Worksite Enforcement and I-9 Compliance

To demonstrate to the public that it is enforcing US immigration laws (including the Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA)), US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting an increasing number of worksite enforcement actions.

ICE is targeting large employers — particularly those that can draw a lot of media attention. Employers which are not I-9 compliant as well as those which employ undocumented workers, are being charged, under federal civil and criminal statutes for such offenses as harboring, shielding employees, and suborning perjury.

Employers (including their corporate officers, executives and managers) are facing multi-million dollar fines and imprisonment. In addition to ICE’s efforts and in the absence of federal comprehensive immigration reform, state legislatures and local governments are tackling issues on their own by passing a variety of laws focused on employment eligibility verification requirements on both the employer and employee level. Several enactments also focus on employment eligibility verification concerning unemployment benefits and workers compensation.

In response to the increased attention to worksite compliance, employers should:

  1. Be prepared to handle an ICE worksite enforcement action and understand its dynamics;
  2. Understand the proposed “Safe Harbor” No-Match Regulation and what it means to have constructive knowledge of unauthorized employment;
  3. Conduct regular internal I-9 audits and training and be able to spot issues and fraudulent documents and identify corporate exposure; and
  4. Review company immigration corporate compliance programs including Sarbanes-Oxley considerations at the worksite, corporate due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, subcontractor liability, and the pros and cons of registering for E-verify.

Our law firm regularly conducts I-9 audits and training as well as client workshops and seminars on the topics described above. For further information, please contact our office.