As recently reported in the news, U.S. immigration agents raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores yesterday and arrested more than 20 people in the biggest crackdown on a company suspected of hiring undocumented workers since President Donald Trump took office.
Western Growers encourages members to always be prepared in the event that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes knocking at your door. This includes preparing for worksite enforcement and Form I-9 audits. Employers should be proactive to recognize and correct Form I-9 problems before a visit from ICE. Be sure to audit all Form I-9s to ensure they are completed fully and accurately. “Minor paperwork mistakes” or “technical errors” can result in costly penalties for employers. Employers must make appropriate corrections if they have identified mistakes on their Form I-9s.
It is important that employers perform internal audits on a regular basis and make corrections before receiving a Notice of Inspection from ICE. If employers wait to make corrections after ICE sends a “Notice of Inspection,” they will likely incur much steeper fines and penalties, up to $1,100 for each I-9 or employee for even “minor” technical violations. Fines are significantly higher for more substantive I-9 violations (e.g., missing work authorization information, missing I-9’s, etc.); and up to $16,000 for knowingly employing unauthorized workers.
Correcting Form I-9’s incorrectly can result in additional penalties, so members should consult legal counsel, or at a minimum have staff specifically trained on how to properly correct I-9’s, before making corrections.
In addition to I-9 audits, members should be prepared and help prepare their workforces for ICE workplace raids. Members are encouraged to review instructions for What to Do during an ICE Visit and, How to Be Prepared for an Immigration Raid (English). A Spanish version of this document is also available.
California employers are encouraged to review New Immigrant Worker Protection Act Now in Effect, which covers AB 450 that went into effect on January 1, 2018. AB 450 prohibits employers from voluntary consenting to ICE access to the worksite without a judicial warrant, requires employers to provide their workers with notice of certain immigration enforcement actions, and imposes new statutory penalties for violations of the law, among other things.
Last March Western Growers hosted a webinar covering “What to Do during an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Visit.” The webinar covered key topics including:
- How to Prepare BEFORE ICE Comes Knocking
- Understanding the Difference Between a RAID and an AUDIT
- Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities of Key Team Members
- The DO's and DON'Ts of an ICE Visit
For more information, contact Jason Resnick. Members who are contacted by ICE are encouraged to immediately notify Resnick.
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