Under the current administration, ICE has increased enforcement actions to levels never seen before. Federal immigration officials not only have a record number of immigrants locked up in detention facilities, the agency also has thousands more people in custody than Congress has budgeted for. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),
Increased ICE Worksite Investigations
In May 2018, less than seven months after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a directive calling for increased worksite enforcement investigations, the agency had already doubled. “From Oct. 1, 2017, through May 4, HSI opened 3,510 worksite investigations; initiated 2,282 I-9 audits; and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests, respectively. In comparison, for fiscal year 2017 – running October 2016 to September 2017 – HSI opened 1,716 worksite investigations; initiated 1,360 I-9 audits; and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests related to worksite enforcement.”
ICE workplace investigations involve auditing the employer’s Form I-9s, which are used to verify employees’ identity and authorization to work in the United States. Employers should review their fiels and quickly address forms that are found to be missing or inaccurate.
What to Expect in an Ice Audit
ICE will request 1099s, payroll records, and third-party no-match/mis-match notifications to confirm employers are performing the necessary due diligence to ensure their workforce is authorized. The law provides for not only civil and criminal penalties, but also the prospect of debarment from federal contracts and/or E-Verify.
As part of the increased immigration enforcement, ICE also targets employers that knowingly employ undocumented workers. As a result, employers must ensure that their hiring practices comply with all employment eligibility verification rules and that they have the required paperwork to document their compliance. Employers must also implement protocols that are uniformly applied to reduce their chances of being targeted for allegations of immigration-related employment discrimination.