U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently begun to intensify its Form I-9 enforcement activities. It has been reported that a flurry of Notice of Inspections (NOIs) have recently been sent to Santa Maria agricultural employers. The NOI results in an audit of the employer’s Form I-9s and often triggers the dismissal of a large percentage of the company’s falsely documented employees.
Employers that receive a NOI are given three days to prepare for a meeting with ICE agents during which the company's Form I-9 records for all current and recently terminated employees will be reviewed. In addition, employers may be asked to provide payroll records and other employee-related documentation.
In order to minimize their company's risk for administrative fines, employers should perform self-audits to ensure that their I-9 forms are properly completed prior to being served with a NOI. It is recommended that members retain outside counsel to review I-9 forms and properly correct errors on the Form I-9. Members served with a NOI are encouraged to call Western Growers’ Vice President and General Counsel, Jason Resnick, at (949) 885-2253.
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