How does ICE prove I “knowingly hired” unauthorized workers?
ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the largest enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is on the hunt for all organizations hiring unauthorized workers. Monetary fines for knowingly hiring and/or continuing to employee a single unauthorized worker range from $375 to $16,000 per violation. Fines for missing I-9 Forms for each employee can range from $1,100 to $3,300 per violation. How does ICE determine if you have “knowingly hired” an unauthorized employee? The first place they check is for “expired documents.”
How sure can you be that every one of your I-9 Forms is not missing or does not have an expired document? The truth is that it’s just not worth it to wait and find out the hard way. The best approach is to have all of your organization’s I-9 Forms audited by a third party professional immigration auditing firm.
In June 2011, ICE issued 1,000 more Notice of Inspections (NOIs) to companies throughout the US. If an employer receives a NOI, they will have 72 hours (3 days) to submit all of their I-9 Forms and supporting documents for inspection. Fines have spiraled from $32,000 in 2003 to over $32 Million in 2010. In addition, ICE is imprisoning managers, supervisors, owners, and chief executive officers for up to 6 months for these violations and seizing some owner’s properties.
The next question often asked is, “What will ICE want to inspect, in addition to my I-9 Forms?” Depending on the agent, ICE generally requests any or all of the following:
- I-9 Forms for all current employees.
- I-9 Forms for all terminated employees for the previous 12 months.
- Employee roster or payroll report for all persons currently employed.
- Employee roster or payroll report for all persons employed for the previous 12 months.
- Monthly payroll reports with wage detail for the previous 12 months.
- 4 most recent unemployment quarterly tax reports and wage detail reports.
- Copies of the 4 most recent quarterly tax statements.
- Copies of all 1099 Forms filed for the previous year.
- Copy of Articles of Incorporation, business license, and most recent annual report.
- Employer Identification Number.
- Names of all temporary staffing agencies used in the past 12 months.
What does this mean to you? You need to get your I-9 Forms audited preemptively, by a third party provider, such as Form I-9 Auditing, LLC. Our processing unit, Form I-9 Compliance, LLC was the first federally approved “Designated Agent” for E-Verify. In fact, we were the beta test site for the E-Verify program. Who better to trust than the ones who helped to design it? Plus Form I-9 Auditing has former DHS Agents and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Agents, on our staff, who conduct your I-9 audits for you. They know what to look out for, so you can be sure you’re building your company on a solid foundation instead of quicksand.
BE PART OF THE I-9 AUDITING CYCLE!