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DHS Published Final Rule on Changes to H-2B Visa Regulations
December 19, 2008
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a final rule on Changes to H-2B visa regulations. This final H-2B rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations regarding temporary nonagricultural workers, and their U.S. employers, within the H-2B nonimmigrant classification. The final rule removes certain limitations on H-2B employers and adopts streamlining measures in order to facilitate the lawful employment of foreign temporary nonagricultural workers. This rule is effective January 18, 2009.
DHS Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman Issues a Study and Recommendations on Naturalization Oath Ceremonies
December 16, 2008
The DHS’ Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman Michael Dougherty issued a study and recommendations on Naturalization oath ceremonies. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as amended, vests the DHS Secretary with sole authority regarding the naturalization of the applicants, but gives eligible courts the option to assert exclusive authority to administer the oath of allegiance within 45 days of USCIS approval of the application.
DHS Releases a Fact Sheet on New Requirements for Private Aircraft
November 17, 2008
The CBP has enacted new rules changing the procedure for private aircraft to provide advance notice of their intended arrival or departure, and submit manifests of the persons on board. The new process is similar to the one currently in use by commercial aircraft and will standardize advance notice procedures for all CBP airports of entry. CBP is working to strengthen general aviation security by further minimizing the vulnerability of general aviation flights being used to deliver illicit materials, transport dangerous individuals, or employ the aircraft as a weapon. Compared to regularly scheduled commercial airline operations, there is only a limited pre-screening of private arriving aircraft, passengers, and crew prior to departure. There is also little to no screening of departing private aircraft, passengers and crew prior to departure from the United States.
ESTA Authorization Essential for all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Countries Beginning January 12
November 13, 2008
DHS on November 13, 2008 announced that beginning Jan. 12, 2009, eligible citizens from all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries must obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States under the VWP. On Monday, DHS will formally announce the addition of seven allies to the list of countries authorized to participate in the VWP. The seven countries are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. Beginning Nov. 17, eligible citizens or nationals from the new Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries may travel to the United States under the program provided they have an e-passport and an approved authorization via ESTA, a web-based system that determines the preliminary eligibility of visitors to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) prior to boarding a carrier to the United States.
Fiscal Year 2009 Preparedness Grants
November 05, 2008
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will award more than $3 billion in grants to states, urban areas and transportation authorities under 14 programs to bolster national preparedness capabilities and protect critical infrastructure in the Fiscal Year 2009. The DHS’ fiscal Year 2009 grant programs provide $24 million more than last year to enhance the nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. This includes the department’s two largest grant programs: the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) which totals more than $1.7 billion, and multiple infrastructure protection programs, totaling more than $845 million. The Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) has come up with certain plans for the FY 2009 which focuses on six priorities, tailored to either states or urban areas.
DHS Signs Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Interim Declaration with Romania
November 3, 2008
The DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff on November 3, 2008 signed a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) declaration with Romanian Ambassador Adrian Vierita. The security enhancements outlined in the declaration continues Romania's progress on the path toward visa-free travel to the U.S., and possible designation as a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) member. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has been authorized by U.S. law for over 20 years, with 27 current members from Asia and Europe. The U.S. Congress authorized DHS in August 2007 to reform the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and strengthen the security arrangements required of existing participant countries, as well as to expand the conditions for aspiring countries to join the program.
DHS Issues Supplemental Final Rule with Guidance For Employers Who Receive Social Security 'No-Match' Letters
October 23, 2008
The DHS on October 23, 2008 issued a Supplemental Final Rule that provides additional background and analysis for the department's No-Match Rule. The DHS regulation, clarifies what steps responsible employers can take to resolve discrepancies identified in "no-match" letters issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It also provides guidance to help businesses comply with legal requirements intended to reduce the illegal employment of unauthorized workers. The additional information in this supplemental rule addresses the specific items raised by the Court, and the DHS is taking initiatives to quickly implement it. The No-Match Rule, along with E-Verify, will increasingly make the pleas of ignorance from businesses that seek to exploit illegal labor ring hollow, and equip their responsible competitors with the tools they need to hire and maintain a legal workforce.
U.S. Department of Labor requests comments on proposed rules for priority of service for Veterans
August 15, 2008
The U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) today announced the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Priority of Service for veterans and eligible spouses. Priority of service is an important acknowledgment of the sacrifices of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. The proposed regulations apply to "any workforce preparation, development or delivery program or service that is directly funded, in whole or in part, by the Department of Labor," as provided by the Jobs for Veterans Act (P.L. 107-288), enacted in 2002.
ICE arrests 42 illegal aliens working at Dulles International Airport
August 13, 2008
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 42 men illegally present in the country at Dulles International Airport as part of a critical infrastructure protection (CIP) operation. ICE agents, with support of airport security agencies, arrested the illegal aliens just inside the airport grounds at a checkpoint established to verify the identity and immigration status of workers entering a service gate.
DHS Releases National Emergency Communications Plan
July 31, 2008
The DHS have come up with the one of the most comprehensive plans designed to drive measurable and sustainable improvements to operable and interoperable emergency communications nationwide over the next three years-The National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The NECP is the nation's first strategic plan to improve emergency response communications, and complements overarching homeland security and emergency communications legislation, strategies and initiatives. The NECP emphasizes the human element and cross-jurisdictional cooperation.

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