According to the Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has served notices on 1,000 companies that it will audit those company’s I-9s to verify the immigration status of the company’s workforce. WSJ claims that this would be the biggest ICE I-9 audit operation to take place since 2009.
This news comes almost a month from when ICE announced that it would open a new employment compliance inspection center in order to assist regional ICE offices with auditing company’s I-9s. ICE changed its enforcement strategy under the Obama administration to focus on “silent” immigration raids through auditing company’s I-9s instead of widely publicized raids where ICE rounded up all employees suspected to be undocumented.
WSJ article claims that “experts” say that audits are a more effective work-site immigration enforcement strategy because it forces companies to dismiss all employees suspected of being undocumented, not just the workers that happen to be present at work the date that the raid took place. The article also claims that employers are less likely to hire undocumented workers to replace the undocumented workers they dismissed after an ICE I-9 audit.
Corporate Immigration Attorney’s Take:
News is leaked that ICE will be ramping up efforts to audit company’s I-9s approximately a month after it announced the creation of the employment compliance inspection center. Is this a surprise to anyone? It shouldn’t be.
The Obama administration is dead serious about immigration enforcement. It is convinced that auditing company’s I-9s is the most efficient way of enforcing immigration law.
With the creation of the employment compliance inspection center, employers can expect that the number ICE work-site immigration enforcement to increase substantially in 2011. Is your company prepared?
The best way for a company to defend itself is to develop immigration plans, policies, and procedures when it comes to its hiring practices. Companies should also train its employees how to complete I-9s properly and it should also conduct annual I-9 audits.
Corporate Immigration Attorney