I-9 Compliance for Employers

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act ("IRCA") of 1986, all employers are required to verify the identity and work authorization of all individuals hired after November 6, 1986. In order to comply, employers must review acceptable I-9 identity and employment eligibility documents for each employee and complete Form I-9. 

In the past, I-9 enforcement focused on civil fines and penalties. Rather than administrative fines and penalties, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") now aggressively pursues criminal enforcement. Employers who do not comply with IRCA and are found to have unauthorized workers are now often charged with felony criminal violations including knowingly making false statements on Form I-9, conspiracy to knowingly hire illegal aliens, conspiracy to encourage or induce unauthorized aliens to remain in the United States, evasion of federal employment taxes, mail fraud, wire fraud, document fraud, money laundering and alien harboring. 

ICE and the Obama Administration have publicly stated that they will continue to aggressively pursue employers who violate immigration regulations. ICE's budget for worksite enforcement continues to steadily increase. Audits and investigations increase with each new allocation. As a result, it is more important than ever for employers to have a comprehensive I-9 compliance program that addresses I-9 completion, re-verification, training, non-discrimination and audits. 

Reviewing the many criminal enforcement actions brought in the last three years, one can identify a number of factors that suggest a company may be at risk:

By establishing and maintaining effective corporate policies and procedures, many of these risk factors can be addressed. It is critical for employers to work with experienced immigration counsel to guide them through this complicated and ever-changing area of law.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need help with an Immigration question please call us at 214 432 2499 or email your query at info@seemamehtalawfirm.com