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The U.S. business community showed strong support for modernizing the Form I-9 process in recent comments to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Companies and business groups submitted their comments in response to a Request for Public Input (RPI) seeking information about employers’ experiences with remote document examination in Form I-9 employment eligibility verification.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has consistently extended temporary measures that allow for remote document examination during the COVID-19 pandemic; the measures are currently in place through April 30. The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of the U.S’s leading companies, said its companies and employees have appreciated the “virtual” Form I-9 policy.
“Business Roundtable applauds this and broader USCIS efforts to reduce burdens on employers, better utilize resources and improve government efficiency,” the organization said. “We stand ready to assist the Biden Administration in implementing technological solutions to modernize immigration processes while preserving their integrity.”
Specifically, the Business Roundtable urged USCIS to:
Overall, USCIS received 315 comments, including from some of the country’s largest employers. BAL submitted a comment in December.
In the semi-annual regulatory agenda last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated it would publish a notice of proposed rulemaking later this year on “alternative document examination procedures under certain circumstances or with respect to certain employers.” Compete America, a business coalition that advocates for creating jobs by reforming high-skilled immigration, said in its response to the RPI it was “heartened” that DHS included the proposal on its agenda.
“We urge DHS to prioritize such rulemaking and provide as much flexibility as possible to employers if it makes any changes to the process,” the organization said. “We look forward to continued dialogue with the agency and will continue working with Congress and the Biden administration to advocate for reforms to the United States immigration system.”
BAL Analysis: BAL has consistently heard from employers that would like to see remote document verification be available on a permanent basis. DHS will likely take into account the responses USCIS received in formulating its Form I-9 proposal. BAL will continue to monitor for regulatory developments and government guidance relating to the Form I-9 process and will provide updates as information becomes available. For more information about this and other changes to expect in 2022, sign up for BAL’s Jan. 27 webinar here.
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