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ABIL Sends Comments on I-9 Proposed Revisions

The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) sent comments on the revised Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) on May 23, 2012, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). ABIL formally objected to the failure of USCIS to submit for full regulatory review, with opportunity for public comment, the proposed three-page instructions to the I-9 and another set of 64 pages of instructions in the "Handbook for Employers," accessible at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/m-274.pdf. These instructions are to be treated as incorporated amendments of USCIS regulations, and ABIL noted that the I-9 instructions impose substantive legal requirements.

The agency "has not complied with several federal statutes and presidential directives including the Administrative Procedure Act [APA], the [Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)], the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and OMB Circular A-4," ABIL said. Moreover, the PRA public burden and cost estimate of $414,375,200 is "woefully inadequate." The time estimate for completion of the form is three minutes, which, according to the three-page I-9 instructions, includes reading the instructions. This could not conceivably include a reading of the M-274’s 64 pages of instructions, ABIL noted. Moreover, given the number of respondents (projected by USCIS to be 78 million), the cost burden estimate "must inevitably be many multiples of $414,375,200." For the foregoing reasons, ABIL urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to remand the information collection review to USCIS as unapproved and to direct the agency to comply in full with the applicable laws and regulations.

ABIL included detailed comments on the revised draft I-9.

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