Sometimes I need to remember this to keep things in perspective. As we end 2011 and move on to 2012 I am reminded of my clients who are braving untold hardships in trying to make their lives better, keep their families together, escape from poverty, violence and hopelessness. In choosing to do what I do I realize that there are many battles I will lose, our laws have not caught up to our realities and until that happens we will we will continue to cause chaos that I believe we will be dealing with for years and years to come. After every battle lost (and every battle won for that matter) we who care about our immigrant clients and their families trying to forge ahead in our brave new world, have to continue to keep in mind why we do this. Because we have to. Because someone has to. Because it is the right thing to do even when it breaks our hearts.
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Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Virginia-Based BAE Systems Ship Repair Inc.
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with BAE Systems Ship Repair Inc., a leading provider of ship repair services, to settle allegations that its subsidiary, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama LLC, engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary and additional documentary requirements on work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when establishing their eligibility to work in the United States.
The department alleges, based on an extensive investigation, that since at least Jan. 1, 2009, BAE Southeast Alabama imposed different and greater requirements in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process on lawful permanent residents as compared to U.S. citizen employees by requiring all newly hired lawful permanent residents to present Permanent Resident Cards, commonly known as “green cards,” as a condition of employment. The investigation was initiated after BAE Southeast Alabama suspended a lawful permanent resident even though he had presented valid documents sufficient under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to establish his work authorization on three separate occasions. The INA requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner during the employment eligibility verification process, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status.
“Employers may not treat authorized workers differently during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”
According to the settlement agreement, BAE agreed to ensure that the employment eligibility verification policies and procedures of all its subsidiaries comply with the law, to train its human resources personnel about employers’ responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and to produce Forms I-9 for inspection for three years. BAE also agreed to pay $53,900 to the United States. The lawful permanent resident who was suspended was previously reinstated and fully compensated by BAE.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which protects work authorized individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin discrimination, including discrimination in hiring and the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. OSC was represented in this matter by Equal Opportunity Specialist Joann Sazama and Trial Attorney Ronald Lee. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the immigration law, call 1-800-255-7688 (OSC’s worker hotline) (1-800-237-2525, TDD for hearing impaired), 1-800-255-8255 (OSC’s employer hotline) (1-800-362-2735, TDD for hearing impaired), or 202-616-5594; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.
Somewhere else I cannot eat.
Jusge blocks parts of South Carolina’s New Arizona style immigration law. It specifically blocked the part of the law to require police to determine the immigration status of those the officers deem to cause “reasonable suspicion” as to their legal status. This part of many other laws have been blocked by other Federal Judges. The Supreme Court is set to hear the AZ law this term.
As I said yesterday…
The Pew Hispanic Center is an Awesome resource about some real and reliable statistics on Hispanics int he United States. Check out their latest report on how Latinos feel about Obamas immigration policies.
Beware Beware Beware Business Owners. The Penalties are huge financially and could land you in Jail!!!. Are your I-9’s in order? My guess is probably not. Even if you are a meticulous book keeper, probably not…and will you be willing to bet $400k and possibly years of your life in jail that they are in order? Think about that for 2012 and consider hiring someone like my dear friend and colleague Mira Mdivani (who is the I-9 guru) to audit your I-9’s and business practices before ICE comes knocking at your door. She is truly the best and if I ever have employees you can bet I will be asking her to make sure I am in compliance.
Be Sure to Look at the Instructions after January 1, 2012 to confirm the address for filing I-130s because they are changing. In fact I would say look at the address each time you file an application, sometimes they sneak in a change of address and it isn’t publicized as well as it could be or, lets face it, maybe you ignored that email that day because of the zillion others you got from your various listservs. Anyways, while usually filing in the wrong place isn’t the big of a deal, i.e., immigration sends you back your packet all out of order, stamped up and stapled in weird places, if you are trying to file by a deadline (client is turning 21 soon for example) that delay can be deadly. Even when it is not a big deal, your client will get copies of the rejection letters too and it is a little embarrassing to have to explain that you mailed them to the wrong address. it undermines you as well even just a little bit, (IF she can’t even file the app in the right place how is she going to handle my case’s more complicated aspects is floating through the client’s head even if they do not say it.)
Published in November of 2011 this report from the Immigration Policy Center explores the role immigration should take in the 21st Century Economic Policy. There is a mistake belief that immigration reduces jobs for Americans, but most economic theorists actually show different. Not only do immigrants often actually create jobs by opening their own businesses and employing people to work in those businesses but they are vitally necessary to fill 2 areas of employment that America seems to lack in workers: that of highly educated and skilled labor (engineers, computer techs etc) and extremely low skilled (agriculture, unskilled manual labor etc). We as a population seem to fall somewhere in between those two extremes, most people in the United States have education levels between almost done with high school and college graduate. Lets face it, people in that skill set are overqualified and educated (and often refuse) to work in hard labor intensive jobs like meat packing plants, agriculture, roofing, etc and are not educated enough to fill all the high tech jobs our companies need.
Steve Jobs, before his death met personally with Obama and spoke to him about the need to revamp our immigration system to deal with the realities of our global economy. He told Obama that Apple recently built a plant overseas because thats where the workers were to fill the programming and engineering jobs that were needed. Our system is too slow, expensive, unsure and cumbersome for many businesses to keep their plants in the US because the fact is , the work force is not here and they cannot get them here. It is cheaper to build the whole plant overseas and ship the skilled labor from the US there to work than it is to try to get visas for the foreign workers to bring them here.
We have a system design when international travel was expensive, rare, exceptional and unique. When businesses largely did business with people locally and maybe across country for the really big companies. We are desperately trying to hold on to that system for some reason I cannot fathom even as our world has drastically changed and a person can get on a plane and be across the planet in less than 24 hours and for less than the cost of most house payments and rents. Where someone can open up an internet browser and buy even small things like a t-shirt from a seller in China an be wearing that same t-shirt within a few days. Why restrictionists are clinging to this antiquated system when it is clearly stifling the entrepreneural spirit and creative genius that has made America great in the first place. So read this link and put some thought into who you vote for in the coming year. I may seem like a one trick pony in this respect but immigration is something that is not going away and is not going to fix itself.