In October 2017, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan announced that he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to increase worksite investigations of employers by “four or five times” in 2018. The stated purpose of this refocus is to eliminate the “magnet” of U.S. jobs, which many people consider to be a driving factor in illegal immigration.
Remember, on the I-9 Form, the employer must verify (1) employment eligibility, and (2) identity of the employee. The Form I-9 legal requirements must be strictly followed because an employer may not knowingly hire or continue to employ a person who is not authorized to work in the US. “Knowingly” means actual knowledge or constructive knowledge (what the employer should have known). Employers who violate the I-9 requirements may be subject to civil fines, and in certain circumstances, criminal penalties.
This announcement and the potential consequences beg the question, “Is your company ready for an I-9 audit?” If you have questions about your company’s readiness, the I-9 process, and legal requirements, or if you want to talk about a self-audit, please contact a member of Underwood’s Immigration Law Section.