Immigration Weekly Round-Up: Clothing Retailer Settles DOJ Discrimination Suit; Broad Immigration Relief Hangs in the Balance in Senate; New Jersey Welcomes Afghan Refugee Families
Clothing Company Settles Federal Charges of Discrimination Against Non-US Citizen Employees
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that the American retail company Gap has settled federal charges that alleged discrimination against non-U.S. citizen employees due to their immigration status. Gap will pay a $73,263 fine for the violations and provide back wages to employees who lost work as a result, ending an investigation into the company’s conduct that lasted over three years.
The DOJ alleged Gap contributed towards discriminatory behavior by the over-reliance on an electronic human resource management system and unnecessarily reverifying certain employees’ permission to work without any legal basis to do so. Federal law prohibits employers from unnecessarily reverifying a worker’s permission to work or specifying the types of documentation a worker is allowed to show to prove permission to work, because of the risk of discrimination based upon the worker’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. Employers must ensure that employees are permitted the opportunity to present any documentation allowed under the law to prove their eligibility to work and that no employee is verified more than prescribed under federal regulations.
Third Proposal for Federal Immigration Relief Rests with Senate Parliamentarian
Senate Democrats have met again with Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough to make a case to include temporary immigration protections in the $2.2 trillion reconciliation bill now under consideration. Senate Republicans at the bipartisan meeting opposed the inclusion of the protections.
This new proposal some provisions for budgetary purposes after the Parliamentarian rejected two different proposals to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residency. Senate Democrats are expected to present more permanent immigration reform measures in a subsequent proposal. In the event that this third measure fails, Senate Democrats will almost certainly face calls from advocacy organizations to override the Parliamentarian’s decision, which would require the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. Some advocates are already pushing the Senate to reinstate provisions that were removed following the last two rejections.
Several groups, including the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), released a memorandum last month detailing steps that Senate Democrats could take to override the Parliamentarian’s decision, should that become necessary. NILC executive director, Marielena Hincapie, stated that the group was “urging Democrats to step into their own political power, to disregard the Parliamentarian’s advisory opinion and enact the permanent relief that millions of immigrants who call our country home, and who are essential to who we are as a nation, absolutely need.
Afghan Refugees Find Homes in New Jersey with Help from New Jersey Non Profit
Welcome Home Jersey City, a non-profit community-based organization that provides assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in the Jersey City area, helped nine Afghan families find new homes in Jersey City. The organization is expecting to help many more additional families resettle in the Jersey City area after thousands of Afghans fled the country after the Taliban retook control of the country earlier this year, with a large percentage of those people seeking refuge and protection in the United States.
Many Afghan families – as do refugees from anywhere in the world – face challenges and difficulties with settling in a brand new country: one Afghan man, who had been resettled with assistance from the U.S. military, described how difficult it was to find housing, enrolling his children in school, obtaining necessary vaccinations, and completing other necessary paperwork. Welcome Home Jersey City’s mission is to assist the families in navigating those challenges and connecting families with other refugees.