Federal contracting. Such contractors are less dependable procurement
sources, even if they do not knowingly hire or knowingly continue to employ
unauthorized workers.

that adopt rigorous employment eligibility confirmation policies are much less
likely to face immigration enforcement actions, because they are less likely to
employ unauthorized workers, and they are therefore generally more efficient and
dependable procurement sources than contractors that do not employ the best
available measures to verify the work eligibility of their workforce. It is the
policy of the executive branch to use an electronic employment verification
system because, among other reasons, it provides the best available means to
confirm the identity and work eligibility of all employees that join the Federal
workforce. Private employers that choose to contract with the Federal Government
should meet the same standard.

"I find, therefore, that adherence
to the general policy of contracting only with providers that do not knowingly
employ unauthorized alien workers and that have agreed to utilize an electronic
employment verification system designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security
to confirm the employment eligibility of their workforce will promote economy
and efficiency in Federal procurement.

"NOW, THEREFORE, to ensure the
economical and efficient administration and completion of Federal Government
contracts, and by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States of America, including subsection 121(a) of
title 40 and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as

Sec. 2. Section 1 of Executive Order
12989, as amended, is further amended by:

(a) striking the last sentence in
subsection 1(a); and

(b) striking subsection (b) and
inserting in lieu thereof the following new subsections:

"(b) It is the policy of the
executive branch in procuring goods and services that, to ensure the economical
and efficient administration and completion of Federal Government contracts,
contracting agencies may not enter into contracts with employers that do not use
the best available means to confirm the work authorization of their workforce.

"(c) It is the policy of the
executive branch to enforce fully the antidiscrimination provisions of the INA.
Nothing in this order relieves employers of antidiscrimination obligations under
section 274B of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1324b) or any other law.

"(d) All discretion under this order
shall be exercised consistent with the policies set forth in this section.".

Sec. 3. Section 5 of Executive Order
12989, as amended, is further amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 5. (a)Executive departments
and agencies that enter into contracts shall require, as a condition of each
contract, that the contractor agree to use an electronic employment eligibility
verification system designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security to verify
the employment eligibility of: (i) all persons hired during the contract term by
the contractor to perform employment duties within the United States; and (ii)
all persons assigned by the contractor to perform work within the United States
on the Federal contract

"(b) The Secretary of Homeland

"(i) shall administer, maintain, and
modify as necessary and appropriate the electronic employment eligibility
verification system designated by the Secretary under subsection (a) of this
section; and

"(ii) may establish with respect to
such electronic employment verification system:

"(A) terms and conditions for use of
the system; and

"(B) procedures for monitoring the
use, failure to use, or improper use of the system.

"(c) The
Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of General Services, and the
Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall amend
the Federal Acquisition Regulation to the extent necessary and appropriate to
implement the debarment responsibility, the employment eligibility verification
responsibility, and other related responsibilities assigned to heads of
departments and agencies under this order

"(d) Except to the extent otherwise
specified by law or this order, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the
Attorney General:

"(i) shall administer and enforce
this order; and

"(ii) may, after consultation to the
extent appropriate with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Labor, the
Administrator of General Services, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, and
the heads of such other departments or agencies as may be appropriate, issue
such rules, regulations, or orders, or establish such requirements, as may be
necessary and appropriate to implement this order.".

Sec. 4. Section 7 of Executive Order
12989, as amended, is amended by striking "respective agencies" and inserting in
lieu thereof "respective departments or agencies".

Sec. 5. Section 8 of Executive Order
12989, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 8. (a) This order shall be
implemented in a manner intended to minimize the burden on participants in the
Federal procurement process.

"(b) This order shall be implemented
in a manner consistent with the protection of intelligence and law enforcement
sources, methods, and activities from unauthorized disclosure.".

Sec. 6. Section 9 of Executive Order
12989, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 9. (a) Nothing in this order
shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to a
department or agency or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of
the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or
legislative proposals.

"(b) This order shall be implemented
consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of

"(c) This order is not intended to,
and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its
departments, agencies or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any
other person.".

Sec. 7. This order is not intended
to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its
departments, agencies or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any
other person.



June 6, 2008.

# # #

Correction for Link to E-Verify Map

Folks, Sam Udani kindly pointed out that the link to i9 Advantage's State Legislation Map was incorrect.  I have fixed it so you should be able to see our handiwork without a problem.  If you don't know Sam, check out www.ilw.com , the most comprehensive immigration resource on the Web.  J

Sunday, June 8, 2008

State Law Interactive Map is UP!!

I know what you're thinking.

"Jose is a slacker and hasn't been keeping up with his blog."

Actually, half of that is correct:  I have NOT been doing a good job on updating Immigration Insider as I SHOULD be, but not because I've been slacking.  The truth is that the I-9 Advantage team has been crackin' the whip and we've finally posted it.  It looks awesome (you go Eric B) and is already the most up-to-date and accurate analysis of state legislation that has been enacted and which affects employers.  The map, however, is very much a work in progress and extremely time consuming.  The reason:  the more Washington fails to deliver solutions, the more misguided legislation pours forth from the states. 

Check out our new baby at: http://www.i9advantage.com/extras/e-verify/

And tune in often to see the latest news on workforce enforcement, fer cryin' out loud.

Peace, Jose