Employers’ Immigration Law Update - September 2014
ICE Levies $2M Fine against Hotel for I-9 Related Violations
A Salt Lake City-based hotel will have to pay nearly $2 million for hiring unauthorized workers, including illegal aliens. The hotel will avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for its full cooperation with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation and for taking action to correct its hiring practices. According to the non-prosecution agreement, several lower-level employees and mid-level managers conspired to rehire unauthorized workers amidst an administrative audit of I-9 employee verification forms that began in September 2010. The hotel was notified that 133 employees were not authorized to work in the United States; however, the conspirators created three temporary employment agencies, essentially shell companies, to rehire 43 of the unauthorized, and most of the workers returned under different names using fraudulent identity documents.
$300K for H-2B Violations
According to a Department of Labor announcement, the agency has charged a landscaping company with violating federal law by failing to hire U.S. workers, and for underpaying temporary foreign workers. The company will pay $280,000 in back wages to 80 workers and nine job applicants and $20,000 in civil money penalties.
Immigration Reform Update
With comprehensive immigration reform legislation no longer a realistic possibility for the foreseeable future, advocates for reform have shifted their focus to executive actions the President may take unilaterally to implement changes in immigration policy.
The President reportedly is considering broad use of executive action, granting relief potentially to up to 6 million undocumented individuals, similar to what has been provided under the administration’s Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
Building off of DACA, the President has directed the Department of Homeland Security to review the administration’s immigration enforcement policies and recommend additional changes, possibly expanding the deferred action and work authorization to family members of U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. residents. The administration reportedly also is looking at possible changes to current law and regulation that could benefit employers.
Any unilateral action by the administration likely will be controversial.
Owner Liable for H-1B, J-1 Costs
The owner of several medical clinics is personally liable for back wages and the costs of physicians’ H-1B visas and J-1 waivers, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled. Kutty v. DOL, No. 11-6120 (6th Cir. Aug. 20, 2014). The Court held Dr. Mohan Kutty and his medical clinics violated H-1B provisions by having physicians cover the costs of their own H-1B visa petitions and related J-1 visa waivers.