Lawsuit Seeks to Void Controverisal New Federal Contractor E-Verify Law

December 27, 2008

The latest government attempt to impose the use of E-Verify on employers is being challenged in court. This time it is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business and human resources groups attacking the legality of new regulations that force federal government contractors to use E-Verify for its employees.

The regulations, which go into effect Jan. 15, 2009, require federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 lasting 120 days or more and for sub-contractors with projects exceeding $3,000 to use E-Verify to confirm its employees’ eligibility to work. It also requires contractors to reconfirm the employment authorization of existing employees hired after Nov. 6, 1986 who work on government contracts.

The Chamber says the government is using an executive order to get around normal law-making processes.

“This massive expansion of E-Verify is not only bad policy, it’s unlawful,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “The Administration can’t use an Executive Order to circumvent federal immigration and procurement laws. Federal law explicitly prohibits the secretary of Homeland Security from making E-Verify mandatory or from using it to re-authorize the existing workforce.”

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the new regulations illegal and void.

Employer groups have criticized E-Verify as too costly and imperfect to require use by federal contractors and subcontractors.

The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Chertoff, et al.

For more information on the controversial E-Verify program, please see our other article here.


Updated USCIS EB-5 Regional Center List – December 2008

December 17, 2008

The Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program is designed to encourage foreign investment by providing a vehicle for investment in the form of an economic unit called a “Regional Center.” The Regional Centers are private or public entities that have received government approval to participate in the program. They enable the amassing and pooling of capital for targeted investment in designated regions in the United States.

For the Investor, these Regional Centers are attractive because they allow for a less restrictive job creation requirement. Instead of having to prove direct job creation, the investor may show indirect job creation through such methods as economic and statistic forecasting tools.

The required investment amount is $1 million, or $500,000 if located in a rural or targeted employment area. In addition, Regional Centers typically charge additional amounts in fees.

In December 2008 USCIS released an updated Regional Center list, with quite a few changes to the participants. Several new regional centers popped up around the country, while others disappeared from the list. In addition, those centers on the list which previously had been flagged due to administrative matters pending with UCSIS, apparently have been rectified. In total, USCIS says it has approved about 32 centers and has 12-15 applications pending.

As the status of these Regional Centers as participants in the Pilot Program can change, before investing any money, verify the center is still approved and active in the Pilot Program.

For more information on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa see our other article EB – 5 Permanent Residency through Investment.

Please note that this pilot program expires at the end of September 2008 unless reinstated. The program was temporarily extended until March 6, 2009 as part of Congress’ continuing budge resolution, but is awaiting Congressional approval for reinstatement for beyond that date.

In alphabetical order by state, the Regional Centers deemed “active” include:

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