I-9 Audits and Site Visits Likely to Increase

New guidance has been released pertaining to internal I-9 audits and practices as both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) increase focus on investigations. Once notice of an inspection is given, an employer has three business days “to produce the I-9 Forms unless ICE can produce a search warrant or subpoena”.

A recent investigation shows the potential severity of ICE fines:

On September 28, 2017, privately held Asplundh Tree Experts (Asplundh) was fined $95 million, $80 million of which is a forfeiture money judgment accompanied by signing an Administrative Compliance Agreement, with an additional $15 million in civil payments. According to court documents, from 2010 through 2014, Asplundh hired and rehired employees by accepting documents they knew were false. After six years of investigations, the Homeland Security Investigations Unit in Philadelphia found that Asplundh’s hiring was decentralized so “that the… highest level of management could remain willfully blind while Supervisors and General Foremen (2nd and 3rd level supervisors) hired ineligible workers…”

Employers should also be prepared to provide supporting documents, including a list of employees and business licenses.

ICE Director Thomas Homan said “[Our] clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable”.

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