The DNC may have broken the law by hiring an illegal immigrant

Judicial watch raised an interesting question this week regarding one of the more intriguing hires made by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s team at the DNC. Did they violate the law by hiring an illegal alien?

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission requesting that it investigate the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for having “knowingly hired” an illegal alien, Cindy Nava, to help craft the committee’s 2016 political message and communications. Judicial Watch filed its complaint on August 25, 2015.

A June 8, 2015, story in The Washington Post reported that the DNC hired Nava with full knowledge of what DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) termed Nava’s “undocumented status.” The news report details that “Despite not yet attaining legal status, Nava is working for the Democratic National Committee as one of a crop of fellows from around the country helping the party organize ahead of a presidential election that President Obama predicted would feature immigration as a major issue.” The Spanish language newspaper El Nuevo Herald reports that Nava would help coordinate DNC outreach to “women, youth, and Hispanics.”

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from participating “directly or indirectly in the decision-making process” of federal, state, or local election-related activities.

This is a question with a few twists and turns. It seems that Ms. Nava has been referred to as “a dreamer” in terms of her status, but in legal terms that’s really not “a thing” as the kids like to say today. In reality, she’s allegedly qualified for temporarily relief under DACA, so she’s in that gray area of immigration law which has emerged under the Obama administration. But the Washington Examiner checked into it and claims that she’s still not entirely in the clear because she has applied for DACA status, but at last report it hadn’t been approved yet. Still, you can see how someone with an application pending wouldn’t be a priority target to be scooped up and deported in an urgent fashion.

That’s why Judicial Watch is focused more on the DNC and the fact that they hired her when she was obviously not in an eligible status. Their complaint goes to a more specific, election related statute prohibiting illegal aliens from participating in the electoral process, but I have to wonder if there isn’t a more general violation going on here. Wouldn’t the DNC also be admitting that they were in violation of 8 U.S. Code § 1324a which prohibits the unlawful employment of aliens in any sort of work? Even if Nava has since been granted DACA status, she didn’t have it at the time of her hiring, which seems to fly in the face of the statute.

(1) In general It is unlawful for a person or other entity—

(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3) of this section) with respect to such employment, or
(B)
(i) to hire for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section or (ii) if the person or entity is an agricultural association, agricultural employer, or farm labor contractor (as defined in section 1802 of title 29), to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section.

Subsection (h)(3) is fairly clear as to what qualifies as proper documentation to be employed and what the obligations are of the employer to determine that the new hire is legally eligible for employment. If the employer (in this case, the DNC) has failed to perform that due diligence, they may be fined not more than $3,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom such a violation occurs, imprisoned for not more than six months for the entire pattern or practice, or both.

On a tangentially related subject, who has been paying Jose Antonio Vargas lately? He’s most certainly not a DACA candidate and he was finally arrested last year, but released while his case makes its way through the system. And yet he showed up at Netroots Nation this year and has been “reporting” from various places all year. Is he just independently wealthy? It certainly looked like he was employed to me, and if so then his employer has some questions to answer as well.