Government statistics show a dramatic increase in enforcement of immigration-related workplace rules since 2009, including initiating a large number of employer audits and assessing millions of dollars in fines.
At the end of 2009, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency or ICE, which is the enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued audit notices to 1,000 businesses nationwide. Between April and November 2009, ICE initiated almost 1,900 prosecutions against employers for I-9 violations. This is more than three times the number of prosecutions in the same period in 2008.
In fiscal year 2012, ICE hit the following benchmarks relating to I-9 enforcement:
- There were 520 criminal arrests tied to worksite enforcement investigations, including 240 owners, managers, supervisors, or human resources professionals facing related charges such as harboring or knowingly hiring illegal aliens;
- There were 3,004 I-9 Notices served in companies nationwide;
- There were 495 Final Orders for I-9 related violations, totaling $12.47 million in civil fines.
To put this activity in perspective, in fiscal year 2007 the total number of I-9 Notices of Inspection was 250. Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 8,000 employers and imposed more than $87 million in fines.
Based on these statistics alone, the importance of proper I-9 record keeping cannot be stressed enough.
Remember that federal regulations call for employers to:
- Verify the identity and employment authorization of each person hired after Nov. 6, 1986.
- Complete and retain an I-9 for each employee required to complete the form.
If you have any questions about I-9 forms, regulations surrounding them and the proper method for verifying employee identities, the experts at BCN Services can help. Contact us at 800-891-9911.
Lisandra Quinones, HR Administrator