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U.S. Employers Be Alert, Iranians Too

Stepping into the vacuum created by Congress' inability to enact workable comprehensive immigration reform, the Administration has recently ramped up its enforcement arsenal, leaving many employers between a rock and hard place. This is the situation in which the employers and immigrants both feel discriminated against. The real solution, recognized by the Administration, is comprehensive immigration reform.

I have always advocated the proper and easy immigration laws for all in general and Iranians in particular. Realizing that there are still many Iranians living in the United States illegally, this notice will serve to call their attention to the new enforcement rules against the employers and aliens as well.

Enforcement of immigration laws is an important component of the U.S. immigration system however enforcement efforts should be smart, not just tough. Enforcement only is not the solution. It does not serve our society and it does not serve to end the illegal immigration problem. Penalizing the employers for violation of proper ID requirements up to $5,000.00 and sometimes more is not the right path to the right destination.

The Administration's newest initiative requires employers to resolve discrepancies between their employee records and those of the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security. Once the employer is put on notice by SSA or DHS of a discrepancy in Social Security number or immigration status information, the employer has 93 days within which to re-verify the information. If the employer is unable to correct the discrepancy within 93 days, the employer has two choices: either terminate the employment and risk lawsuits by employees or continue the employment and risk severe civil and criminal sanctions from DHS. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission commented on this proposed rule last year, "The EEOC is concerned...employers have incentives to take actions that violate Title VII and/or [immigration law's] nondiscriminatory provisions."

This initiative opens the door for litigations and flooding the courts for years to come. It will cost the employers to defend these lawsuits and the aliens to come out of dark and disclose their true identities. Employers should not be placed in a position to verify legal status of people which the government must undertake. This is yet another example of collapse of the U.S. immigration laws.

Employers often receive 'no match' letters for very legitimate reasons, such as clerical errors, or failure to register a change of name after marriage. Both employers and employees can face bureaucratic delays in trying to document and correct records. It is unrealistic to expect employers to be able to jump through these hoops in the timeframe provided, and unfair for an employee to face potential termination as a result of these delays. Imagine the economic chaos this would cause. It would worsen worker shortages across industries such as agriculture, hospitality, and construction and unleash a flood of misery upon employers and their employees alike.

Our fellow Iranians must be alert to the new regulations imposed upon them. Ignorance of the law is no defense and penalties will accumulate if notices are ignored. It is important for our community leaders to keep their members informed and updated with such rules for we live in the US , play an important economic role in the society and represent a larger and more important group and that is the entire Iranian community living in the United States . Our civic organizations, if there are any, should undertake such tasks. I encourage people to get together and organize civic events to learn more and be more educated about our daily life. The Voice of Iranian-Americans, Inc. has made it its utmost priority to highlight the recent applicable laws to and in our community by posting such bulletins frequently. Time to remain silent and on the sideline is no longer available. That train has left that station. It is moving forward fast. Let's be alert.

Jamshid S. Irani

Attorney at Law

For: The Voice of Iranian-Americans

1170 Broadway, Suite 510

New York , New York 10001 Tel: (212) 683-7700

... Payvand News - 8/15/07 ... --

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