Immigration Law Section

This section provides members the opportunity to exchange information with other immigration law practitioners and provides a newsletter to members on both federal and State immigration laws. It also provides annual CLE programming on immigration law.

Chair
Olsen Law Firm
735 Broad Street, Suite 708
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423)648-9390
Vice-Chair
Immigration Law Offices of Steven...
P.O. Box 60920
Nashville, TN 37206
(615)750-3142

Many Pledge to 'Stand Against Racism' at YWCA Event

Several hundred people gathered in Nashville's Public Square Park today for the YWCA's annual Stand Against Racism event. The programming was led by Mayor Megan Barry and featured several lawyers and others speaking on the theme "Women of Color Leading Change." Among the speakers were Ana Escobar, with the Davidson County District Attorney General's Office; civil rights attorney Abby Rubenfeld; and Sharon Roberson, president and CEO of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. Melody Fowler-Green, with the Metro Human Relations Commission, and Beverly Watts, who serves on the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commisson, led the crowd in committing to the pledge. See photos from the event.

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Understanding Automatic EAD Extensions

Effective Jan. 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security amended its regulations related to certain immigrant and highly-skilled non-immigrant workers. The new regulations include a provision for the automatic extension of certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for up to 180 days in cases where a timely-filed EAD renewal is pending. Previously, once an EAD expired, the employee could not work until his or her renewal EAD application was approved. While the new rule provides more security and continuity for both employers and employees, it has created some confusion for employers seeking to ensure I-9 compliance. 

Not all EAD holders qualify for an automatic extension. The new rule allows for automatic extensions of EADs for up to 180 days for individuals who: 1) timely file their renewal applications, 2) apply based on the same employment authorization category as shown on the expiring EAD, and 3) fall into a qualifying employment authorization category. Employers will need to carefully review the expired EAD and pending receipt notice to ensure that all the requirements are met. 

The list of qualifying employment authorization categories are as follows:

  • Aliens admitted as refugees;
  • aliens granted asylum;
  • aliens admitted as parents or dependent children of aliens granted permanent residence under section 101(a)(27)(I) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(I);
  • aliens admitted to the United States as citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau under agreements between the United States and those nations;
  • aliens granted withholding of deportation or removal;
  • aliens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
  • aliens who have properly filed applications for TPS and who have been deemed prima facie eligible for TPS under 8 CFR 244.10(a) and have received an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”;
  • aliens who have properly filed applications for asylum or withholding of deportation or removal;
  • aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status;
  • aliens who have filed applications for suspension of deportation under section 244 of the INA (as it existed prior to April 1, 1997), cancellation of removal under section 240A of the INA, or special rule cancellation of removal under section 309(f)(1) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996;
  • aliens who have filed applications for creation of record of lawful admission for permanent residence;
  • aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 210 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1160;
  • aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 245A of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1255a;
  • aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status pursuant to section 1104 of the LIFE Act; and,
  • aliens who are the principal beneficiaries or qualified children of approved VAWA self-petitioners, under the employment authorization category ‘‘(c)(31)’’ in the form instructions to the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I–765).

The expiring EAD combined with a receipt notice is evidence of employment authorization for I-9 purposes. Employers who refuse to hire or terminate employees with 180-day extensions may be in violation of the INA’s antidiscrimination provisions, which prohibit discrimination based on a worker’s citizenship status, immigration status or national origin.  

In light of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security is expected to increase its focus on immigration enforcement and border security efforts in 2017, employers should be prepared for more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Notices of Inspection to audit employers’ I-9 forms. The new rule on EAD automatic extensions allows employers to continue employing workers in lawful employment status for a longer period, while maintaining I-9 compliance. 

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Nora Katz is an immigration attorney at Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis, where she prepares immigrant and nonimmigrant filings to help employers grow and maintain competitive workforces. She received her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and her law degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Katz may be reached at (615) 850-8730 or nora.katz@wallerlaw.com.

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