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Permanent residents don't have to show green cards

Permanent residents who are living in South Carolina are not obligated to show employers their green cards in order to prove that they have authorization to work in the United States. Though an employer may ask employees to fill out a Form I-9 to verify their identity, employees may produce any identification document that they choose from a list of acceptable documents.

Recently, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices of the U.S. Department of Justice investigated a landscaping company that was discriminating against lawful permanent resident employees. The OSC determined that the company was violating the Immigration and Nationality Act by requiring permanent residents to show their green cards when they filled out Form I-9. U.S. citizens who worked for the same company were allowed to show any piece of identification that they chose.

According to the INA, employers cannot place extra documentation burdens on employees because of their immigration status. If a person is a legal permanent resident who is permitted to work in the U.S., requiring them to produce a green card is considered discrimination. Following the OSC investigation, the landscaping company was ordered to pay civil penalties, receive training on the INA and submit to monitoring and reporting.

Permanent residents who are working in the U.S. may want to talk to an immigration attorney if they have been required to produce a green card while filling out a Form I-9 during the hiring process. An attorney may also be able to help an immigrant in the U.S. who does not have current work authorization to apply for an employment visa.

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