Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Increases Audit of Employers Around the Country

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) announced they would start a two-phase, nation-wide audit operation. Since January 2018, ICE and HSI have issued more than 5,200 audits to verify Form I-9…this is phase one. Form I-9 verifies the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States

Phase two, begun July 2018, is the Notice of Inspection (NOI), sent to employers asking them to comply with the rules of Form I-9 and show their compliance records. HSI served 2,738 NOIs and apprehended 32 people in violation of Form I-9. In the first phase, HSI issued 2,540 NOIs and arrested 61 people in breaches.

HSI conducts work-site investigations to make sure that employers are upholding federal laws. HSI also enforces Form I-9 federal law by initiating audits with employers via on-site visits. If they find violations, they can prosecute an employer who knowingly violated the law. Form I-9 violations and fines comply with federal law. HSI’s work-site enforcement investigators help combat worker exploitation, illegal wages, child labor and other unlawful practices.

Derek N. Benner, acting executive director for HSI, says the recent uptick in I-9 audits ensures adherence to federal law and also creates a “culture of compliance” among employers. “Employers need to understand that the integrity of their employment records is just as important to the federal government as the integrity of their tax files and banking records. All industries, regardless of size, location and type are expected to comply with the law,” he said.

When an employer receives an NOI, it has only three days to produce Form I-9 records. After that, ICE will conduct a site inspection for compliance. Employers who fail to follow the law face sanctions with substantial financial penalties. Employers must understand that if they do not comply with the existing law, they will pay a hefty price. In 2017, such employers paid $97.6 million in judicial, forfeitures, fines and restitution.

ICE News Release:

Form I-9 requirements: