Immigration Enforcement Continues To Target Employers, Part 1


Complying with U.S. immigration laws (both at the federal and state level) should be at the top of every employer's 2011 "To Do" list. Not only are you required to comply with the federal employment verification requirements for your employees, but in many states you are required to take additional steps to ensure that your employees are authorized to work. If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, you have additional verification requirements.

The federal government has also been active ramping up enforcement actions (primarily through audits and investigations), issuing new rules, and implementing outreach programs designed to encourage employees to report abuses in the employment verification process and in their terms and conditions of employment.

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) is busy conducting I-9 form audits and liberally assessing fines for non-compliance of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division is aggressively investigating compliance with the requirements of the H-1B temporary worker program and requiring payment of back wages, interest and civil money penalties for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act. There is no better time to review your immigration-related practices and policies and take steps to protect your company and your employees.

What follows is an overview of the federal law, focusing mainly on I-9 requirements and penalties for non-compliance. In future issues we'll take a look at other aspects of this complex area of the law.

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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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