Month: November 2016

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Will Detained Immigrants be Held Without Bond Hearings?

Today the United States Supreme Court hears an important case concerning the constitutionality of immigrant detention, and in particular, whether immigrants subject to lengthy detention have the opportunity for release on bond.  The case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, is a class-action lawsuit that asks the Court to consider whether detained immigrants must be afforded bond hearings with the possibility of release if they have been detained for six months or more.

In general, indefinite detention without a bond hearing is not allowed under the U.S. Constitution, and it is well established that the Fifth Amendment entitles noncitizens to due process of law in deportation proceedings.  Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993).  However, under the Supreme Court precedent of Demore v. Kim, 538 U.S. 510 (2003), among other cases, and using the plenary power doctrine, the federal government has defended its ability to detain immigrants during removal proceedings for a “limited time of duration.”  Limited time of duration is undefined.

Jennings v. Rodriguez seeks to clarify this discrepancy.  The lead class representative in Jennings v. Rodriguez is 38 year-old Alejandro Rodriguez.  Mr. Rodriguez is a legal permanent residence who was brought to the United States as a child.  He was convicted of a drug possession charge which resulted in him being placed into removal proceedings.  While in proceedings he was detained for three years without a hearing.  Another class participant, an asylum-seeker who suffered torture in Ethiopia, was detained for nine months without a hearing simply because his proof of identify was deemed insufficient – a Department of Homeland Security officer found that he was not a danger to society.  Had this asylum-seeker been given a bond hearing before an immigrant judge this issue could have been presented and clarified, allowing his release.

These indefinite detentions are unjust and unacceptable.  A bond hearing to assess a noncitizen’s potential flight risk and danger to the community is one of the most basic, fundamental due process requirements for civil detention.  The argument presented in Jennings v. Rodriguez is merely calling for the opportunity to present arguments for release before an immigration judge.  This minimal due process protection should be afforded to noncitizens in civil immigration detention.

A decision from the Court on this case will not be made for several months, and at the latest, by the end of June 2017.  The outcome of Jennings v. Rodriguez will significantly impact President-elect Trump’s strategies and proposals for immigration.

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Join us: I-9 Roundtables

In the wake of the Presidential Election, there has been much speculation about how immigration enforcement will change in a Trump presidency. While we wait to determine the exact tenor of the incoming administration, we do know that I-9 audits remain a potential target area and a concern for employers. On Monday, USCIS released a new Form I-9, and employers will be required to use the updated form by January 22, 2017.

We invite you to join us for a free roundtable to discuss the changes to the Form I-9 as well as a conversation on best practices for completing and retaining the form.

As a reminder, fines for paperwork errors on the I-9 recently increased significantly from $110 to $1,100 per employee to $216 to $2,156 per infraction.
Follow this link for RSVP information.
Breakfast Session
January 11th from 8:30 am-9:30 am

Lunch Session
January 18th from 12:00 pm-1:00 pm

Location: 650 S. Cherry St.
Denver, CO 80246

*Room details will be sent prior to the event.

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New Form I-9

 USCIS has announced that the new I-9 form. Below are they key takeaways you need to know now.
Important Dates:
  • New form published on November 14
  • Employers must use the updated form by January 22, 2017
  • All prior versions are invalid after January 21, 2017

Changes to the Form:

  • Electronic format is simpler to complete
  • Prompts and features designed to reduce errors

As a reminder, fines for paperwork errors on the I-9 recently increased significantly from $110 to $1,100 per employee to $216 to $2,156 per infraction.

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Beyond Immigration Enforcement: Trump’s Plans for High-Skilled Immigration

While most of Donald Trump’s future plans for U.S. immigration law have centered on enforcement (i.e. his “10-Point Plan”), throughout the campaign he has made both vague and direct statements regarding U.S. high-skilled immigration policy under a Trump administration.

On one hand, Trump companies have often used high and low skilled visa categories to satisfy their employment needs. However, Trump has regularly attacked the H-1B program during the campaign. Beyond the many statements that he will suspend immigration from certain regions (particularly those “that export terrorism and where safe vetting cannot presently be ensured”), he has also said he will “end the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program.” In fact, many Trump campaign events featured American workers allegedly displaced by companies that have used high-skilled visa categories to staff themselves. Moreover, within his 10-Points, Trump also stated he will “[e]nsure that a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system is fully implemented at all land, air, and sea ports.”

Given this ambiguous preview of what high-skilled immigration policy modifications lay on the horizon, when such policies will be implemented and what they will look like post January 20th is anyone’s guess.

 

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Study Shows the Size of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Workforce Has Decreased Since 2009

Despite much talk this election cycle about unauthorized workers and “illegal” immigrants, a recent study from the Pew Research Center shows that the overall number of unauthorized workers in the U.S. has not risen since the end of the recession in 2009. Instead, the number of unauthorized workers has declined in recent years.

The study, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that while the U.S. total workforce grew by approximately 3.5 million between 2009 and 2014, the unauthorized immigrant workforce shrank slightly, by an estimated 100,000. This relative stability comes after a period of rapid growth in the unauthorized immigrant population during the 1990s and early 2000s, which peaked prior to the beginning of the recession in 2007. Currently,  unauthorized immigrants make up approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. labor force, or approximately 8 million workers, and are primarily employed in the agriculture and construction industries. In all sectors, however, U.S-born workers outnumbered unauthorized immigrant workers.  Since then, eight states have experienced significant declines in the number of unauthorized workers in their labor force: Alabama , California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, South Carolina and Rhode Island. Although the rhetoric may continue, the available data fails to demonstrate any influx of unauthorized immigrant workers.

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