The federal government is increasingly cracking down on employers who fail to verify employment eligibility, as required by law.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audited more companies for illegal immigrants in 2012 than ever before. Audits of employer I-9 forms increased to more than 3,000 in 2012 from 250 in 2007.
ICE also continues to collect more fines and penalties. From 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew from $1,000,000 to nearly $13,000,000.
ICE audits are expected to grow; immigration enforcement efforts focused on employers are one of the agency’s top priorities. Employers are required by law to verify the employee eligibility of all hires and complete a Form I-9.
ICE agents can conduct audits and can compel employers to produce I-9 forms so the forms can be inspected for compliance. Employers determined to have knowingly hired or continuing to employ unauthorized workers will be required to cease unlawful activity, may be fined and, in certain situations, may be prosecuted.
For information on complying with Form I-9 requirements, sign-up for HR That Works.
Author: Gail Cecchettini Whaley
HR Watchdog, HRCalifornia’s Employment Law Blog, © California Chamber of Commerce