Immigration Enforcement

More companies use E-Verify immigration database

By SUSAN CARROLL HOUSTON CHRONICLE

June 1, 2009, 4:12AM

What do Continental Airlines, the Houston Ballet, the city of Dallas and Sen. John Cornyn all have in common?

They all use the federal government’s E-Verify program to check if their employees are authorized to work in the U.S. legally.

A Department of Homeland Security database of the more than 118,000 public, private and government employers enrolled in E-Verify as of May 1 shows companies big (Tyson Foods) and small (the Ballard Street Café in Wylie) are signed up for the program.

Enrollment has grown exponentially in recent years, with about 1,000 employers signing up each week for the free Web-based program, according to DHS statistics. More than 6,100 Texas employers have enrolled as of May 1, including at least 60 city, county and state agencies.

The city of Houston and Harris County aren’t among them. Lakewood Church and the Houston Rockets, however, use E-Verify.

“Why not do it?” asked Gerry Boren, the city manager of Gun Barrel City, population about 6,100, which sits on Cedar Creek Lake southeast of Dallas. The city started using the system in May, and so far has verified the work authorization of a police officer and two public works employees, he said.

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June 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Co. Illinois Criminal Alien program leads to 260 deportation cases

By identifying illegal aliens arrested in Lake County as soon as they come into the criminal justice system, the federal Criminal Alien Program has resulted in 260 deportation cases being opened since Sept. 1, Sheriff Mark Curran and other officials said Tuesday.

Administered by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security, CAP allows ICE to place a detainer on any illegal immigrant arrested for a felony offense.

The detainer places an indelible mark on an inmate’s paperwork that follows him or her through the system, and upon completion of the criminal proceedings against the inmate, results in their immediate transfer to ICE for deportation.

“The cost of illegal immigration to law enforcement and the criminal justice system is astronomical,” said Curran, who touted the program at the Lake County jail as proof of the results of local law enforcement cooperation with the federal government. “We are a nation of immigrants, but we are a nation of laws as well, and we are enforcing the law in Lake County.”

Curran said CAP is different from the ICE 287g program he has also applied to be a part of, because unlike 287g, his employees do not receive power to do any functions usually performed by ICE agents.

Gail Montenegro, public affairs officer for the six-state area covered by ICE’s Chicago office, said the CAP program resulted in the opening of 221,085 deportation cases last year, up from 164,296 in 2007.

Not all those targeted for deportation have left the country, she said, because ICE waits for jail or prison sentences imposed on convicted criminals to be served before removing them from the country.

In Lake County, Curran said roughly 20 percent of the jail population at any given time is made up of illegal aliens and that there are currently 152 foreign-born individuals in his custody.

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February 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush Administration Caves into Pressure and Delays E-Verify Regulation for Federal Contractors

Last week, the Bush Administration announced its intent to postpone a new regulation set to go into effect January 15th that would have required virtually all federal contractors to use E-Verify, the voluntary program run by the Department of Homeland Security that helps employers verify the work authorization of employees. (The Hill, January 9, 2009).   Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff first announced the E-Verify regulation August 10, 2008, stating he wanted the government to “lead by example.”  (Remarks by Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, August 10, 2008).  The move was hailed by true immigration reformers as a significant step towards curbing the employment of illegal aliens and reducing the taxpayer subsidy of illegal immigration.

However, as the effective date neared in late December , a coalition of special interest groups filed a lawsuit to block the rule from taking effect as scheduled. The plaintiffs included various organizations that have routinely sought to impede interior enforcement of our immigration laws, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.; the Society for Human Resource Management; the American Council on International Personnel; and the HR Policy Association. (To read more about this lawsuit, read FAIR’s Legislative Update).

In the face of this lawsuit, Homeland Security announced it will postpone the effective date of these new regulations to February 20, 2009.  A DHS Spokesman said the Department did not think the Chamber of Commerce and others would prevail with their lawsuit, and said “[the] pause merely allows litigants the opportunity to make their case before a judge, and prevents parties opposed to the rule from additional stalling through litigation.”  (The Hill, January 9, 2009).  More than 100,000 employers are already using E-Verify, with an estimated 1,000 new employers signing up each week.

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January 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

What is the IMAGE program?

IMAGE

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is IMAGE?

IMAGE is a joint government and private sector voluntary initiative designed to build cooperative relationships that strengthen overall hiring practices. The goal is to help restore the integrity of the immigration system of the United States by utilizing industry outreach and self-policing. ICE has developed this initiative as a new concept for employer self-compliance within the worksite enforcement program.

Why Was the IMAGE Program Started?

An April 1999 Government Accountability Office report entitled “Significant Obstacles to Reducing Unauthorized Alien Employment Exist,” noted that certain industries historically have had a high percentage of illegal aliens in their workforce. ICE recognizes that the highest level of employment integrity can only be achieved through close coordination with industry partners. Furthermore, industry self-policing will allow ICE to focus on other aspects of its homeland security mission. The IMAGE program also serves to foster improved relations with businesses vital to U.S. national interests as part of ICE’s role in critical infrastructure protection.

Is IMAGE an Employment Eligibility Verification System?

The IMAGE program mandates that its members use E-Verify, an online system operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, as the first of its 10 best practices. The other best practices go beyond electronic verification to help employers who seek to maintain the integrity of their worksites.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming an IMAGE Member?

Following the prescribed steps of IMAGE could lessen the likelihood that your company is found in violation. IMAGE places an emphasis on self-policing. It can enhance your corporate image by associating it with sound hiring practices, and help to secure the homeland by reducing opportunities to inadvertently hire unauthorized workers. IMAGE participation may be considered a mitigating factor in the determination of civil penalty (fine) amounts should they be levied.

What Does ICE Agree to Do as Part of IMAGE?

ICE will look to IMAGE participants to promote industry-wide participation and acceptance of the IMAGE program. ICE will review IMAGE participants’ hiring and employment practices/policies and recommend to companies ways to correct compliance issues. ICE will identify schemes used to circumvent hiring and employment processes. ICE will work collaboratively with employers whenever it discovers minor and isolated potential misconduct. ICE will attempt to minimize disruption of business operations resulting from a company’s self-disclosure of possible violations. ICE will keep the related information confidential to the extent permitted by law and regulation.

What Kinds of Additional Work Will IMAGE Participants Be Required to Perform?

Employers seeking to participate in IMAGE must first agree to submit to an I-9 audit by ICE and, to ensure the accuracy of their wage reporting, verify the Social Security numbers of their existing labor forces, utilizing the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS). All IMAGE participants will agree to use E-Verify for all new hiring. Companies will agree to establish an internal training program covering topics such as I-9, fraudulent identity documents, and E-Verify procedures. Companies will have only trained employees completing the I-9 and performing the E-Verify query and will establish a secondary review process to ensure that a single individual does not subvert the process. Companies will conduct a semiannual I-9 audit by a neutral party and establish a self-reporting procedure to inform ICE of violations or deficiencies. Additionally, companies will establish a protocol for responding to no-match letters from the Social Security Administration.

ICE is requesting that companies establish a tip line for employees to report violations or deficiencies and that employers with more than 50 employees designate a compliance officer to ensure that employment practices are in accordance with IMAGE guidelines.

Once a year, IMAGE participants will report to ICE the number of employees removed and denied employment as a result of IMAGE participation, identify major organizational changes and update their company’s point of contact. Participants will immediately report to ICE the discovery or allegations of any substantive criminal violations.

What Is E-Verify?

The E-Verify program, formerly known as Basic Pilot or the Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS), is jointly administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). This program allows participating employers to verify whether newly hired employees are authorized to work in the United States by checking the information provided by the employees on their Form I-9 against both DHS and SSA databases. Participation in E-Verify is currently free to employers.  For more information on this voluntary program, visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov/everify.

Why Do I Have to Perform Document Checks?

Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to verify that all employees are authorized to work and have established their identities using the Form I-9.

What Happens If I Correctly Complete an I-9 Form and Perform the E-Verify Query and ICE Subsequently Determines the Individual to Be Unauthorized to Work in the U.S.?

If the employee presented the employer with documents that reasonably appeared to be genuine and relate to the employee presenting them, you cannot be charged with a verification violation. This type of circumstance underscores the importance of why ICE is advocating participation in E-Verify for all employers.

You may request an information packet via the Enrollment Information for Employers form.

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September 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harris County Texas Judicial candidate, Charles Bacarisse, works to improve Criminal Alien Program(CAP)

HOUSTON — Conservative leader Charles Bacarisse today saluted officials in Travis and Bexar counties for following his lead and partnering with the federal government to help identify and deport undocumented convicted felons rather than releasing them back onto Texas streets.

As a San Antonio Express-News story “U.S., local immigration teamwork is hailed” (go to https://ncvoiceblog.wordpress.com/2008/02…) details, the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) operated for many years as an informal arrangement between federal agents and local authorities across the country without a centralized tracking system.

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February 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Omnibus Appropriations Bill Guts Fencing, Other Immigration-Related revisions

From FAIR:

This week, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) came under increasing pressure for her amendment to the FY08 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R.2764) that grants the Department of Homeland Security significant discretion regarding the border fence (Houston Chronicle, January 12, 2008). Approximately 700 miles of two-layered fencing was mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, but since the legislation was signed into law, critics have been looking for opportunities to undermine it. Senator Hutchison as early as January 2007 expressed “deep skepticism” about the fence (Dallas Morning News, January 10, 2007) and during the course of the past year successfully offered several amendments that required Homeland Security to increase consultation with border communities and gave the Department more discretion in building the fence. None of the bills to which these amendments were attached passed, however, until the Omnibus Appropriations legislation was enacted in December.

Border security advocates claim the Hutchison amendment dismantles the Secure Fence Act. The amendment: (1) eliminates the requirement for two-layered fencing; (2) deletes the specific locations for fencing set out in statute and replaces them with language that gives Homeland Security broad discretion in determining where the fencing will be built; and (3) has a sweeping consultation requirement that requires Homeland Security to consult with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as Indian tribes and “property owners.”

Finally the Hutchison amendment is particularly troubling to fence advocates because of a paragraph that some argue calls into doubt the construction of any fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. That language provides that notwithstanding the requirement that Homeland Security construct 700 miles of fencing along the southwest border, “[N]othing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location” (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, Division E, § 564(a)(2)(B)(ii) [internal paragraph (D)]).

Already, opponents of the border fence are gearing up for a lawsuit based on Hutchison’s amendment. Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, an organization supporting several opponents of the fence, sent Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff a letter on Monday threatening legal action to prevent any further fence construction. Schey’s principal claim is that the Secretary must restart the process of building the fence in order to consult with affected parties as required by the Hutchison amendment (Dallas Morning News, January 9, 2008).

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), one of the authors of the Secure Fence Act, told reporters Friday that the Texas Senator’s change was “either a blatant oversight or a deliberate attempt to disregard the border security of our country” (United Press International, January 11, 2008). In response to her critics, Senator Hutchison said, “I feel like this has been a little blown out of proportion” (Houston Chronicle, January 12, 2008). Hutchison insists her measure in no way jeopardizes the fence construction once due to get under way in Texas in the spring (Id.).

January 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment