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Cisco's immigration law firm audited for improper behavior by U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Department of Labor in the 21st Century
The U.S. Department of Labor is auditing all the permanent labor certification applications filed by Cisco's immigration law attorneys at Fragomen - Del Rey - Bernsen & Loewy LLP. The purpose of the audit is to determine whether the nation's largest immigration law firm improperly instructed clients to contact Fragomen before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers. Such activity would be considered improper attorney involvement in the consideration of U.S. worker applicants. U.S. Department of Labor regulations specifically prohibit an employer's immigration attorney or agent from participating in considering the qualifications of U.S. workers who apply for positions for which certification is sought, unless the attorney is normally involved in the employer's routine hiring process.
Gregory F. Jacob
"The department's decision to further investigate these applications will help ensure the integrity of the permanent labor certification process and ultimately protect job opportunities for American workers," said Gregory F. Jacob - Solicitor of Labor for the U.S. Department of Labor. "The department takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that American workers have access to jobs they are qualified and willing to do and that their wages and working conditions are not adversely affected by the hiring of foreign workers."
The American Immigration Lawyers Association immediately went on the offensive in support of Cisco's immigration law firm - Fragomen - Del Rey - Bernsen & Loewy LLP, by chastising the Department of Labor's use of conclusory statements in its press release. View Department of Labor Q&A on Fragomen Audit (2) What incident/incidents prompted this audit? The Department identified information indicating that in at least some cases the firm may have improperly instructed clients who filed permanent labor certification applications to contact their attorney before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers. Specifically, several recruitment forms drafted by some Fragomen attorneys instructed their clients that:
"After interview, should any of the applicants appear to be qualified for the position, please contact a Fragomen attorney immediately to further discuss the candidate’s background as it relates to the requirements stated for said position," or some variation thereof.

View the CNN Lou Dobbs video of the above Labor Department audit:

At the 1:38 time point in the above CNN video, network engineer David Huber is interviewed about his response to a Chicago newspaper employment advertisement. According to an email message from Norm Matloff - professor of computer science at the University of California - Davis, the unidentified software company/high tech internet company whose ad in the Chicago newspaper David Huber responded to in the above video, was in actuality an ad that was placed by Fragomen's immigration law client, Cisco Systems. Cisco ad that appeared in the Chicago Tribune:
View explanation of the Cisco ad that appeared in the Chicago Tribune
View explanation of the Cisco ad above that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Note: Neither Megan Clarke at Fragomen's Santa Clara, CA office nor Cisco itself responded to telephone inquiries by yours truly for comment. Update: July 8th, 2008
Fragomen Statement And Letter From Ad Agency (appeared online in the Immigration Daily ILW.com) Letter from Miller Advertising Agency FRAGOMEN STATEMENT CONCERNING DAVID HUBER'S ALLEGATIONS View statement David Huber is a committed opponent of immigration. A year before he ever responded to the advertisement in question, he testified in Congress against permitting foreign workers in the U.S. Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims By David Huber March 30, 2006 These are the accurate facts concerning the ad he has publicly described having responded to: The ad Mr. Huber responded to directed him to send his resume to the employer at the employer's street address. It did not refer to Fragomen or direct resumes to Fragomen. The name "M.E. Clarke" -- who is a Fragomen employee -- was used temporarily by the employer's mailroom to identify a mailstop at the employer's request. There was no indication in the ad of any connection between M.E. Clarke and Fragomen. M.E. Clarke provided clerical support to the employer's H.R. function, including collecting resumes to ensure that they would be properly and promptly distributed to the appropriate hiring managers for evaluation. Neither M.E. Clarke nor any other Fragomen employee reviewed or evaluated the resumes received to assess the applicants' credentials. No interview was conducted by any Fragomen employee. No hiring decision was made by any Fragomen employee. Mr. Huber's resume was evaluated solely by the employer, and the employer determined Mr. Huber was not qualified for the job.

At the 0:50 time point in the below video learn more about the Cisco job ad:

Professor Norm Matloff describes the Cisco ad:
Now, I urge everyone to see another video (the one directly above), this one by journalist Sue Kwon at the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, there you'll see unemployed programmer David Huber, telling the viewing audience exactly what happened when he applied for a job at Cisco Systems. Turned out that the contact person stated in the Chicago Tribune ad was a lawyer with...Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP. Programmer Pete Bennett is also featured. Dave Huber has given me some details on his adventure with Cisco and Fragomen, permitting me to share here: Regarding speaking with [Fragomen's] Megan Clarke: If you recall, I saw the ad on Sunday, June 3, 2007. On Monday morning, June 4, 2007, I called Cisco's HQ in San Jose and spoke with a random operator. I confirmed that the person I was talking to was working at Cisco in San Jose. I asked the operator something to the effect I was trying to contact a M E Clarke. The operator said Clarke didn't work at Cisco, but that there was a Megan Clarke, who worked at Fragomen. I had never heard of Fragomen. (And, of course, I didn't even know about the C&G [Cohen & Grigsby] seminar.) So I googled Fragomen and found out it was an immigration law firm. I'm getting more curious now, so I decided to contact the closest Fragomen office to San Jose. This office happened to be in Santa Clara. I called the Santa Clara Fragomen office, and actually spoke with a Megan Clarke. I asked her about the ad I saw. I confirmed through my brief conversation with her, that she was the M E Clarke in the Cisco ad. At first, she seemed open, and somewhat willing to answer my questions about the ad. After about 2-3 minutes, I heard a sense of nervousness in Ms. Clarke's voice, and she sort of ended the conversation by saying I should just respond to the ad. My recollection of this was that I was even more perplexed, thinking that something just wasn't right: the newspaper ad; the immigration law firm referenced in ad. Well, I think the mystery was solved for me when I saw that C & G video. After about almost a month (end of June), I decided, just for grins, to respond to the Cisco newspaper ad. I sent my resume, via registered mail, to the Cisco address in the ad. I did get an eventual response from Cisco, which I think was a result of this specific ad I responded to with registered mail. An Indian contracting firm contacted me about a job at Cisco in San Jose, paying the princely sum of about $30 or $35/hour. This compensation was/is a joke, needless to say.

View Professor Norm Matloff's email message in its entirety. View an updated email message from Professor Matloff. Once more, the U.S. Department of Labor specifically states: Where an employer does not normally involve immigration attorneys in its hiring process, there is no legitimate reason to consult with immigration attorneys before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers who have responded to recruitment required by the permanent labor certification program. Resources: View letter from the Miller Advertising Agency explaining to Fragomen why the law firm has been appearing on the employment ads of Fragomen immigration law clients. U.S. Department of Labor press release as well as Q&A on Fragomen audit. View the American Immigration Lawyers Association Complaint Letter chastising the Department of Labor's use of conclusory statements in its press release and Q&A. Pay special attention to Page 2, 2nd Paragraph, Last Sentence of the AILA letter: "This was a tacit acknowledgement of the role of the attorney in advising employers regarding what elements on those resumes they could or could not take into account when considering applicants." In the opinion of yours truly, the American Immigration Lawyers Association admits in the above statement, that a client could use the services of a knowledgeable immigration law firm to meet the letter of the law, while intentionally pushing away qualified U.S. workers in favor of non-U.S. workers when hiring skilled positions.


Why do YOU think Cisco's immigration law attorneys were the contact for this Chicago newspaper ad, which according to the Department of Labor would be improper attorney involvement?

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