DOJ Reaches Several Immigration-Related Discrimination Settlement Agreements
Following on the heels of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) $25 million settlement agreement with Apple Inc., the DOJ has settled immigration-related discrimination cases with a New York City health care system and a staffing agency with offices nationwide. Below are highlights of the settlements:
NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. On November 16, 2023, the DOJ announced a settlement agreement with New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHH), which provides health care services to more than a million New Yorkers. The agreement resolves the DOJ’s determination that NYCHH violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it rejected a worker’s valid employment authorization document (EAD) based on the worker’s national origin.
The worker’s EAD had been extended automatically under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). DOJ determined that NYCHH rejected the valid document and delayed the onboarding of the worker based on its incorrect assumption that the worker’s country of birth listed on her EAD had to be the same as the country designated for TPS. DOJ pointed out that Federal Register notices that automatically extend a TPS worker’s permission to work explain that the worker does not have to show additional documentation or prove citizenship status and that the country of birth listed on the worker’s documentation does not have to match the TPS-designated country.
Under the terms of the agreement, NYCHH will pay back pay to the affected worker and a civil penalty to the United States, train its staff on the anti-discrimination provision, review and revise its employment policies and training materials, and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.
Kforce Inc. On November 15, 2023, the DOJ announced a settlement agreement with Kforce Inc. (Kforce), a staffing agency with 36 offices across the United States. The agreement resolves the DOJ’s determination that Kforce discriminated against non-U.S. citizens with permission to work in the United States and excluded them from job opportunities based on their citizenship status.
DOJ’s investigation determined that from at least March 1, 2019, to February 28, 2022, Kforce distributed job advertisements that contained unlawful hiring restrictions based on citizenship status or otherwise screened out candidates based on their citizenship status.
Under the terms of the settlement, Kforce will pay $690,000 in civil penalties to the United States and set aside $230,000 to compensate affected workers. The agreement also requires Kforce to train its personnel on the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
- DOJ release re NYC Health Care System settlement (Nov. 16, 2023).
- Settlement Agreement with NYC Health Care System (Nov. 16, 2023).
- DOJ release re Kforce Inc. (Nov. 15, 2023).
- Settlement Agreement with Kforce Inc. (Nov. 15, 2023).
USCIS to Move Filing Location for Premium Processing Requests Filed With Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin transitioning the filing location for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, when filed with Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, from the service centers to the USCIS lockbox on November 13, 2023.
This change does not apply to those who are filing Form I-907 for a currently pending Form I-140 or to those who are filing Form I-140 with an associated application (such as Form I-765, Form I-131, or Form I-485). USCIS said it will soon announce filing location changes for those forms, but for the time being, they should continue to be filed with the service centers.
Starting November 13, 2023, those mailing Form I-140 and Form I-907 together to USCIS should use the addresses listed in the USCIS alert. Starting December 13, 2023, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed with Form I-140 that is received at the previous service center address.
- DHS alert (Nov. 9, 2023).
Potomac Service Center Will No Longer Accept Paper Responses
Starting November 13, 2023, the Potomac Service Center (PSC) will no longer accept mailed correspondence. All mailed correspondence intended for cases processed by the PSC must be mailed to the Texas Service Center (TSC) as of that date unless otherwise noted.
To avoid processing delays, USCIS said, applicants and their representatives should instead upload their responses to their USCIS online accounts (for receipt notices that start with IOE-) or mail them to the Texas Service Center at:
USCIS Texas Service Center
Attn: Digital RFE
6046 N Belt Line Rd. STE 114
Irving, TX 75038
USCIS strongly encourages the use of a USCIS online account and self-service tools to upload responses for all online cases.
- USCIS alert (Nov. 6, 2023).
Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Includes Immigration-Related Provisions
On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued the “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.” Section 5 of the order, “Promoting Innovation and Competition,” includes various immigration-related provisions. For example, the order:
- Calls for the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to streamline processing times of visa petitions and applications, including by ensuring timely availability of visa appointments, for noncitizens who seek to travel to the United States to work on, study, or conduct research in artificial intelligence (AI) or other critical and emerging technologies; and facilitate continued availability of visa appointments in sufficient volume for applicants with expertise in AI or other critical and emerging technologies;
- Calls for the Secretary of State to consider initiating a rulemaking to establish new criteria to designate countries and skills on the Department of State’s exchange visitor skills list as it relates to the 2-year foreign residence requirement for certain J-1 nonimmigrants, including those skills that are critical to the United States;
- Calls for the Secretary of State to consider implementing a domestic visa renewal program to facilitate the ability of qualified applicants, including highly skilled talent in AI and critical and emerging technologies, to continue their work in the United States without unnecessary interruption;
- Calls for the Secretary of State to establish a program to identify and attract top talent in AI and other critical and emerging technologies at universities, research institutions, and the private sector overseas, and to establish and increase connections with that talent to educate them on opportunities and resources for research and employment in the United States, including overseas educational components to inform top STEM talent of nonimmigrant and immigrant visa options and potential expedited adjudication of their visa petitions and applications;
- Calls for the Secretary of Homeland Security to review and initiate any policy changes the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to clarify and modernize immigration pathways for experts in AI and other critical and emerging technologies, including O-1A and EB-1 noncitizens of extraordinary ability; EB-2 advanced-degree holders and noncitizens of exceptional ability; and startup founders in AI and other critical and emerging technologies, using the International Entrepreneur Rule; and
Calls for the Secretary of Homeland Security to continue its rulemaking process to modernize the H-1B program and enhance its integrity and usage, including by experts in AI and other critical and emerging technologies, and consider a rulemaking to enhance the process for noncitizens, including experts in AI and other critical and emerging technologies and their spouses, dependents, and children, to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident.
- Executive Order (Oct. 30, 2023).
- White House statement (Oct. 31, 2023).
- Making AI Work for the American People (talent search portal and other links).
IN THE NEWS
H. Ronald Klasko
Ron Klasko co-writes this Law360 article titled Navigating USCIS’ New Minimum EB-5 Investment Period.
RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
On November 3rd, Maria Mihaylova spoke at the AILA Philadelphia’s National Day of Action on processing delays to congressional staffers.
on November 6, Maria Mihaylova spoke at a Rutgers and International House Philadelphia event on short-term and long-term options for F and J visas.
H. Ronald Klasko | Daniel Lundy
Partners Ron Klasko and Dan Lundy spoke at The 2nd Annual Advanced EB-5 Industry Conference on November 9 in Miami, FL.
H. Ronald Klasko
On December 1st, Ron Klasko spoke at the ILCA 2nd Annual Immigration Policy and Advocacy WebCLE on a panel titled Foreign Investment Incentives and Hurdles.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
On December 4th, Michele Madera will be speaking at this AILA NY Symposium event on a panel titled Sunset Boulevard: Is the Golden Age of PERM Over?
ICYMI: RECENT BLOG POSTS AND ALERTS
The USCIS Guidance on Sustainment: Investors Beware
Ron Klasko warns EB-5 investors to be cautious with the recent USCIS guidance on sustainment for post-RIA investors and addresses his concerns in this blog.
Preparing For Another Possible Government Shutdown
In this client alert, Elise Fialkowski gives a quick look at which immigration processing services would be affected in preparing for a government shutdown.
Potential H-1B Changes Could Ease Complications When Hiring Pennsylvania’s F-1 Students
Dallis Terc addresses the recent DHS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to modernize the H-1B specialty occupation worker program, which will directly impact thousands of F-1 students studying in Pennsylvania in this article.
This year, Klasko enjoyed a Thanksgiving potluck! See below for a glimpse into our firmsgiving.
This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.