September 28, 2008
Congress has extended the EB-5 regional center pilot program through March 6, 2009, having included it in its continuing resolution for fiscal 2009 to fund government operations.
The resolution is now before the President for his signature.
The extension only lasts through March 6, 2009 as Congress continues to debate whether and how to proceed with the pilot program. The program was scheduled to sunset Sept. 30, 2008. The House had approved the extension in H.R. 5569, but the Senate is still reviewing its version of the bill S. 2751.
For investors in the EB-5 regional center pilot program, approval by the President of the continuing resolution means applications should continue processing as visas remain available. We will update our readers if USCIS issues a statement on EB-5 processing in light of the continuing resolution, assuming it is signed by the President.
A continuing resolution is a stopgap spending bill Congress approves when it has not finished its appropriations work by Sept. 30, the end of the government’s fiscal year. If the spending bills are not in place, the government cannot operate.
The continuing resolution is available here. The provision providing for the extension of the EB-5 program is Section 144.
September 21, 2008
In a blow to Arizona employers, the 9th Circuit upheld the controversial Legal Arizona Workers Act, which imposes state sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers and requires all employers to participate in the much-maligned E-Verify program.
The law suspends or revokes the business licenses of employers caught knowingly hiring undocumented employees.
The plaintiffs argued the law unconstitutionally usurps the federal government’s power to regulate immigration. The three-judge panel rejected all of the arguments set forth by the plaintiffs, who included more than a dozen business and Hispanic groups.
Despite upholding the law, the court left the door open for future challenges based on how the act is eventually enforced by the state.
We uphold the statute in all respects against this facial challenge, but we must observe that it is brought against a blank factual background of enforcement and outside the context of any particular case. If and when the statute is enforced, and the factual background is developed, other challenges to the Act as applied in any particular instance or manner will not be controlled by our decision.
The plaintiff’s may seek an en banc review, in which the entire 9th Circuit would examine the case and issue a ruling. The case may also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
As enforcement against unauthorized employment is increasing at the national as well as the state level, employers will want to be sure they are I-9 compliant.
The court’s opinion is available here.
Information about Arizona’s Legal Workers Act and worksite enforcement issues is available here.