California farm workers are one of the main groups suffering from the lack of immigration reform in the state. Workers reportedly tend to move to states where immigration is friendlier and there is a smaller chance of being deported. In the past, farmers in the state were able to hire immigrant labor to work their fields, but border control has apparently diminished their workforce to the point where some farmers are beginning to lose money because they are unable to find enough workers to harvest crops. Employment immigration is difficult for this industry, but current statistics show that a large number, up to two-thirds of these farm workers, are undocumented immigrants.
Companies in California and the rest of the nation have come under further scrutiny by Immigration and Customs Enforcement auditors. ICE audited more companies than ever in 2012, searching for employed illegal immigrants. Over the span of five years, the number of I-9 forms rose from 250 to over 3,000, and fines increased by $12 million. With a work visa sometimes being difficult to obtain, many immigrants become frustrated when trying to bring in enough income to support their families, sometimes leading them to seek whatever employment they can find.
California immigrants who have met all of the state's requirements for practicing law may be interested in the campaign of an organization called the DREAM Bar Association (DBA). Their goal is to help undocumented immigrants realize their dreams of being able to practice law in this country. They also hope the campaign will not only help them with their professional dreams, but also pave the way for permanent residence.
A California grocery chain is under fire after they recently announced they would begin checking the immigration status of all of their new hires. Some people in this country do not possess a work visa and are attempting to make a positive contribution to the workforce as best they can. The new policy has outraged both the store's customers and workers. Although the law prevents the company from checking the immigration status of their current employees, workers at the store feel that because they support the nation's economy, the new policy is a betrayal.
A California man is battling to receive a license to practice law, but is being prevented from obtaining one by the government. Many immigrants seek out a work visa as a way to enter into the United States prior to applying for citizenship. In addition, recent changes may make it easier for some undocumented residents to gain lawful employment through work visas. In this case, although this man is in the country illegally, he put himself through law school and has passed the bar exam but may not be able to work as he intended to if the government wins their argument.
In our post on July 6, we outlined the new immigration policy that may help as many as 1.39 million young people in San Diego and across the U.S. who are currently in the country without legal documentation and wish to obtain work permits. Certain undocumented immigrants seeking temporary work permits will now have the opportunity to receive one for $465. Beginning in mid-August, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will start taking permit applications. These applications will be up for renewal every two years. Some exemptions to the fees will be considered, but the majority of the costs will be taken on by applicants and not by taxpayers.
San Diego readers may have heard of the controversy surrounding the award of an O-1 visa to an unexpected person. That woman is now raising eyebrows around the country after being awarded an O-visa. which is normally reserved for those the U.S. government has deemed to possess "extraordinary ability." However, many people disagree with the decision by the government because the woman in question happens to be a Playboy Playmate.
While there are many options for non-U.S. citizens to legally work in the U.S., sometimes the process of obtaining a work visa can be complicated. Unfortunately, some U.S. employers are skeptical of a person's employment status or afraid of being fined for hiring people who are not allowed to work in the U.S. This can make it very difficult on immigrants who have been approved to work in the U.S.
Those who want to work in the U.S. but are unsure whether they are eligible are now able to check their employment visa online through a website called Self-Check. The site allows prospective workers who are older than 16 to check their status and is now available in Spanish. The site recently expanded to 16 states, including California.
Employment immigration is a topic of immense concern to California farmers, who believe the only way they can stay in business is to hire foreign guest workers to keep up with the demands of their work. However, there is a pending bill in Congress that would most likely defeat the farmers' intent. The bill would require use of E-Verify, a federal database designed to check on an employee's legal status. Some in Congress believe illegal aliens are taking jobs away from American citizens. Farmers disagree and are fighting for temporary work permits for foreign laborers.