Consistent with the current upward trend in investigations by
the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS), in recent weeks at least 500 employers
nationwide have been ordered to submit their I-9 employment
eligibility forms and other documents for inspection. Although
there has not been a public announcement, it appears that ICE is
conducting a new round of audits as part of the
Administration's continued crackdown on employers that hire
illegal immigrants, and the number of companies inspected this year
is expected to increase. Administrative audits, which not only can
lead to significant fines and penalties, but also criminal charges
against a company and its officers and directors, continue to be
ICE's enforcement mechanism of choice. As a result, employers
should continue to expect these surges in audits several times a
Most recently, on May 1, 2012, a Washington state organic herb
farm pleaded guilty to felony offenses and was sentenced to $1
million in criminal fines and five years' probation for
harboring, concealing and shielding an illegal immigrant, and
encouraging and inducing an illegal immigrant to reside in the
United States. In addition, three top company executives each
pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense and each was sentenced to
one year's probation for aiding and abetting a pattern or
practice of employing illegal immigrants.
According to court documents, the company rehired illegal
immigrants after informing ICE Homeland Security Investigations
(HSI) that the farm had laid off all of its undocumented workers
following an HSI audit of the company's I-9 forms which brought
to light significant discrepancies. The company almost immediately
rehired as many as 25 of those workers for a secret night shift and
paid them in cash to hide their employment and conceal the crime
from law enforcement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
On March 8, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, bearing an edition date of March 8, 2013, for immediate use by employers.
A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, an 844-page bill that aims to bolster border security and seeks to provide some of the nation's 11 million undocumented people with a path to citizenship.