Information for Local Churches regarding compliance requirements of Alabama's Immigration Law
As North Alabama approaches it’s 2014 Annual Conference gathering and clergy and local churches prepare for new appointments, Conference Chancellor Terry McElheny offers a summary of legal requirements and links to necessary forms to assist local congregations in meeting their compliance requirements of Alabama’s Immigration Law.
Effective April 1, 2012, all employers – including churches – are required to register with the Federal E-Verify program and to confirm the employment status of all applicants for employment using that system.
McElheny notes, “For the purpose of immigration law compliance, ministers, upon assignment, are deemed to be ‘applicants for employment.’”
He adds, “ Basically, E-Verify requires employers to provide information that is on the already-required Federal I-9 forms, plus the applicant’s social security number. This information is then run through data banks of the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to confirm the applicant’s eligibility for employment.”
I-9 forms must still be completed by both employees and employers.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website notes that Form I-9 must be retained and stored by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later.
The deadline for completion of both the I-9 form and E-Verify is no later than three days after the employee starts to work for pay.
Setting up E-Verify
Larger employers (local churches with more than 25 employees) should connect to the Federal E-Verify website - www.uscis.gov/e-verify. E-Verify set-up requires an agreement to participate which is set out in a 17 page Memorandum of Understanding between the employers (local church) and the Department of Homeland Security. This form is available online at www.uscis.gov/e-verify. Click the “Enroll in E-Verify” button.
For many smaller churches, Alabama’s Department of Homeland Security provides assistance, at no charge.
McElheny explains, “Pursuant to Alabama’s immigration law, a business with 25 or fewer employees may call Alabama’s Department of Homeland Security which will use the E-Verify program to check an individual’s employment eligibility.”
A small employer should go to www.immigration.alabama.gov and create an account and complete an online application. Once the account is created, the small employers will receive an email containing the E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding. This form must be signed and returned to Alabama’s e-Verify Employer Agent Service Office. The employeer will be notified by email once your account has been approved.
- I-9 Central – http://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central
Provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are links to various employment verification compliance information. The “Complete and Correct” button provides a link to the Form I-9 itself.
- USCIS Form I-9 – http://www.uscis.gov/i-9
Note the date of this I-9 is March 8, 2013. Any previous versions of Form I-9 are obsolete and many no longer be used.
- Alabama Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify Employer Agent Service – verify.alabama.gov or www.immigration.alabama.gov
This is the page that allows small employers [25 or fewer employees] to utilize the services of Alabama’s Department of Homeland Security for E-Verify compliance.
- Federal E-Verify website – http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify
E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
- E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding for Employers – http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Verification/E-Verify/E-Verify_Native_Documents/MOU_for_E-Verify_Employer.pdf
E-Verify set-up requires an agreement to participate which is set out in a 17 page Memorandum of Understanding between the employers (local church) and the Department of Homeland Security.
If your local congregation has questions about this process, please contact your District Office.