I’m clearing my desk to get ready for travel on Wednesday to Vancouver. That’s of course where the American Immigration Lawyers Association is holding its annual conference. One of the panels will be an open forum with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
As most in the immigration world know, the DOL is very concerned about fraud in the immigration process. No ethical employers or lawyers would deny the importance of deterring fraud, and truly bad apples of course need to be removed from the barrel.
But when DOL targets reputable lawyers and law firms and audits all of their clients for alleged conduct that the agency belatedly acknowledges is within the proper scope of the attorney-client relationship, then the objective of fraud-deterrence is actually impaired rather than facilitated. Moreover, when the agency in the name of “program integrity” or “reform” seeks to minimize the role of lawyers, while continuing to promote a deeply-flawed PERM system and tolerate a role for unlicensed agents (consultants and notarios), then something is definitely wrong in Bureacracyland.
For background on the controversy, check out today’s article, co-authored by Ted J. Chiappari and me, in the New York Law Journal’s “Immigration Column,” available at this link.(By the way, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “tizzy” as “a highly excited and distracted state of mind.” After reviewing the article, you, dear readers, can decide if the label is apt.)
So, if you’re heading to the DOL Open Forum AILA panel in Vancouver, maybe you’ll think of a polite question or two for the DOL representatives.