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New Form I-9 Required as of February 2 - January 29, 2009

The changes on the form are made to implement the interim rule with request for comments published by DHS December 17.

The big changes are as follows:

  • Expired documents are no longer acceptable for the Form I-9. The form is no longer says "unexpired" on any of the items because the rule makes all expired documents unacceptable. DHS is accepting comments as to whether to change this to allow documents that expired within a certain time period, such as 90 days, so stay tuned.
  • Passports for Micronesians and Marshall Islanders are recognized as acceptable documents based on 2003 amendments to the Compacts of Free Association with those countries. No EAD is required (although they may obtain one if they so desire). Note that Palau is not included as that Compact is different and does require some proof of work authorization.
  • List A now also includes a reference to the machine-readable immigrant visas (MRIVs) that contain a pre-printed temporary I-551 notation in the foreign passports when the person is admitted to the United States as a permanent resident.
  • Section 1 now separates the former category "A citizen or national of the United States" into two separate categories. The purpose is to make it easier to prosecute those who make false claims to U.S. citizenship. "Noncitizen nationals of the United States" (according to DHS) are persons born in American Samoa as provided in section 308 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1408; certain former citizens of the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands who relinquished their U.S. citizenship acquired under section 301 of Public Law 94-241 (establishing the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) by executing a declaration before an appropriate court that they intended to be noncitizen nationals rather than U.S. citizens; and certain children of noncitizen nationals born abroad, as provided by section 308 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1408.


Work Site Enforcement is Still on the Agenda


The new Administration has not yet said too much about its immigration policy, but it has made clear that e-Verify will continue to be a focus as a way to fight ID theft, and that work site enforcement will continue, but (as noted by new DHS  Secretary Janet Napolitano) with a shift in focus to enforcement against employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens.


This statement is hard to decipher given that the former Administration certainly focused on employers in its enforcement efforts, including obtaining the largest settlement in history in December: $20.7 million from IFCO, a pallet manufacturer. This case, which took several years to wend its way through the system, was triggered when someone noticed certain IFCO employees tearing up their W-2s.


Members of House Subcommittee on Immigration Announced


The House Committee on the Judiciary announced the membership roster of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law on January 22, and for those of you in Iowa, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) will continue as ranking member.  Zoe Lofgren (D-CA and former immigration attorney) will continue to chair the committee.


National groups seem more and more convinced that some comprehensive reform package will gain momentum this year, perhaps by Thanksgiving.  We will keep you up to date on any developments or ways you can help make good reform a reality - including frequent contacts with Rep. King's office if you are an Iowa constituent.