December 07, 2007

New I-9 Form Changes Commentary

After over 20 years since the original I-9 form was created, USCIS has finally updated the I-9 form. In a Nov. 7, 2007 press release by USCIS, they state that key to the revision is the removal of 5 documents for proof of both identity and employment eligibility.

These documents are:
1) Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
2) Certificate of Naturalization
3) Unexpired Re-entry Permit
4) Unexpired Refugee Travel Document
5) Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151) (note: these are really old green cards)

In the USCIS press release, it is stated that these 5 documents were removed because they lack features to help deter counterfeiting, tampering, and fraud.

The first 4 of the above documents are still issued by USCIS on a daily basis. Shouldn't USCIS inplement security features into these documents that help deter counterfeiting, tampering and fraud? Instead, USCIS just removes them from acceptable documents for employment authorization, even though these are documents issued by the same agency!

I also like how USCIS in the Nov. 7, 2007 Fact Sheet on "USCIS Revises Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9", they state: "The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) mandated a reduction in the number of documents that employers may accept from newly hired employees during the employment eligibility verification process.

The reason I like this statement is that USCIS is stating that they are finally doing what they were mandated to do 11 years ago!

One more interesting note in the Fact Sheet by USCIS: The form I-9 is available in Spanish, but only employers in Puerto Rico may use the Spanish I-9 form. Are immigration agents that investigate I-9s unable to tell if Spanish I-9 forms are completed correctly, even though they could hold an English I-9 form next to it or actually memorize the 1 page form they are responsible for investigating?!

Another interesting item is that the box on the I-9 for U.S. Citizens or Nationals is one box still. The immigration service lost a case on this issue as it was claiming a foreign national made a false claim to U.S. Citizenship by checking this box on the I-9 form (thus being inadmissible for U.S. Legal Permanent Residence purposes). Since the language next to the box states "A citizen or national of the United
States", a foreign national could be falsely claiming to be a national of the United States (which does not make one inadmissible). You would think that USCIS would have created separate boxes for U.S. Citizen and U.S. National to remedy this!

I look forward to more commentary on this as the implementation period kicks in on December 26th (the day after Christmas). USCIS could have designated January 1, 2008 to make things easier for employers.

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