October 21, 2019

October 21, 2019

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USCIS and DOJ Partner to Share Data in an Effort to Protect U.S. Workers

On May 11, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expanding their preexisting collaboration with the goal of better detecting and eliminating fraud, abuse, and discrimination by employers bringing foreign workers to the United States. The MOU is intended to provide an improved process for sharing information, collaborating on cases, and cross-training investigators from each agency.

The MOU builds upon a 2010 collaboration between USCIS and DOJ that focused on sharing information about the misuse of E-Verify (the Internet-based system operated by USCIS that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of employees) and combating employment discrimination. The new MOU provides a framework for identifying data and information that the agencies can share with one another in an effort to better identify, investigate, and prosecute employers who discriminate against U.S. workers and/or violate immigration laws.

The partnership between the agencies was spurred by separate but similar policies put forth by the Trump administration. In 2017, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ launched its Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, designed to identify and act against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of foreign workers. Likewise, USCIS has been operating with the goal of promoting President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, which makes protecting the economic interests of U.S. workers a top priority. Both programs have considerably increased the level of scrutiny faced by U.S. businesses that employ or seek to employ foreign workers. The collaboration contemplated by the MOU is likely to further increase scrutiny, potentially prompting additional requests for evidence on cases and increasing delays in processing times.

The MOU went into effect on May 11, 2018, and gives the agencies 45 days to identify and agree upon the types of information to be shared.

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About this Author

Melissa Manna, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Raleigh, Immigration Practice Group Writer
Immigration Practice Group Writer

Melissa Manna is an Immigration Practice Group Writer. Her primary focus is writing and editing legal articles relating to immigration for the firm’s online and print publications, websites, and newsletters.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Melissa spent 9 years as in-house counsel at TowerCo, one of the largest independent wireless tower companies in the U.S., representing the company in all aspects of commercial real estate. During that time she managed due diligence, advised and implemented risk management solutions, and closed transactions...