Q: “While conducting an annual self-audit of employee files and I-9 compliance, I have encountered some questionable documents that I believe to be fraudulent. If I contact an ICE agent to verify these documents, will this then trigger a company wide ICE audit?” – Santana, Texas
A: It might. In general, you must accept documents that appear to be “valid on their face,” without doing any investigation. Failure to do that is, in itself, a violation of the I-9 regulations. If, conversely, the documents clearly appear to be invalid, then you may not accept them as evidence that the individual is authorized to work. If you nevertheless feel you need assistance from ICE to determine whether the documents are valid, and you can accomplish your internal audit quickly, you may wish to complete your internal audit to the best of your ability before you reach out. (An experienced lawyer working for your company may also be able to help you recognize whether the documents appear valid, and if so, help you coordinate next steps.)
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