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The Weekly Round-Up: Republicans Spar Over Immigration Policy and Colorado Company Fined More than $31,000 for Immigration Violations

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GOP Continues Debate over Immigration

Congressional Republicans broke for the Memorial Day recess amid a heated debate within the party about whether to provide a pathway to citizenship for many immigrants who benefit from DACA, a program that shields from deportation approximately 800,000 people who entered the United States as children.

Several GOP House members have signed a petition to force a vote on a series of measures that would include a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.  Jeff Denham of California has led the GOP effort in the House, saying Thursday that his push for a vote was “continuing to move forward as exhibited today with more members signing on.”  As of Thursday, more than 20 Republicans had signed onto the effort, joining nearly all House Democrats; as of now, Denham has the support of 213 members of the 218 needed to force a vote.

However, many within the House GOP, as well as the White House, support a bill sponsored by Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, which provides temporary relief for DACA recipients but does not call for a long-term pathway to citizenship.  The bill also calls for a 40% reduction in legal immigration into the United States, an increase in the number of visas for skilled foreign workers, and an end to the diversity lottery visa program; and would render undocumented presence in the United States a federal misdemeanor.

As Congress debates this issue, The NMM Immigration Blog will continue to cover this story as it develops.

Colorado Company Ordered to Pay Substantial Fines for Immigration Violations

This week, a concrete company in Windsor, Colorado, has been ordered to pay $31,496 in fines related to immigration violations.  These fines have been added to more than $6,000 in back wages owed to its employees.

Coloscapes Concrete Inc. utilized the H-2B visa program, which permits a company to hire foreign workers for part of the year if the company can demonstrate a seasonal or temporary need for supplemental employment.  The Department of Labor discovered that Coloscapes had been improperly assessing “recruitment” fees from the employees and failing to pay for the costs of travel to and from the United States, a requirement for the program.

The Department of Labor discovered several other violations, including that the company paid lower wages to U.S. citizens than to H-2B workers, and that it had fired American workers prior to hiring the H-2B employees.  The company was also cited for withholding excessive amounts of money for the workers’ housing.

If you are an employer or employee who has questions about immigration compliance procedures, including the H-2B program, please contact an experienced immigration attorney to protect your rights.

If you have questions about topics covered in today’s weekly round-up, or other immigration matters, contact me at wcmenard@nmmlaw.com.