An internal memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been released, which highlights the agency’s new worksite enforcement directive against employers and emphasizes the importance of the Form I-9 Audit. The memo, which is stamped April 30, 2009, had been alluded to in a Worksite Enforcement Fact Sheet posted online as well as the infamous “Bold New I-9 Inspection Program” press release issued by ICE chief, John Morton in July when 652 notices were sent to employers nationwide.
Here’s a brief summary of the four-page memo, which is provided in its entirety below.
- ICE will prioritize the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. This includes owners, corporate managers, supervisors and others in the management structure.
- ICE should use all available investigative methods including use of confidential sources and cooperating witnesses, undercover agents, intercepts, and Form I-9 audits.
- The most important administrative tool is the Notice of Inspection (NOI) and the resulting Form I-9 audit. It will be used in both criminal and administrative investigations.
- Civil fines will be used as a penalty when the evidence does not support a criminal prosecution or as otherwise appropriate.
- ICE should use debarment (which precludes companies who have knowingly hired undocumented workers from securing work on federal contracts) to maximize the deterrent effect.
- ICE will initiate audits, searches, and other enforcement operations at critical infrastructure and national security sites.
- All worksite investigations must provide 14-day notice to ICE headquarters in advance of developing or executing enforcement activity.