Practice Pointer: Options for LPRs Seeking Documentation for Form I-9 Verification
AILA Doc. No. 20072239 | Dated September 1, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting USCIS Field Office closures, elimination of the USCIS online Infopass system, the USCIS budget shortfall and resident alien card production delays have created a perfect storm for those in need of proof of status required for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification requirements. Lawful Permanent Residents seeking to obtain documentation needed to comply with the Form I-9 verification process are experiencing unprecedented delays.
The AILA Verification and Documentation Liaison Committee recently raised this concern in a June 2020 liaison meeting call with ICE, DHS, and DOJ. Both the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the DOJ Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER) Section representatives on the call voiced concern about the possibility that permanent residents may be unable to earn their livelihood as a result of their inability to produce proof of employment eligibility to comply with I-9 requirements.
AILA members with clients in need of proof of status should first call the USCIS Contact Center at (800) 375-5283 and request an appointment at a USCIS Field Office to obtain a temporary Form I-551 stamp as evidence of lawful permanent resident status. Additionally, members should note that the USCIS Ombudsman is assisting individuals whose applications have been approved but whose cards have not yet been produced, by sending weekly spreadsheets to USCIS to verify card requests are in line to be processed. If you are experiencing a delay in receiving your secure document, you may submit a request for case assistance with the Ombudsman at https://www.dhs.gov/topic/cis-ombudsman/forms/7001.
In situations where there is no other proof of employment authorization that satisfies the Form I-9 requirements and USCIS has refused a request to schedule an Infopass appointment for a Form I-551 stamp, the Department of Justice Immigrant and Employee Rights Section may be able to provide assistance through its hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (the IER worker hotline) or 1-800-255-815 (the IER employer hotline). IER may be able to help identify other documentation that will satisfy the I-9, identify an improper request for documentation and work to informally help the caller resolve the issue, or if the caller does need to show documentation and an I-551 stamp seems to be their only option, IER in certain circumstances may follow up directly with USCIS to ask for additional information/guidance.
Alternatively, AILA members may contact the AILA Verification and Documentation Committee through our Report a Trend survey, for possible direct assistance through DHS CRCL.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20072239.