Immigration Enforcement — UPDATED

Bryan Little,
Posted: Aug 6, 2019 Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Media coverage in recent days indicates that President Trump intends to reinstate a promised crackdown on illegal immigration orignally promised in June just ahead of the announcement of his reelection bid. This enforcement activity is to begin on Sunday, July 14 in ten large U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. Various media reports have indicated that this Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity will focus on those with pending deportation orders who have remained in the United States, or asylum seekers and family members of asylum seekers who have failed to appear for their asylum hearing. 

If these news reports are correct, this should not involve ICE agents coming to workplaces to “sweep” or “roundup” employees who may or may not be present illegally.  However, an enforcement action of this kind could have wide-ranging impact that could touch farm employers.

FELS clients and Newsletter subscribers can do several things to be prepared for this:

  • Make sure you complete, valid Forms I-9 for each person you currently employ and each person you have employed recently whose Forms I-9 you are required to retain.  You are required to retain Forms I-9 for an employee for 3 years, or one after the end of that person’s employment, whichever is later.  You review and correct your Forms I-9 using audit tools devised by FELS (for Forms I-9 with revision date March 8, 2013 and prioruse this audit form for Forms I-9 with revision dates Nov. 16, 2016 and later).
  • If you have received a letter advising you that name and Social Security number combinations for your employees reported by you on Forms W-2 do not match the Social Security Administration’s records, please refer to “Social Security Number/Name No-Match Update,” FELS Newsletter, May 2019.  Employers should exercise due diligence with respect to information that an employee’s name and Social Security number don’t match the agency’s records, (see action steps 1 through 5 in the article) but also take care not to assume that a “no-match” letter establishes that an employee is not legally eligible to work.
  • Understand and comply with the requirements of AB 450 (Chiu, D-San Francisco), require you to post for employees a notice of immigration-enforcement actions, should they occur. 
  • Consider use of the H-2A temporary non-immigrant worker visa program.  The program has experienced substantial growth in California in recent years, though it still suffers from bureaucratic impediments, high costs (including the requirement to pay the inflated Adverse Effect Wage Rate), and other problems impeding the program’s use, including the requirement to provide housing in chronically housing-deprived California.  You can find more information about the H-2A program here.

Questions, concerns or comments? Please email info@fels.net or call 800-753-9073. 

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