BY Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","src":"https:\/\/discuss.ilw.com\/core\/image\/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP\/\/\/wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw=="}​The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on behalf of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Under this MOA, the Departments will provide access and share information about immigrant and nonimmigrant petition records and data contained within the Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s labor certification and labor condition application databases.

The MOA establishes processes by which USCIS will refer suspected employer violations within the H-1B visa program to the DOL that USCIS identifies while adjudicating petitions. This source of information was never previously accessed by the DOL for enforcement purposes – and conducting administrative and targeted site visits.

According to the government’s press release:
The [DOL] Secretary’s power to personally initiate investigations of potential violations is a unique authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows for more robust examinations of employers’ use of H-1B workers than are ordinarily undertaken. No previous Secretary of Labor has ever exercised this authority. As part of his broader effort to protect the interests of American workers during the coronavirus public health emergency, President Trump directed the Secretary of Labor to make use of this important enforcement power in Presidential Proclamation 10052. The MOA signed today will be central to the Department’s work carrying out the President’s policy of ensuring that the use of foreign labor does not harm American workers.
The MOA also sets procedures for the exchange of data as well as the responsibilities regarding the use, retention, maintenance, dissemination, destruction, and safeguarding of data. Information sharing is intended to support the administration of U.S. immigration law and combat fraud and abuse in the immigration system.

The MOA supersedes and replaces the MOA dated Jan. 12, 2017, and the corresponding 2019 addendum. It will be reviewed annually by both Departments.

What does this mean for employers? It certainly appears this MOA will lead to many, more independent investigations of employers. Why would DOL and DHS enter into this MOA? It is a further assault on the lawful employment of foreign nationals by the Trump Administration.

If you are concerned about your company’s immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.