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ICE Reminds us of Continued Focus/Pressure on Worksite Enforcement

In a transcript released today of ICE Director John Morton’s testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security Hearing on The President’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for ICE, the message was clear….ICE intends to keep the pressure on employers with a continued focus on I-9 audits this year, as stated below in his statement concerning worksite enforcement:

“We are focused on smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws, including making sure that employers have the tools they need to maintain a legal workforce and face penalties if they knowingly violate the law.

Employment opportunities remain a primary motivation for aliens seeking illegal entry into the United States. By focusing on employers that are willing to hire illegal workers, we can eliminate the incentive that leads illegal aliens to violate our nation’s immigration laws. Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 6,468 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 521 companies and individuals, and imposed more than $76.4 million in financial sanctions. This focus will continue this coming fiscal year.

We have also established the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers program (IMAGE) — designed to promote voluntary compliance, educate employers about best practices and help companies train their employees to comply with the nation’s immigration-related employment laws. Last year, ICE entered into IMAGE agreements with well-known companies, including Chick-fil-A, Smoothie King, Best Western, Toyota, Tysons Food, and Kelly Services, among others. These companies agree to use E-Verify, conduct self-audits, and submit to an ICE audit. In FY 2013, ICE will continue to expand IMAGE outreach nationwide and provide regional and local IMAGE training conferences to increase voluntary compliance among key employers.”

This information should come as no surprise to our readership, who are very well informed.  We would, however, like to remind you that a good faith effort is the primary consideration by ICE when determining final penalties in their worksite audits and investigations. To establish a good faith effort, have an outside audit performed by an experienced professional to determine what problems you really have; correct your paperwork, get everyone properly trained; create a written SOP statement to get everyone on the same page and enlisted in the process of maintaining a compliant workforce; enrolling in E-Verify is also recommended.

We invite you to contact our firm regarding any compliance questions/issues that you have, 562 612.3996, or by email,  Check out our Employer Resource Center at, and our list of services and solutions.

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