Immigration Law

Recent Posts

The Merger and Acquisition Process: Staying I-9 Compliant
Posted on 30 Jan 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Amidst the excitement of a merger or an acquisition, the challenges of staying I-9 compliant can easily be overlooked, particularly since most attorneys managing the M&A process are not traditionally immigration or employment attorneys... Read More

OCAHO on I-9 violations: Alyn Industries
Posted on 17 Nov 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The complainant’s motion for summary decision is granted as to liability, and granted as modified with respect to penalties. Alyn Industries, Inc. is directed to pay a total of $43,000 in civil money penalties. All other pending motions are... Read More

Tags: fine , ocaho , penalty , I-9

OCAHO Greenlights UPL in I-9 Fights: USA v. Chen's Wilmington
Posted on 29 Jan 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Moral of the story: When ICE raids your I-9 files, hire an attorney. Based on published OCAHO cases, you may have the penalty reduced by 50% or more. Otherwise, if you go it alone - or rely on your 'accountant' - you may end up in Ms. Chen's... Read More

Tags: fine , ocaho , wilmington , hibachi , I-9 , upl , chen

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $332.8K to $228.3K: USA v. M&D Masonry, Inc.
Posted on 18 Mar 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"[C]onsideration of the record as a whole persuades me that the principle of proportionality would be better served by adjusting the penalties to an amount that is still near the higher end of the mid-range, but somewhat lower than the $981.75 sought... Read More

Tags: fine , ocaho , penalty , I-9 , masonry

OCAHO I-9 Fine Activity (Oct. 20, 21, 26, 2016)
Posted on 27 Oct 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

USA v. Solutions Group, 12 OCAHO no. 1288, Oct. 20, 2016 - "The government met its burden of proving that Solutions Group International, LLC, is liable for eighty four violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(B). Respondent is directed to pay civil... Read More

I-9 News
Posted on 29 Mar 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

The OSC has been busy , settling two cases, one in Puerto Rico and one in California . And USCIS is floating a new draft I-9 revision for comment. Stay tuned! Read More

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $11K to $2,700 - USA v. Ideal Transportation
Posted on 17 Nov 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

USA v. Ideal Transportation, Nov. 17, 2016 - "I find that in the exercise of discretion, the proposed penalty in this case should be reduced to $200 for each of the nine violations involving an employee with a TWIC Card, and $300 for each of the... Read More

OCAHO levies $173K fine on drywall company for I-9 violations
Posted on 6 Oct 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"KDS is directed to pay penalties totalling $173,250.00." USA v. Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc., Aug. 11, 2011 . Read More

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $19.3K to $11.7K - USA v. Liberty Packaging
Posted on 27 Feb 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"ICE is entitled to summary decision as to liability for eighteen violations. As to the penalties, there are both mitigating and aggravating factors. While Liberty is a small employer with no history of previous violations and the unauthorized status... Read More

Tags: fine , ocaho , I-9 , liberty

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $34.9K to $14.5K: Seven Elephants Distributing Corp.
Posted on 24 Mar 2013 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Presently pending is ICE’s motion for summary decision. While no formal response was filed to the motion, the respondent filed financial information as well as hire and termination dates for its employees as previously requested. The letter... Read More

OSC Posts New I-9 Technical Assistance Letter
Posted on 14 Jan 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Jan. 7, 2016 - "This is in response to your email dated July 27, 2015, to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices ("OSC" or "Office"). In light of recently-issued guidance, this letter... Read More

Tags: osc , documentation , tal , I-9

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fines By Half
Posted on 24 Oct 2013 by Daniel M. Kowalski

From $29,452.50 to $15,000 - USA v. Kobe Sapporo Japanese, Inc . From $32,397.75 to $15,600 - USA v. Kobe Sakura Japanese, Inc . From $21,505 to $10,350 - Red Bowl Asian Bistro . Read More

Tags: sapporo , sakura , red bowl , ocaho , kobe , I-9

OCAHO Sets I-9 Fine at $605K for 'Motivation to Conform' - USA v. Hartmann Studios
Posted on 15 Jul 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"ICE is entitled to summary decision as to liability for 808 violations. OCAHO case law has emphasized that penalties should have a deterrent effect on an employer’s behavior and not merely be a cost of doing business. Emp’r Solutions... Read More

DOJ Sues Employer for Requiring Document Not on Form I-9 List
Posted on 6 Oct 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Justice Department prosecutors, acting in conjunction with the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, have filed a lawsuit against a medical services provider with skilled nursing facilities throughout... Read More

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine by One-Third: USA v. Senox
Posted on 11 Jun 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

[Full disclosure: my client, my case.] "The penalties [ICE sought] were then aggravated based on the large size of the company, but the remaining factors were treated neutrally, so the final rate was $981.75 for each violation, or a total of ... Read More

Tags: senox , fine , ocaho , I-9
  • Blog Post: Book Review: Immigration Enforcement: I-9 Compliance Handbook

    Immigration Enforcement: I-9 Compliance Handbook, by Ann Allott, Daniel M. Kowalski, and Camille Griffin 215 pp.; $29 LexisNexis Matthew Bender, 2009. Reviewed by Marlin W. Burke, The Colorado Lawyer December 2009 Vol. 38, No. 12 [Page 77]. © 2009 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association...
  • Blog Post: DOJ Sues Employer for Requiring Document Not on Form I-9 List

    "Justice Department prosecutors, acting in conjunction with the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, have filed a lawsuit against a medical services provider with skilled nursing facilities throughout California. The Government alleges in the September...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO levies $173K fine on drywall company for I-9 violations

    "KDS is directed to pay penalties totalling $173,250.00." USA v. Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc., Aug. 11, 2011 .
  • Blog Post: Lessons from Ketchikan

    "Recently, the Department of Justice, Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) published a precedent decision ( United States of America v. Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc. ) regarding liability for Form I-9 mistakes and omissions. As with previous such cases, the decision...
  • Blog Post: More Lessons from Ketchikan

    "Today, we’ll wrap up our review of the Ketchikan case and provide some takeaways for organizations that are ready to clean their I-9 house." - John Fay, Oct. 31, 2011 .
  • Blog Post: Peering over the I-9 event horizon

    Veteran I-9 explorer John Fay returns from an expedition to report on Things to Come . Nov. 1, 2011.
  • Blog Post: Employers Around the Country Report a New Round of ICE I-9 Audits

    "The calls from clients who received visits from Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents started to trickle in last Thursday afternoon. Although nothing has been announced, we have reason to believe that ICE is conducting a new round of audits...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on I-9 violations: Alyn Industries

    "The complainant’s motion for summary decision is granted as to liability, and granted as modified with respect to penalties. Alyn Industries, Inc. is directed to pay a total of $43,000 in civil money penalties. All other pending motions are denied. The parties are free to negotiate a payment...
  • Blog Post: I-9 abuse lawsuit: USA v. UCSD Medical Center

    USA v. University of California, San Diego Medical Center , filed with OCAHO on Dec. 6, 2011, alleging Respondent demanded specific, more and different documents from non-citizens for I-9 completion.
  • Blog Post: In search of fraudulent documents – Does the I-9 process really require employers to be enforcers?

    "Do we really want an employer determining if an individual has presented appropriate documentation for the I-9 process based on trying to count the right number of imbedded pixels or photos imprinted on the green card?" - Sharon Mehlman and Kimberley Best Robidoux, Nov. 28, 2011 .
  • Blog Post: The Merger and Acquisition Process: Staying I-9 Compliant

    "Amidst the excitement of a merger or an acquisition, the challenges of staying I-9 compliant can easily be overlooked, particularly since most attorneys managing the M&A process are not traditionally immigration or employment attorneys, and the transaction itself can be lengthy and...
  • Blog Post: Pre I-9 Audit Planning: Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best (Part 1 of 2)

    "An employer’s first task is to identify the worst possible outcomes of an audit based upon the employer’s individual company characteristics. The best way to do this is to sit down with experienced audit counsel who can assist in developing the worst case scenario list. If there...
  • Blog Post: DOJ Settles Employment Discrimination I-9 Case

    " The Justice Department and Puerto Rico-based Indrescom Security Technology Inc. have agreed to settle allegations that the company discriminated against a work-authorized individual during the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 process by requiring him to present a lawful permanent...
  • Blog Post: I-9 News

    The OSC has been busy , settling two cases, one in Puerto Rico and one in California . And USCIS is floating a new draft I-9 revision for comment. Stay tuned!
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on I-9 violations: Pegasus Restaurant

    "The permissible penalties in this case range from a low of $14,740 to a high of $148,740, and the government has proposed penalties that are very close to the highest available. Giving due regard to the record as a whole and to the statutory criteria, the penalties proposed appear excessive in...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on 'constructive knowledge' for I-9 purposes

    "Context matters. The totality of the circumstances matters. Inferences are drawn from facts, not from legal syllogisms and not from the air. The undisputed facts presented here are that [X] made a commitment in 2000 to reverify the employment eligibility of 34 named individuals, and that three...
  • Blog Post: Software or Wetware to Blame in Rose Acre Case?

    "During the past couple of years, we’ve seen dozens of OSC settlement agreements with employers who went “too far” in their quest to comply with I-9 verification obligations. In most if not all such cases, the employer made a habit of requesting specific (or additional) documentation...
  • Blog Post: Minn. Ct. App. on 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324a(b)(5) - State v. Reynua II

    Bruce D. Nestor writes: "In a 2011 decision, the Minn. Court of Appeals reversed a state perjury conviction based on a false statement on an I-9 form, concluding that 8 USC 1324a(b)(5) and federal law in general preempts a state prosecution relying upon the I-9 form. However, that 2011 decision...
  • Blog Post: Latest I-9 Decisions from OCAHO

    United States v. Four Seasons Earthworks, Inc. 06/07/12 10 OCAHO No. 1150 (technical vs. substantive violations; downward adjustment of penalty) United States v. Associated Painters, Inc. 05/30/12 10 OCAHO No. 1151 (constructive knowledge) United States v. Stanford Sign and Awning, Inc. 06/21/12...
  • Blog Post: Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification: USCIS

    Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent this bulletin at 08/13/2012 08:00 AM EDT Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on the forms section of http://www.uscis...
  • Blog Post: ICE Releases Guidance on Evaluating Electronic I-9 Systems

    "On October 2, 2012, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the first-ever official guidance document for evaluating electronically generated and stored I-9 records during an audit. Obtained by LawLogix last week, the 4-page document from ICE headquarters provides guidance to...
  • Blog Post: ICE on Electronic I-9 Audit Trails

    "In the course of Employment Eligibility Verification Form 1-9 inspections, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and auditors are increasingly encountering businesses that utilize electronically generated Forms 1-9. This memorandum provides guidance to the HSI field offices on the...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $87K to $17K

    "ICE’s motion for summary decision sought penalties in the amount of $86,933.00 and offered in support the Declaration of Karen Rahlf, Forensic Auditor, dated October 18, 2011 and an accompanying Memorandum to Case File Determination of Civil Monetary Penalty. The government asserts that the...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on a Roll, Reduces More I-9 Penalty Amounts

    "The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) has issued a number of decisions in the past few weeks that support a trend of reducing penalty amounts. The employers include March Construction, Inc. , Forsch Polymer Corp. , BKR Restaurants (dba Burger King), and Barnett Taylor ...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $13K to $5K: USA v. Taste of China

    "Considering the record as a whole, the only factor not weighing in the company’s favor is the seriousness of the violations. The penalties requested are so near the maximum permissible as to appear disproportionate to the size and resources of the business, particularly in light of its character...