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By: Kenneth S. Levine
The FMG Immigration Section was recently asked to address a client’s question on how they should respond to an emailed “invitation” by the USCIS E-Verify Unit for their company to participate in a quality control program. First, it is extremely important for clients to be aware that USCIS or ICE agency inquiries/requests are typically not sent by email. This email turned out to be an exception.
Once we confirmed that the email was in fact legitimate, our focus shifted to the nature of the actual invitation. In this case, the USCIS E-Verify Unit was inviting our client to participate in a quality control initiative meant to refine and improve the E-Verify system. The invitation mentioned that participation was not mandatory, and that if our client decided to participate USCIS would then provide a list of corporate documentation to submit.
We advised our client to send a response confirming that the email had been received and that they’ve elected not to participate. I have yet to run across any situation where it would be advisable for a company to willingly provide internal corporate documents based on nothing more than a government invitation. In fact, a standard rule of thumb is that a company should never provide internal records to a government agency absent a legal obligation to do so.
In the email USCIS sought to characterize their invitation as inconsequential and nothing to be concerned about. However, the simple act of handing over records to USCIS could easily prompt an investigation if document errors/violations are discovered during the agency’s review. While it is reasonable to assume that the government would be less aggressive or punitive under these circumstances, there are no guarantees.
Government emails soliciting companies to voluntarily submit their documentation for “quality control purposes” is a new and novel concept. This type of invitation should always be turned down.
For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected]