Category Archives: Editorial

The Kansas Employment Crackdown: ICE Enforcement Actions

Counties in Eastern Kansas are being raided. Employers and employees, alike, are at risk of criminal charges if they work without proper documentation or hire workers who are without proper work authorization from the US government. What initially looked like one prosecutor’s office’s harsh enforcement of Immigration laws, under the veil of State law, against undocumented workers has revealed itself to be much more.

For the second time, in less than two months, Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement “ICE” has offered for prosecution, cases against employers hiring undocumented workers. After executing search warrants the day before, on November 6, the owners of Wei’s Super Buffet restaurant in Olathe were charged in Federal District Court with harboring undocumented workers who were in the United States unlawfully. The investigation, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Kansas, has alleged that “beginning in February 2011 agents of Homeland Security Investigations began surveillance on the owners, managers and employees at Wei’s Super Buffet. They checked Quarterly Wage Report and Unemployment Tax Returns submitted by the restaurant to the Kansas Department of Labor and they identified employees who were illegally present in the United States. They also identified apartments rented by the defendants where undocumented workers were living.”

This latest enforcement action follows the raid, on September 20, 2013, of another restaurant. The restaurant manager of El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant in Ottawa, Kan., was charged, again by the US Attorney’s Office, with four counts of harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and five counts of encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the United States for financial gain. The investigation of these alleged crimes also occurred between September 7, 2011 and June 14, 2013 by ICE. According to Court documents, “HSI special agents received information that El Mezcal was not completing I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for its employees, as required by federal law for all U.S. businesses. HSI special agents reviewed the restaurant’s documents and discovered the restaurant did not have I-9 forms for 14 employees.”

In both cases, if convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. If the owners are not US citizens, there are also sure to be immigration consequences which have the potential of jeopardizing their abilities to remain in the US.

If these cases are any indication, it would not be surprising if more employers and employees will become the target of ICE’s efforts to crackdown on unauthorized employment practices. Employees should always take precautions to ensure that their documents are in order and are authentic. Employers should, likewise, take steps to put preventative measures in place to ensure compliance with US immigration laws.


Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law is a Kansas City, Missouri, firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration litigation. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court, in Kansas or Missouri – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. Sharma-Crawford now also offers a full range of business related immigration services.  For more information, please call (816) 994-2300 or visit www.Sharma-Crawford.com. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.

Infosys. Is it a Sea of Change for Businesses?

On October 30, 2013, Infosys, the Indian multinational provider of business consulting, information technology, software engineering and outsourcing services, agreed to pay $34 million in fines for I-9 violations. What makes this remarkable is the detailed 13-page settlement agreement that lays out in excruciating detail the company’s long use of B-1 visa holders to supplement their work force.

The federal investigation was instigated by private civil lawsuit, which had been filed by a former manager who was alleging discrimination and breach of contract. That manager, Jay Palmer, alleged that he was retaliated against when he questioned the firm’s potential violations of U.S. immigration laws.

Infosys was using engineers who were B-1 visa holders to enter the U.S. and write code and do other “work” that the DHS held was not allowed under that visa class. Evidence included detailed statements and internal Infosys documents that coached those engineers on what to say when entering the U.S. Infosys, has not admitted to any wrong doing and settled only to avoid protracted litigation.

This raises the question that if the evidence of those violations was so strong, why was the settlement only for I-9 violations? That answer lies in the complex nature of immigration law. Consider this statement in the Wall Street Journal by the lead government prosecutor, Shamoil Shipchandler:

“It’s not 100% clear what someone who holds a B-1 visa can actually do,” he said. For example, placing someone within a company for six months to do in-house tech support is an improper use of a B-1 visa. But if a consultant helps refine software during a meeting with a client, as part of a larger project, that could be seen as an appropriate use of a visitor visa, Mr. Shipchandler said. “It’s a murky area, but for our purposes they misled consular officials.”1

Thus, it becomes clear that what the government was actually concerned about was the “coaching” of employees when they applied for visas or entered the U.S. on their B-1 visas. This will likely translate into those businesses, especially in the IT industry, facing greater scrutiny when applying for business-based visas.

The Wal-Mart settlement over sub-contracted labor changed the way in which businesses track the I-9’s of their subcontractors.2 Following the Infosys settlement, the future of business immigration may again be influenced; causing business to re-evaluate the processes by which apply for and document foreign workers.

Savvy business owners are using the Infosys settlement as an opportunity to review their practices and invest in preventative measures. By seeking out affirmative review of their business immigration practices, including I-9 compliance and proper creation and maintenance of H-1B, H1B1 and E-2 status Public Access Files, businesses are hoping to avoid the same fate, or worse, as Infosys. Review of current practices is particularly important in the current political climate, which seems to suggest a stronger shift to employer sanctions and compliance as part of any comprehensive immigration reform legislation.


Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law is a Kansas City, Missouri, firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration litigation. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court, in Kansas or Missouri – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. Sharma-Crawford now also offers a full range of business related immigration services. For more information, please call (816) 994-2300 or visit www.Sharma-Crawford.com. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.

Piecemeal Immigration Reform is a Bad Idea

During a Fox News online telecast, Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte stated that legislation must be passed to tackle the issues regarding millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., the workforce’s demand for more high- and low-skilled labor and more. (more…)

Naturalization Test Preparation Resources

To qualify for naturalization, applicants must speak, read, and write basic English and understand U.S. history and civics. There are age-based exemptions and a disability waiver. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History collaborated to create a new educational website to help naturalization applicants prepare for the civics and history test. Launched this week, Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship, “features videos and multimedia activities that showcase artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections and exhibitions.”