The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues Notices of Inspection to employers across the United States, to notify them that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will perform an audit of their Forms I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). DHS recently issued its newest batch of notices to 1,000 employers.
Latest Round of I-9 Audits Come From HSI
We have noticed that the latest round of I-9 audits are being issued by HSI. The Notices of Inspection (NOI) identify HSI as the investigator, where, previously, all of the Notices were issued by ICE.
HSI stands for Homeland Security Investigations
HSI is a division of ICE responsible for worksite enforcement. The division’s primary responsibility is to conduct criminal investigations against U.S. businesses. In our recent experience, this suggests that the more audits are based on preliminary investigations into the business. HSI seems to be responsible for conducting those investigations before they issue Notices of Inspection and begin their Form I-9 audit.
HSI/ICE has Increased Worksite Enforcement
Since 2009, DHS has increased worksite enforcement through NOI’s and subsequent Form I-9 audits. ICE’s plan for increased enforcement was explained in a worksite enforcement memo and has since been reiterated in ICE’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010-2014. In 2012, HSI served 3,004 Notices of Inspection and 495 Final Orders, totaling $12,475,575.00 in administrative fines.
What does this mean for Employers?
For employers this means that there may be more emphasis on investigations and laying the foundation for investigations and fines before an audit is underway. By doing this, ICE expects employers to pay closer attention to corporate immigration compliance issues.
What Should Employers Do?
Learn how to prepare for an ICE/HSI I-9 audit before you are served with a Notice of Inspection and undergo a Form I-9 audit.
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The Mdivani Law Firm
Corporate Immigration Compliance Training: Form I-9 Training