In view of concerns about undocumented workers, Colorado recently enacted its own immigration law, which requires employers to take certain actions beyond what the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act mandates.
First, employers must make an affirmation within 20 days of hiring a new employee. The affirmation, which lists the employee’s name, date of birth, Social Security number and date of hire, requires the employer to affirm that it has:
- Examined the legal work status of the employee.
- Retained file copies of the documents required by 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324a (federal I-9 form).
- Not altered or falsified the employee’s identification documents.
- Not knowingly hired an unauthorized immigrant.
A sample affirmation form is available from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CDLE) at www.coworkforce.com/lab/AffirmationForm.pdf.
Second, Colorado’s law requires employers to keep employees’ I-9s on file for the duration of their employment. By contrast, the federal law requires employers to retain I-9 forms only for three years after the hiring date.
(To review the federal I-9 rules, go to www.uscis.gov.)
Caution: The Colorado Immigration Law has some teeth. The state’s Division of Labor may audit employers suspected of violating the law or failing to submit the affirmation within the 20-day limit. Additionally, employers that don’t submit the documents—or submit fraudulent ones—may incur fines of up to $5,000 for the first offense and $25,000 for any subsequent offenses. The funds stay within the CDLE to finance ongoing enforcement efforts.