On November 3, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that business owners Paul and Barbara Love (“Paul,” “Barbara,” or “the Loves”) were charged with harboring undocumented workers, improper use of Social Security numbers, and making false statements on immigration forms (Form I-9). Paul and Barbara operated Love Irrigation, a lawn irrigation and landscaping company, located in Ridgeland, Mississippi.
ICE claims that Love Irrigation employed unauthorized workers from 2003-2010. It appears from the press release that ICE believes the Loves knew a portion of their workforce was on authorized at the time they completed Form I-9 on the workers and that those workers provided the Loves with fake social security numbers. ICE reports that Paul faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in and a maximum fine of $1.25 million while Barbara faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1.75 million.
Corporate Immigration Attorney’s Take: ICE expects that immigration compliance must be a priority for all businesses. This includes completing Form I-9 correctly. It appears from the press release that a good portion of the evidence that ICE used to prove charges against the Loves was found on the face of Love Irrigation’s I-9s themselves.
ICE does not view Form I-9 as just another form. It is viewed as sworn affidavit signed by the employer under penalty of perjury. This is why it is vital for employers to be trained how to properly complete Form I-9 as well as adopt written immigration compliance plans, policies, and procedures so that their business is compliant with immigration law.
Pat Mack Corporate Immigration Attorney Recommended Training