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INVESTIGATIONS.—The Secretary of State shall undertake compliance actions and sanctions against exchange visitor program sponsors in accordance with part 62 of title 22, Code of Federal Regulations.


REPRESENTATION.—Except as provided in section 518(a) of title 28, United States Code, the Attorney General may appear for and represent the Secretary in any civil litigation brought under this paragraph. All such litigation shall be subject to the direction and control of the Attorney General. Exchange visitor sponsors shall be allowed a reasonable period of inquiry and response before civil litigation is initiated.


ENFORCEMENT.—The Secretary of State or an exchange visitor who is subject to any violation of this subtitle may bring a civil action against an exchange visitor program sponsor, foreign entity, or host entity in a court of competent jurisdiction and recover appropriate relief, including injunctive relief, damages, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, and any other remedy that would effectuate the purposes of this subtitle. Any action must be filed within 3 years after the date on which the exchange visitor became aware of the violation, but under no circumstances more than 5 years after the date on which the violation occurred.


ACTIONS BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE OR AN EXCHANGE VISITOR.—If the court finds in a civil action filed under this section that the defendant has violated any provision of this subtitle (or any regulation issued pursuant to this subtitle), the court may award damages, up to and including an amount equal to the amount of actual damages, and statutory damages of up to $1,000 per plaintiff per violation, or other equitable relief, except that with respect to statutory damages—


multiple infractions of a single provision of this subtitle (or of a regulation under this subtitle) shall constitute only 1 violation for purposes of section 3902(a) to determine the amount of statutory damages due a plaintiff; and


if such complaint is certified as a class action the court may award—


damages up to an amount equal to the amount of actual damages; and


statutory damages of not more than the lesser of up to $1,000 per class member per violation, or up to $500,000;


other equitable relief;


reasonable attorneys' fees and costs; and


such other and further relief, including declaratory and injunctive relief, as necessary to effectuate the purposes of this subtitle.


BOND.—To satisfy the damages, fees, and costs found owing under this section, as much of the bond held pursuant to section 3906 shall be released as necessary.


APPEAL.—Any civil action brought under this section shall be subject to appeal as provided in chapter 83 of title 28, United States Code.


SAFE HARBOR.—A host entity shall not have any liability under this section for the actions or omissions of an exchange visitor program sponsor that has a valid designation with the State Department pursuant to section 3905, unless and to the extent that the host entity has engaged in conduct that violates this subtitle.


LIABILITY FOR FOREIGN ENTITIES.—Exchange visitor program sponsors shall be liable for violations of this subtitle by any foreign employees, agents, foreign entities, or subcontractees of any level in relation to the exchange visitor program recruitment activities of the foreign employees, agents, foreign entities, or subcontractees to the same extent as if the exchange visitor program sponsor had committed the violation, unless the exchange visitor program sponsor—


uses reasonable procedures to protect against violations of this subtitle by foreign employees, agents, foreign entities, or subcontractees (including contractually forbidding in writing any foreign employees, agents, foreign entities, or subcontractees from seeking or receiving prohibited fees from workers);


does not act with reckless disregard of the fact that foreign employees, agents, foreign entities, or subcontractees have violated any provision of this subtitle; and


timely reports any potential violations to the Secretary of State.


WAIVER OF RIGHTS.—Agreements between exchange visitors with sponsors, foreign entities, or host entities purporting to waive or to modify their rights under this subtitle shall be void as contrary to public policy.


RETALIATION.—No person shall intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, discharge, or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any exchange visitor or his or her family members (including a former exchange visitor or an applicant for employment) because such exchange visitor disclosed information to any person that the exchange visitor reasonably believes evidences a violation of this section (or any rule or regulation pertaining to this section), including speaking with a worker organization, seeking legal assistance of counsel, or cooperating with an investigation or other proceeding concerning compliance with this section (or any regulation pertaining to this section).


PROHIBITION ON RETALIATION.—It shall be unlawful for an exchange visitor program sponsor or foreign entity to terminate or remove from the exchange visitor program, ban from the program, adversely annotate an exchange visitor’s SEVIS (as defined in section 4902) record, fire, demote, take other adverse employment action, or evict, or to threaten to take any of such actions against an exchange visitor in retaliation for the act of complaining about program conditions, including housing and job placements, wages, hours, and general treatment, or for disclosing retaliation by an exchange visitor sponsor, exchange visitor foreign entity, or host entity against any exchange visitor.


PRESENCE DURING PENDENCY OF ACTIONS.—If other immigration relief is not available to the exchange visitor, the Secretary of Homeland Security may permit, only on the basis of proof, the exchange visitor to remain lawfully in the United States for the time sufficient to allow the exchange visitor to fully and effectively participate in all legal proceedings related to any action taken pursuant to this section.


ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION.— Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Legal Services Corporation and recipients of its funding may provide legal assistance on behalf of any alien with respect to any provision of this subtitle.


HOST ENTITY VIOLATIONS.—The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall maintain a list of host entities against whom there has been a complaint substantiated by the Department of State for significant program violations. Information from that list shall be made available to sponsors upon request.