ICE in Hot Pursuit: Immigration Authorities Auditing More Employers for I-9 Compliance
In a sweeping crackdown, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency recently notified 1,000 employers that it would be auditing their personnel records for possible violations of employment-eligibility verification laws. This will bring the number of audits for the fiscal year (starting October 1st) to 2,338, which will exceed last year's record of 2,196. This latest round of audits targets employers in a broad array of industries in every state.
The Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986 requires employers to verify that all new hires and current employees are eligible to work in the U.S. by completing a "Form I-9." In this form, a representative of the employer attests that he or she has reviewed the employee's documents for work authorization and that they appear genuine. After receiving a notice of inspection, employers typically have three days to produce the completed Form I-9s and related personnel records.
Violations may lead to both civil and criminal penalties. This year's enforcement efforts have already led to 150 criminal arrests and more than $7 million in fines.
The crackdown came shortly after two major immigration turns. First, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona's controversial immigration law that includes stiff penalties for employing unauthorized workers and requires employers to use E-Verify, the federal government's online work-verification system. Second, U.S. Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, introduced a bill that would require employers nationwide to use E-Verify.
Now more than ever, employers should make sure that employees who are involved in the hiring and on-boarding process are provided with training on basic immigration-law requirements.Categories: General Business Compliance
Tags: immigration basics