Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Employing illegal workers

Monday, January 9th, 2012

At a minimum, all employers have to follow one simple law:  each employee must be legally authorized to work.  With an estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants  in the U.S., chances are pretty good that you (a) know of an employer or (b) are, in fact, an employer that presently employs an illegal worker.  If you fall into the “b” category, you’d better be aware of the risks. In 2010, there were an estimated 190,000 unauthorized workers in Washington and 110,000 in Oregon. 

Despite the law, some employers choose to ignore it by thinking that it’s not a big deal or that there’s little chance of being caught.  And that, unfortunately, may have been exactly what an owner and manager of a popular restaurant in San Diego were thinking.  Last month, The French Gourmet, along with its owner and manager, were sentenced in federal court on charges that the business hired illegal workers.  The government alleged that the three defendants–business, owner, and manager–hired illegal workers between 2005 and 2008 and continued to employ them knowing they were unauthorized to work.  When the government raided the business in 2008, the business was employing eighteen illegal alien workers.

After the defendants pled guilty, the federal judge fined the business and owner jointly and severally for $396,575 and the manager for $2,500 for knowingly employing illegal workers.  Luckily, the judge spared the owner and manager up to six months of prison time by sentencing them to five and three years of supervised probation, respectively. 

This recent example should serve as a clear reminder to businesses, owners, and upper management that they need to follow the law by employing only legal workers.  By completing the required I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form for each employee, employers will not only be following the law, but will have the needed proof when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducts an inspection.   

Golden Ticket: Diversity Visa Lottery

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

From October 2 through November 30, 2009, you have a chance to win the lottery.  Instead of cash prizes or a trip to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, you have the chance to win legal permanent residence in the U.S. through the U.S. Department of State’s Diversity Visa Lottery program.  And, unlike other lotteries, there is no cost to participate.  While the chances of winning might be low, the old adage remains true:  You can’t win unless you play.”

Each year, the U.S. Department of State makes 55,000 permanent resident immigrant visas available through a random selection process.  The visas are apportioned among six geographic areas that cover most of the world.  However, natives from the following countries are ineligible to participate:  Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.  If you were born in one of these countries, you still may be eligible if your spouse is from an eligible country or if other specific conditions apply. 

The requirements for participating are simple:  you have to be a native from an eligible country and you must have a high school education or its equivalent.  Alternatively, in lieu of a high school diploma, you can qualify by satisfying certain work experience requirements. 

To submit an entry, an eligible person must complete an entry form online by visiting the Department of State’s website.  Be aware of fraudulent websites that require payment.  Remember, there is no cost to participate.  Participants may only submit one entry form or risk disqualification.  The form requires basic biographic information, such as date of birth and marital status.  The form also requires that you submit a digital photograph of everyone you list on the form, including yourself and any spouse and children. 

The U.S. Department of State notifies winners between May and July 2010 through a letter.  The letter will provide further instructions on how to immigrate to the U.S.  You should note, however, that receiving a letter does not automatically guaranty permanent residency.  The U.S. Department of State often selects more than 55,000 winners because not everyone selected will actually decide to pursue legal residency.   Of course, if you do receive a letter, you’re that much closer to securing permanent residency. 

Can you pass the test to vote?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

With elections only a few weeks away, candidates are pushing hard to secure every vote.  You probably received your fair share of calls during dinner, too.  As a U.S. citizen, it’s your right to vote.  Citizenship is acquired through birth in the U.S., birth where one or both of your parents are U.S. citizens, or naturalization. 

Recently, immigration officials at USCIS updated the civics test given to applicants who are seeking to citizens.  As part of the naturalization process, the immigration officer will ask applicants up to 10 out of 100 questions.  Applicants must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass.  Try to answer the following ten questions:

  1. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
  2. Who was President during World War I?
  3. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?
  4. When was the Constitution written?
  5. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states.  What is one power of the states?
  6. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
  7. Name one American Indian tribe in the U.S.
  8. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
  9. We elect a senator for how many years?
  10. If both the President and Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

Did you get 6 out of the 10 right?  If you’re stumped, you can always brush up by studying the updated questions and answers that will be now be given.