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ICE Releases New Fact Sheet on the I-9 Inspection Process

Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying GlassWe have written many articles over the years on what happens when ICE serves an employer with a Notice of Inspection (NOI); see below for links to our articles and resources.  Today, ICE released a new Fact Sheet that referrences the  IRCA law in the 1st paragraph, and then summarizes the order in which an ICE administrative inspection proceeds, the types of notices that are issued following an I-9 ICE audit, how fines are determined based upon knowingly hiring and continuing to employ violations, to substantive and uncorrected techical violations, and how these fines and penalties are calculated.

The penalties for ignoring the legal requirements of the I-9 process can be quite severe, even in cases of unintentional omissions and uncorrected I-9 mistakes. Civil penalties for such errors may range from $110 to $1,100 for each effected employee. A business with thousands of employees and multiple worksites may face a significant financial burden in noncompliance penalties. The fines may be further increased if ICE determines that an employer knowingly hired unauthorized foreign nationals, and can range from $375 to $16,000 per violation with repeat offenders on the high end. Employers and their representatives convicted of having engaged in a pattern or practice of knowingly hiring unauthorized foreign nationals, may also face criminal charges and fines of up to $3,000 per employee and/or six months’ imprisonment. Other federal criminal statues may provide higher penalties in certain fraud cases.

Employers and individuals who commit citizenship status or national origin discrimination may be ordered to pay civil fines and attorneys’ fees. The penalties range from $375 to $3,200 for the first offense for each individual discriminated against; from $3,200 to $6,500 for the second offense; and for subsequent offenses, not less than $4,300 and not more than $16,000 for each person effected.

The trend toward increased scrutiny of immigration employment practices will likely continue in the foreseeable future. With immigration reform still uncertain, ICE continues to step up enforcement activities with a deluge of NOI’s to employers every few months.  These recent developments have made it even more critical that employers maintain a strong immigration compliance profile.  Employers can no longer afford to think that because they don’t hire foreign nationals, they don’t have any I-9 issues or need to comply with I-9 immigration regulations.

The key to I-9 compliance for most organizations starts with a thorough self-examination of existing paper I-9’s, E-Verify submissions (if applicable), standard operating procedures, and past practices. While there are many checklists and do-it-yourself guides, free webinars and Podcasts available on the Internet and elsewhere, consulting an experienced immigration consultant or attorney in the practice area can save employers hours of research, provide a solution tailored to your organization and save you thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.

You should strongly consider an independent I-9 audit if…

  1. You’ve had a turnover in the HR position(s) charged with the responsibility of handling and processing I-9 Forms
  2. None of the staff charged with the I-9 process has been formally trained
  3. You already know that you have I-9 document violations, errors and unintentional mistakes
  4. You have recently gone through a corporate reorganization, merger or acquisition
  5. You know you have an on-boarding process that is complex, such as multiple jobsite locations where the I-9 process takes place
  6. When you haven’t documented your I-9 Form policies and procedures in a policy statement or procedures manual
  7. If you have a large volume of foreign worker I-9 forms
  8. If you do not have a calendar system for re-verification or terminated employee retention
  9. If you do not have a centralized I-9 recordkeeping process
  10. If you are photocopying documents presented during the I-9 process for some and not for others
  11. You participate in government contracts and have been asked to perform an I-9 audit
  12. You have not performed a random or full audit within the last year by either an internal individual who is familiar with I-9 compliance rules but does not deal with I-9s on a regular basis, or by a reputable independent I-9 auditor.
  13. You’ve never performed a self-audit or had any outside provider perform an I-9 audit
  14. You do not know how to make corrections to the I-9 form
  15. You’ve received SSA No Match Letters
  16. Your industry is being targeted by ICE
  17. You’re unaware that a new I-9 form was released and do not have a process in place for staying current with regulations and procedures

Immigration Compliance Group regularly represents clients from all industries to develop effective I-9 policies and compliance programs.  By establishing and maintaining effective corporate policies and procedures, many of the above-mentioned warning signs can be addressed proactively in an audit before the government does one for you.

New ICE Fact Sheet – Our Employer Resource Center Articles






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