The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced what it’s calling “a bold new audit initiative…as a first step in ICE’s long-term strategy to address and deter illegal employment.”
On July 1, the agency sent Notices of Inspection to 652 businesses—more notices than it issued all of last year.
The goal: Finding employers that don’t follow employment eligibility verification laws and regulations—and fining them.
“This new initiative illustrates ICE's increased focus on holding employers accountable for their hiring practices and efforts to ensure a legal workforce,” said Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton.
Employers are required to complete and retain an I-9 form for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires employers to review and record the individual's identity documents and determine whether they reasonably appear to be genuine and related to the individual.
ICE targeted the 652 businesses for I-9 audit inspections as a result of leads and information obtained through other investigative means, Morton said.
The stepped-up I-9 enforcement effort comes even as the Obama administration has ended the practice of sending out “no-match letters” that flag discrepancies between Social Security Administration records and the information employees provide on I-9 forms.
Find out the four steps you must include in your electronic I-9 program, as well as how to comply with the strict new federal rules on completing, signing and retaining electronic 1-9s. Learn more...
ICE’s decision to abandon no-match letters puts an end to a sticky legal issue that has been lingering in the courts for two years. Under rules drafted in 2007, employers would have had to fire workers whose employment eligibility verification information didn’t match Social Security records.
Opponents sued to stop no-match letters, complaining that Social Security records contain too many errors to reliably identify employees who were ineligible to work in the United States. A federal court in California agreed, issuing an injunction that has prevented the letters from going out ever since.
Related news: The Obama administration also announced recently that it would begin requiring federal contractors to use the government’s E-Verify electronic system to verify the employment eligibility of all workers.
The rule, set to take effect Sept. 8, will apply to companies and organizations with federal contracts worth $100,000 or more. ICE estimates that more than four million employers will be covered.
Employers across the country are scrambling to decipher the legal rules for filing … retaining … protecting … and destroying their e-records. And each decision seems to lead to another question.
Join us on Aug. 6 for Electronic HR Records: Compliance/Best Practices Workshop.
In this interactive webinar, attorney and nationally recognized record-keeping expert Joe Beachboard, Esq., will examine today’s (and tomorrow’s) electronic record-keeping issues … providing practical advice on communicating your policies to managers.
Electronic HR Records: Compliance/Best Practices Workshop will cover:
1. Record Retention: What, Where and for How Long
- Retention policy changes needed due to the new Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act requirements
- The best methods for keeping records safe and secure
- Electronic I-9s: How to comply with the strict new federal rules on completing, signing and retaining
2. Enforceable Agreements: What’s Legal in the E-world
- Legal requirements when allowing individuals to complete applications online
- What counts as a “legal” electronic signature
- When can you change company policies via email
3. E-Discovery and Information Management
- What’s a “litigation hold” and when are you required to apply it to your electronic records disposal?
- The safest way to dispose of electronic HR records—and the questions to ask yourself before you do so
- How the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure should alter your policy for storing and deleting company emails
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- How to Write Meeting Minutes
- How are your soft skills?
- Do we have to release employee files in response to a subpoena?
- Silence pay-related complaints with wise words
- Beware the high price of foul language: Expensive trials before unsympathetic judges