Today the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) submitted a public comment in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to significantly alter the physical document examination requirements associated with employment eligibility verification (Form I-9).
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) instituted temporary flexibilities and waived the physical examination of employment and identification documentation for employers facing a sudden and near-total shift to a remote workforce. The Biden administration now seeks the authority, on a discretionary basis, to cement those flexibilities when certain conditions are met.
“Any action taken under the authority provided by this rule, if finalized, will be viewed as an attempt to ease the requirements of employment verification. While a welcome change for employers contending with large-scale remote workforces, it will be abused by bad actors who will hide behind a far easier good faith compliance defense,” wrote Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “With the unprecedented numbers of illegal alien apprehensions and encounters along the southern border and the ever-growing crisis that we are presently witnessing, the demand for work is high, and any attempt to diminish verification will be routinely used by smugglers, traffickers, and unscrupulous employers. Any authority used to weaken document verification requirements will erode the intend of the underlying statute aimed at ensuring that only lawful aliens are eligible to work in the United States.”
Stein also noted that the proposed rule is arbitrary and overly broad. “It fails to justify any policy determination or provide a reasoned analysis at all. Accordingly, this regulatory amendment appears to be a solution in search of a problem. It is patently unclear why DHS believes that this change is necessary and, assuming arguendo that such authority is necessary, why it must be so broad,” said Stein.
“FAIR strongly opposes this proposed rule and urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to withdraw it. Instead, DHS should promulgate regulations aimed at enhancing security and anti-fraud measures associated with the employment verification process and continually ensuring that, pursuant to statute, only lawful aliens are able to work in the United States,” concluded Stein in the comment.
FAIR’s full comment can be accessed here.