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ICE’s Worksite Enforcement Strategy Could Affect Your Company

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On July 24, 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the results of a two-phase nationwide operation in which it served Form I-9 Notices of Inspection (NOI’s) (i.e. audit notices) on more than 5,200 U.S. businesses. During the first phase of ICE’s operation, from January 29–March 30, 2018, it served 2,540 NOI’s on businesses and made 61 arrests. During the second phase, which ran from July 16–20, 2018, ICE served 2,738 NOI’s and made 32 arrests.  
Overall, from October 1, 2017 – July 20, 2018, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened 6,093 worksite investigations and made 675 criminal and 984 administrative worksite-related arrests. According to Acting Executive Associate Director for HSI, Derek N. Benner, the increase in I-9 audits is an effort to create a culture of compliance among employers. In this age of “Extreme Vetting,” we are seeing more site visits around H and L visa applications.
In our January 11, 2018, bLAWg post, we discussed ICE’s comprehensive worksite enforcement strategy, which was designed to target employers who violate employment laws. ICE’s strategy involves a three-prong approach to conducting worksite enforcement:
Compliance through Form I-9 audits, civil fines, and debarment referrals;
Enforcement through arresting employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers; and
Outreach through ICE’s IMAGE program, which aims to instill a culture of compliance and accountability.
With this recent wave of I-9 audits by ICE, it is clear that the worksite enforcement strategy is coming to fruition. Employers need to be proactive in their approach to compliance, before ICE comes knocking. A written compliance policy is more important than ever in helping to protect you from potential liability. Think you need assistance? GoffWilson is here to help, as our firm offers I-9 audit and compliance services, including personalized private training. Contact our office today for more information.

Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance, Immigration Law, Notice of Inspection, Worksite Enforcement