June 25, 2008, - 10:56 am

Non-ICE Feds: Law Firm Encouraged, Helped 1/2 Fortune 500 Avoid Hiring Americans

By Debbie Schlussel
Yet another story that puts the lie to the claims about the “work Americans won’t do” and the Wall Street Journal’s whines that we need for H1-B visas for “skilled” foreigners.
It’s not news that law firms across America are specializing in advising and helping U.S. corporations to avoid hiring qualified Americans. Last year, I told you about a seminar hosted by the law firm of Cohen and Grigsby, in which they shamelessly engaged in exactly that. (Video reposted below.)
What is news is that the government–it appears–is finally doing something about it. Not Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but the Department of Labor.
It is now investigating the nation’s largest immigration law firm over allegations that it helped major U.S. corporations disqualify American job applicants and give thousands of high-paying positions to immigrants. (Obviously, the jobs become far less “high-paying” when they don’t go to Americans.)

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The unprecedented Labor Department inquiry centers on Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy – a New York firm at the forefront of a political effort to ease hiring of skilled foreign workers.
The Labor Department is auditing all pending applications for legal immigrant workers the firm has filed on behalf of its corporate clients.
Fragomen’s prestigious client roster includes General Electric Co., IBM Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and Bank of America Corp., according to company publications and trade journals. The firm also represents The Associated Press on immigration issues.
The inquiry focuses on what advice the law firm gave its corporate clients. There was no indication the companies themselves are under scrutiny. [DS: Gee, why not?]
The Labor Department said that Fragomen may have improperly advised clients to contact a Fragomen attorney before hiring “apparently qualified” U.S. workers. The agency said lawyers can advise employers on how to follow the law in hiring immigrants but can’t dissuade them from deciding a U.S. worker is qualified.
The audit focuses on what is known as the permanent foreign labor certification, or PERM, process. Companies normally use it to permanently hire legal immigrants who have been working for them on temporary visas. It essentially allows companies to sponsor workers for green cards, the first step to U.S. citizenship.
Before applying, companies must recruit and try to find a qualified U.S. worker for the same job. If they do, they can’t hire the foreigner. . . .
With more than 200 attorneys, Fragomen is overwhelmingly the biggest player in an industry where firms with several dozen immigration attorneys are considered large firms.
In 2004, the last year the Labor Department made such information about law firms public, Fragomen lawyers filed more than 3,600 labor certifications – more than twice as many as its largest competitor.
The firm’s managing director has also said Fragomen represents about half of the Fortune 100 companies. Last year, Fortune 100 companies submitted more than 5,300 applications. The jobs listed in the applications pay an average of $80,000. And the largest group of applicants were from India.

Sadly, many law firms are engaging in this illicit advice and helping businesses take jobs away from Americans. Unless the government goes after both this law firm and all of the companies engaging in these practices, they will continue.
***
Video: The Law Firm of Cohen and Grigsby a/k/a “Dewey, ScrewAmerica, and Howe”:

Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker. And in a sense that sounds funny. But it’s, uh, what were trying to do here.

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4 Responses

So this type of information hasn’t been made public since 2004? I wonder why. ABA lobbying?

c f on June 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm

We have the sae cretins in the UK;
http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/49922

anglicus on June 26, 2008 at 4:08 am

Call for more cement.

DocLiberty on June 26, 2008 at 12:20 pm

The major unaddressed illegal immigration problem can easily be focused right in Washington DC, at the office of the National Chamber of Commerce. If you ever wondered how illegals are smuggled in, and end up directly at, or who hired them, then look no farther the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber have offices in Mexico, Central and South America, that advertise, and hire illegals for American business. They fully know they are breaking the law, yet are given a pass. WHY???

Jackson Pearson on June 28, 2008 at 6:27 pm

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