US authorities today announced a joint collaboration to better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse and discrimination by employers bringing foreign visa workers to America.
The Department of Justice and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have a signed an MoU as part of the Trump administration's effort to improve the way the agencies share information, collaborate on cases, and train each other's investigators, according to a statement.
"Protecting and maintaining the integrity of our immigration system remains a key priority for me, and underpins the exceptional work of the professionals at USCIS," said USCIS Director L Francis Cissna.
"This agreement enhances the level of coordination among investigators who often work on the same issues at different agencies.
"Breaking down silos and working with our federal partners to combat employment discrimination will help ensure that US workers have the advocate they need at the highest level," Cissna said.
The MoU will increase the ability of the agencies to share information and help identify, investigate and prosecute employers who may be discriminating against the US workers and/or violating immigration laws.
In 2010, USCIS and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division entered into an ongoing partnership to share information about E-Verify misuse and combat employment discrimination. The latest MoU expands upon the two agencies' existing partnership, the statement said.
In 2017, the Civil Rights Division launched the Protecting US Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against US workers in favour of foreign visa workers.
Under this Initiative, the Civil Rights Division has opened dozens of investigations, filed one lawsuit and reached settlement agreements with two employers.
Since the Initiative's inception, employers have agreed to pay or have distributed over USD 200,000 in back pay to affected US workers. It has also increased its collaboration with other federal agencies to combat discrimination and abuse by employers using foreign visa workers.
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