In a press release issued today, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it is launching a bold new I-9 inspection program in order to promote employment eligibility compliance and ensure a legal workforce. As part of this new initiative, ICE issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 652 employers nationwide, which is more than they issued throughout all of last fiscal year. According to the press release, these employers were chosen for an audit based on investigative leads and other information. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigations, the names and addresses of the affected employers have not been released.
The new Assistant Secretary for ICE, John Morton, has made it clear that ICE is committed to worksite enforcement, and that employers should be held accountable for their hiring practices and procedures, which ultimately begin with the Form I-9. With increasing investigations on the rise, we’re also likely to see greater use of administrative fines and penalties, which can be costly to employers on a variety of fronts.
This new ICE initiative is clearly just one piece of the immigration and worksite enforcement puzzle, and it remains to be seen whether these audits will be confined to certain industries or will expand in scope. In the meantime, employers are strongly encouraged to review their current hiring practices and procedures, with a particular focus on completion and retention of the Form I-9. Tracker Corp has many freely available I-9 and E-Verify resources to get you started, while also introducing you to a more efficient and effective compliance tool.