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Creating a “Culture of Compliance” Immigration Crackdown Shifts to Employers

The Associated Press recently reported that ICE is shifting its immigration enforcement efforts to employers by increasing the number of employer audits.

Look at these noteworthy statistics:

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) plans another surge this summer to push the total audits opened “well-over” 5,000 by September 30th, and plans to open as many as 15,000 audits a year going forward, according to that office’s director, Derek Benner.

The objective is to create a “reasonable expectation among employers that they will be audited,” Mr. Benner is reported to state.

“This is kind of our vision of creating this culture of compliance,” Mr. Benner said, adding, “I think it’s a game changer.”

Is your company ready?

Keep in mind the best audit defense is a good offense. Be ready. You will want to work with an I-9 attorney to perform an internal audit of your I-9’s.  Internal audits assess the status of an employer’s I-9’s and make corrections as needed.  Note that ICE gives favorable consideration to corrections made prior to receiving a subpoena. ICE interprets the regulations to allow a fine for each error on each form, and also to fine the company based on the percentage of I-9’s that have an error. Most employers have errors as the I-9 form must be completed precisely. Each error can result in heavy penalties — even if all hires were in fact authorized to work in the U.S.

Questions or Concerns About What To Do?

Peterson Russell Kelly PLLC noted the surge in February when a number of our clients received subpoenas within a couple weeks of each other.  Our experienced employment law and immigration/I-9 compliance attorneys are ready to help your business through an internal review of your I-9’s, as well as to assist you in the event of a government compliance action.

An experienced I-9 attorney will talk to you about your specific concerns, recommend a plan that is in line with your budget, and guide you through this assessment and correction process, before you are subject to the extra stress of a government audit and resulting expensive penalties.

Barbara A. Marcouiller | Peterson Russell Kelly PLLC
Of Counsel
10900 NE 4th Street, Suite 1850
Bellevue, WA  98004
d:  425.990.4030
f:   425.451.0319
bmarcouiller@PRKlaw.com | www.prklaw.com