Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ordered the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit to “quadruple to quintuple” the current number of routine workplace investigations of U.S. employers in the coming year. While the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement efforts have thus far mostly focused on undocumented individuals, the goal of ICE’s new strategy is to target employers. In particular, these workplace investigations will focus on audits of employers Employment Eligibility Verification, Forms I-9 and other employment records to determine fvisa whether employees (be they U.S. citizens or foreign nationals) are lawfully work authorized.
ICE to Quadruple Workplace Raids in 2018
ICE’s plan to ramp up worksite investigations increases the risk of significant civil penalties and possible criminal prosecution for employers who fail to comply with U.S. employment laws. Additionally, business owners, executives, and Human Resources staff may personally face increased risk for simple Form I-9 “paperwork” errors.
All U.S. employers must complete a Form I-9 for all of their employees in order to verify their identity and work authorization. An employer who fails to properlycomplete and retain a Form I-9 for each and every employee, faces fines and penalties ranging from $539 to $2,156 for each paperwork violation. Therefore, employers should take this opportunity to evaluate their current I-9 policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with the latest I-9 and E-Verify rules. In particular, employers should:
- With skilled legal advice, review the most recent I-9 policies and procedures. To reduce errors and inaccuracies on the form, this comprises a rigorous study of all staff compliance practices;
- Create official I-9 and E-Verify protocols for identifying, avoiding, and enhancing I-9 compliance. Keeping an employee’s Form I-9 distinct from other personnel files and keeping current employees from dismissed employees apart, for instance;
- Mitigate past I-9s with skilled counsel to lessen the impact of any technical or procedural problems on the forms and help you avoid fines and penalties. Only a few I-9 flaws are remediable, however remediation must be done correctly to avoid aggravating the flaw;
- Develop, implement, and maintain compliance policies for worksite raids and for managing CE Fraud Detection & National Security (FDNS) visits for nonimmigrant visa employees.