ICE Promises Employers More I-9 Audits
Important I-9 Audit Information Employer’s Must Know
1- The administration proposed budget for FY19 includes $47.5 billion for DHS for “strengthening border security, ensuring enforcement of immigration laws, and reforming the legal immigration system.”
2- The administration’s proposed $571 million to hire 2,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and $132 million for E-Verify;
3- The administration called on Congress to require all employers to use E-Verify to check new hires.
What’s Supposed to Happen in The Process?
Newly hired workers present employers with documents that verify their identity and right to work in the US, and the employee and their employer sign the I-9 form. Employers do not have to verify the authenticity of the documents presented by workers. ICE agents give employers three days to provide I-9 forms for all employees.
The California Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) requires employers to request warrants from ICE agents before allowing them to inspect I-9 forms. It also call for them to notify their employees of upcoming ICE audits and inform them of the outcomes of ICE audits.
Employers can be fined $2,000 to $10,000 a day for violations of AB 450.
Once ICE conducts an audit, the employer receives Notices of Suspect Documents informing them which workers appear to be unauthorized. Employers are then instructed to “take action” on suspect employees within 10 days, and firing them if they do not clear up discrepancies flagged by ICE.
Fines Will Be Issued
Employers may face fines from $216 – $2,126 for I-9 paperwork violations. They may also be fined $548 – $4,384 for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.
In addition, employers with a “practice” of hiring unauthorized workers face criminal penalties. Surprisingly, in 2017, ICE conducted 1,360 I-9 audits around the US, which led to 139 criminal arrests, 172 administrative arrests, and more than $100 million in fines.
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