Thursday, March 25, 2010

USCIS Session - Implications of H-1B Memo on Healthcare Industry

Tomorrow the USCIS will hold a public session on the impact of the Neufeld Memo on the Healthcare Industry. MU’s Cindy Unkenholt will be attending in person. If you would like to attend either in person or via telephone, please contact USCIS’ Suzie Clark, or (202) 272-1279. MU will publish a Blog post of any important information that comes out of the session, although none is expected since the session is limited to hearing industry concerns.

MU will or has raised several concerns with the application of the Neufeld Memo in the past. These include:

1. The issuance of the Neufeld Memorandum is a substantive change to existing law. Such changes to law by Memorandum are illegal under the Administrative Procedures Act. Under the APA, regulatory agencies like USCIS must first publish proposed rules in the Federal Register. Then, the agency must allow the public to comment on the changes. The USCIS must then consider and respond to the public comment.

2. The entire reasoning of the Neufeld Memorandum is unsound. In the Neufeld Memorandum, the USCIS found that existing law did not define “employer-employee” relationship. AILA contends, correctly MU thinks, that existing law does define “employer-employee” relationship at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(ii). An “employer” is one who may “hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of any such employee”. Therefore the USCIS’ use of Supreme Court cases and common-law is improper since the definition is already right there in the definition.

3. To the extent that the USCIS applies the definition, it limits its focus to one of these five characteristics -- control – and fails to explore the other four characteristics – hire, pay, fire, and supervise.

4. Even if the USCIS feels that it needs help in defining “employer-employee,” the USCIS completely misapplies the relevant Supreme Court decisions. Cases such as Clackamas speak to the idea of balancing all characteristics and not limiting the analysis to the control characteristic.

5. When Congress last amended the relevant statutes in the law IMMACT90. It expressly sought to expand the definition of employer, not restrict it. USCIS is not legally allowed to violate Congress’ express intent.

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