February 10, 2017

Members Should Prepare for Increased ICE Audits & Raids

As previously reported in Spotlight, President Trump issued a number of immigration related executive orders (EO), including the “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” EO which focuses on interior immigration enforcement.

Members should begin preparing for increased worksite enforcement and renewed emphasis on Form I-9 audits. This means that employers should be proactive to recognize and correct Form I-9 problems before ICE comes knocking on the door. Now is the time 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 United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“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.

Members may wish to distribute the Know Your Rights pamphlet, also available in English and Spanish.

For more information, contact Jason Resnick. Members who are contacted by ICE are encouraged to immediately notify Resnick.