In the Know - March 2013

3/8/2013
"In the Know" Updates

​​March 2013

This month: The sequeste​r; the unions take on “labor recruiters;” a new Form I-9; ACIP’s immigration benchmarking survey.


Happy Birthday DHS! Your Pr​es​ent Is … A Sequester


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) turned 10 last week. Created in the aftermath of 9/11, the agency is facing what could be one of its most challenging years yet. At an event celebrating the anniversary, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was joined by the two former DHS Secretaries, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, where they all agreed that “its high time for immigration reform.” Although immigration reform is the administration’s #1 priority, serious questions remain about how the agency will handle the workload as mandatory across-the-board spending cuts are implemented.

Some agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection, have begun sending furlough notices. Employees will be expected to take an unpaid day once every other week, likely creating hours-long waits at ports-of-entry. It is still unclear whether fee-funded agencies such as USCIS or US passport services will be able to avoid furloughs, or whether the Department of State will have discretion to shift resources from one consular post to another. Prevailing wage determinations and foreign labor certification at the Department of Labor may also take a hit. A question at the top of our minds is how much LCA filings or H-1B receipts may be impacted if staffing cuts are made in the midst of the heavy onslaught of cases expected when the new filing season opens on April 1. For a more detailed summary by agency, please click here.

With Congress unlikely to restore these budget cuts in the foreseeable future, we all may have to adjust to a new world of immigration adjudications. We are delighted that USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas has confirmed that he will join us once again at the 2013 Symposium to share USCIS’ belt-tightening measures as well as his vision for ensuring that USCIS is prepared for comprehensive immigration reform. Officials from DOL, DOS, CBP and ICE have also been invited. Space is limited, so register today!

Labor Unions Up​​ Opposition to Temporary Visas; Trusted Employer Part of Solution


This week, the House Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on the need for more visas for high-skilled workers. While it is clear that there is broad bipartisan support for expanding access to green cards for STEM professionals, whether the number of H-1B or other temporary visas can be increased is less certain. Labor unions have generally been supportive of legalization and creating more opportunities for permanent migration to the United States. They have become increasingly critical, however, of temporary visa programs – including H-1B, O, OPT, TN and J visas.

A report released this month by a consortium of labor and human rights organizations, entitled “The American Dream Up for Sale: A Blueprint for Ending International Labor Recruitment Abuse,” alleges that temporary visas are commonly abused to keep temporary workers in indentured servitude and calls for more extensive regulation of all temporary work programs. The mistreatment of workers contained in the report certainly should be punished. However, rather than drawing a distinction between the small number of employers who abuse the system and the majority who expend great resources trying to comply, the report broadly alleges that employers seek to exploit temporary workers. As the government faces an era with even fewer resources available for enforcement, ACIP believes a Trusted Employer program makes more sense than ever.

New Form I-9 Availabl​​e Today


A new two-page form I-9 was released this morning. It contains several new fields including space for the employee’s email address. Employers may begin using the revised form immediately and must begin using it within 60 days. This form was originally published for comment last spring and ACIP and SHRM submitted comments opposing the multi-page format.

How Do You Do It?: Plea​se Take Part in ACIP’s Benchmarking Survey


One of my favorite books is “How Does She Do It?,” a light-hearted novel about a woman who has to juggle kids, career and marriage. This month, ACIP is launching a new benchmarking survey to find out how you do it. Do you prepare your I-129s and PERMs in-house or do you outsource them? How many people are on your immigration team and where do they sit? How much do you spend on immigration vs. your competitors? Help us answer these questions and more by participating in our immigration benchmarking survey.

ACIP, in conjunction with SHRM, launched this survey yesterday. The primary contact in all ACIP member organizations should have received a link to the survey. If you did not receive this or if you have colleagues who are not ACIP members, but who may be interested in participating in this survey, send an email to info@acip.com.

Don’t Make Us Say “Good​bye!” – Renew for 2013 By the End of March


We don’t like to say “goodbye” but that’s what we must do if we don’t receive your 2013 dues by the end of March. The vast majority of ACIP members renew on a calendar basis and the primary contact of your organization should have received an invoice in December. You can renew dues online by clicking here and logging in. If you haven't logged into this system yet, your password is set as Password1. Once you're logged in, you will see a section to the left of the webpage that says “Membership Renewal,” and you will be able to renew from there. If you are having trouble logging in, please don't hesitate to email or call Susan Reyes at (703) 535-6020 or susan_reyes@acip.com to get the issue resolved.

Until next month,
Lynn

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