After significant buzz over the past year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office will implement the final rule on Public Charge Grounds of Inadmissibility starting February 24, 2020, nationwide except in the State of Illinois where USCIS has been enjoined (the legal term for stopped) by a federal district court. This latest round of rule changes comes with updated USCIS forms including Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (including H-1B, H-2A, H-2B and others).

An important victory comes out of the District Court in Washington D.C. today for the ag industry. For years, the ag industry has suffered a shortage of available commercial truck drivers and haulers to transport ag commodities from the fields to the processing facilities. During harvest, drivers and haulers are a critical component when fruit can perish within hours if not transported to cooling and processing facilities. To supplement the shortage of truck drivers and haulers, growers and labor contractors have filed for and received guest workers through the H-2A visa program.

ICE conducted worksite raids at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing worksite enforcement investigation. Three poultry plants operated by Peco Foods in three different towns, and a fourth poultry plant run by Koch Farms, were among the facilities raided.

ICE executed federal search warrants and seized business records from management and detained approximately 680 workers. Most of those workers arrested will remain detained at the discretion of ICE, until a date is set with an immigration judge for weeks or months after the arrest. With such an immediate loss of their workforce, employers may think about what plans and policies to prepare for what may be an increase in large-scale immigration raids that have not been previously seen this decade.

Monday night, President Trump tweeted “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.......” The President’s tweet appears to reference stalled ICE plans to sweep up families in major U.S. cities. To read The Washington Post’s article, follow this link.

You can review our “What to do when ICE shows Up” cheat sheet here; or listen to our podcast here.

We would like to thank Christopher Valadez at Grower-Shipper Association of Central California for alerting the industry.

Following storm delays and other stalls, ICE has started to deliver on President Trump’s directive to ramp up immigration enforcement. Beginning the weekend of July 12, ICE conducted visible street raids and invisible- or “silent”- raids in the workplace. In the streets, ICE conducted a week-long surge throughout San Diego County. ICE apprehended more than a dozen “targeted” individuals with prior immigration and criminal violations as well as “collateral” individuals, people who happen to be present with targets.  In the workplace, ICE has issued over 3,000 Notices of Inspection (NOI) initiating Form I-9 audits for companies. This is the most recent surge of “silent” raids over the past two years with an increase of 4,600 audits from FY17 to FY18. Both Acting Director Matthew Albence and local Immigration Enforcement have reiterated focus on employers rather than employees for immigration violations in the workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions on All Things Social Security

This collaborative briefing was written by Michael C. Saqui of Dowling Aaron Incorporated, Chris Schulte of CJ Lake, LLC, and Rob Roy, President and General Counsel of Ventura County Agricultural Association

Beginning this month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is sending "Employer Correction Request" letters, also known as "no-match letters," to every employer that has at least one Social Security "no-match”. 

The letters are likely meant to intimidate employers, but explicitly state that they do not have anything to do with any employee’s work authorization or immigration status. Follow this link to read the complete article.

Built For Employers