What a Presidential Race, Agency Actions and Court Decisions Have in Common

Feb 19, 2016
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It is clearly a time of political uncertainty in the United States. As an employer, you are no doubt wondering whether HR issues, including immigration reform, will see action this year or in the next Congress. Specific to immigration, the issue remains divisive among the candidates on the path to the White House this November. 

SHRM and its affiliate the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) aren’t waiting for a new president or Congress to reach out to policymakers. Here’s a brief overview of what’s ahead for advocacy activities related to immigration this year.

Congress Set to Focus on H-1Bs—In the coming weeks, many employers will face the challenge of the H-1B lottery. With the media focusing its attention on H-1Bs, we can expect program use and enforcement to be hot topics of discussion on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle. Policymakers are likely to continue to look for ways to determine who gets priority access to the cap. One possibility is to set a new threshold for wages and to address issues of portability, along with other items, to protect U.S. workers from displacement. It is increasingly likely that we could see a legislative proposal introduced in the coming months that, while it would have little chance of passing both chambers, would be a marker for future debates and could impact employers’ ability to access this kind of visa.

Congress Reauthorization of E-Verify—As previously reported, the E-Verify program has been extended to Sept. 30. SHRM and CFGI remain concerned that the current E-Verify program lacks sufficient security features to protect employers from persons using fraudulent identities in seeking employment. E-Verify continues to rely on paper documentation that is susceptible to theft, forgery and alteration, and which cannot be verified for authenticity. We will work with Congress on future legislative proposals to strengthen the E-Verify program by providing employers with modern tools that will help combat identity theft and, ultimately, one reliable, accurate and easily accessible federal employment verification system.

U.S. Supreme Court—All eyes have turned to the U.S. Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death. What is not known is the fate of its pending cases, including Texas v. United States, a historic case addressing whether the president’s decision to defer deportations is constitutional. We will be following case activity and will let you know the implications of the court’s rulings.

2016 to Be the Year of Advocacy—SHRM CEO Hank Jackson rightly points out that 2016 is a paramount year for SHRM and CFGI advocacy. You can be a part of the action and join us at a number of events this year: the Employment Law & Legislative Conference, taking place March 14-16; the CFGI symposium in June; and our joint advocacy event to be held June 22!

In This Issue

Capitol Hill Update

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Developments

Immigration Reform

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