Immigration Law Update - August 2017
Latest Version of the Form I-9
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the latest Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17, 2017. Employers will be able to either (1) use this revised version or (2) continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of November 11, 2016 through September 17, 2017. On September 18, 2017, they may only use the Form with a revision date of July 17, 2017. Please note, employers must continue to follow existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9. No action is required at this time for existing employees -- a new Form I-9 does not need to be completed with this revised Form I-9.
Emails from firstname.lastname@example.org are Legitimate
Employers have recently received emails from a contractor at the Department of State (DOS) via "email@example.com," requesting confirmation that an employee-beneficiary will be providing services at the company-petitioner. DOS Visa Office has confirmed that "firstname.lastname@example.org" is a legitimate email address. As such, employers should respond to the request accordingly. If you have specific concerns regarding employment compliance, please reach out to Karen Kett, James Morrison, or Mike Nowlan for immediate assistance.
Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program Now Available to Citizens of India
Citizens of India are now eligible to participate in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program. The U.S. CBP Trusted Traveler Program allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers from Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Panama, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and now India to enjoy faster entry process into the U.S. Although the individual applicant requirements vary from country to country, all travelers must undergo an in-person interview and an exacting background check. Barring a violation of the program rules, Global Entry membership is valid for five years and allows member access to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck, which allows pre-vetted travelers access to expedited security screening for trips to the U.S. For more information about how to apply, please visit this website.
ICE Memo to Field Officers
The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants, regardless of criminal history. In a February memo, Matthew Albence, a career official who heads the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division of ICE, informed his officers that "effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties." This directive is a distinct shift from previous enforcement policy that had prioritized immigrants based on the severity of their convictions.
According to ICE statistics, as of May 2016, there were 930,000 undocumented immigrants who had been ordered deported but remained undetained in the country. Although the ICE memo recognized that space in detention facilities limits the number of undocumented workers who can be detained, ICE officials are still mandated to begin proceedings against any and all immigrants whom they encounter.
Laptop Ban Lifted for Certain Middle Eastern Airlines
In March, the Trump administration barred international travelers arriving in the U.S. from certain Middle Eastern and African airports from having electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smartphone in their carry-ons. The restrictions apply to 10 airports from the majority-Muslim countries: Queen Alia International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport, Hamad International Airport, Dubai International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport. The ban was put in place in response to what U.S. officials said were emerging and ongoing terrorist threats on commercial flights.
However, within the last month, Doha-based Qatar Airways, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Dubai-based Emirates, Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian, and Kuwait Airways have all been released from the laptop ban list after implementing more rigorous passenger screening measures that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA had recently asked commercial carriers to adopt at overseas airports.
International Entrepreneur Rule: Delay of Effective Date
On July 11, 2017, DHS announced it is delaying implementation of the "International Entrepreneur Rule." The purpose of the rule, which was set to take effect on July 17, 2017, was to enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the U.S. Under the rule, international entrepreneurs would be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the U.S.) to start up businesses and work in the U.S. DHS announced it would delay implementation to March 2018 to allow for a public comment period. This delay will provide DHS the opportunity to obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule pursuant to President Trump's Executive Order, titled "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,'' aimed at heightened immigration enforcement. For more information on the International Entrepreneur Rule, see Clark Hill's March 23rd update.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Karen Kett, James Morrison, or another member of Clark Hill's Immigration practice group.