Forsch Polymer, a small, Colorado based company, is a strong warning to companies that no company, nor case, is too small for ICE to prosecute. When ICE issued a Notice of Inspection (NOI) to Forsch Polymer, Corp “Forsch” asking for their I-9 forms, Forsch only produced 12 completed I-9s. ICE subsequently charged Forsch with 11 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) violations, totaling a fine of $11, 827.75. Among the violations were failing to properly compete the sections of the I-9, and failing to complete a form I-9 on an employee.
Upon OCAHO’s review they found that three of the ten employees involved the failure to complete an I-9 within three days of hire, which were ruled technical violations that required ICE to provide notice and an opportunity for Forsch to correct their errors. Since ICE erred and failed to give Forsch the opportunity, OCAHO dismissed those allegations.
ICE determined the base fine was $935 per violations. Taking into consideration the seriousness of the violations, the lack of good faith, and Forsch employing four unauthorized aliens, ICE aggravated the penalties by 15% each. At the end of the day, OCAHO reduced the fines to $500 for five I-9s and $700 for 3 I-9s, totalling $4,600.
While taking the case to OCAHO can result in the employer obtaining a large reduction in penalty amounts, it does not come without its costs. Taking a case to OCAHO can be both costly (legal fees) and time consuming for the employer. To avoid these costs and headaches, the employer should regularly perform internal I-9 audits and training to ensure employee I-9s are in compliance with IRCA and are well prepared for a potential visit from ICE.
The OCAHO decision can be found here.
Corporate Immigration Attorney
THE MDIVANI LAW FIRM, LLC
7007 College Blvd., Suite 460
Overland Park, KS 66211