• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Get your I-9s in order: ICE launches new audit campaign

Get PDF file

by on
in Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Management,Records Retention

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.

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.

Leave a Comment