Get Your Form I-9 House In Order And Consider Using E-Verify in 2014


The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently enhanced its worksite enforcement activities, under a directive from former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to shift enforcement to employers to deter illegal employment. As a result, the number of Form I-9 audits for employers conducted by ICE, along with civil and criminal fines for Form I-9 violations, have increased significantly.  In the last fiscal year, monetary fines increased to $12.4 million, compared to $10.4 million the prior year.  Employers should prepare for random ICE I-9 audits by conducting internal I-9 audits on an annual or semi-annual basis.  Corrections to the Form I-9 should be carefully made under the guidance of a Form I-9 expert.  Otherwise, if corrections to the Form I-9 are not completed in accordance with ICE guidelines, an internal audit could lead to increased liability for the employer.  In addition to an internal I-9 audit, employers should also consider E-Verify.  Although Comprehensive Immigration Reform did not pass last year, advocates are still pushing for changes in immigration law in 2014.  One proposal is to make E-Verify mandatory.  Although E-Verify is still voluntary in most states (e.g., Illinois) for employers who are not federal contractors, employers should consider the benefit of using E-Verify now, such as having a new hire’s information verified by both the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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