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ICE Worksite Investigations Quadruple in Fiscal Year 2018 from 2017

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

According to a recent news release by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the fiscal year 2018 marked a substantial surge in criminal investigations, business audits and arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The release shows the amount of worksite investigations opened by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) essentially quadrupled over the course of a year, rising from 1,691 in fiscal year 2017 to an astonishing 6,848 in FY18. In addition, HSI initiated 5,981 I-9 audits, compared to just 1,360 in FY17.

This heightened enforcement reflects the Trump Administration’s promise to crackdown on undocumented labor. HSI Executive Associate Director Derek N. Benner is quoted in the release: “Reducing illegal employment helps build another layer of border security, and reduces the continuum of crime that illegal labor facilitates.”

Given the Administration’s dedication to increased worksite enforcement, it is crucial that U.S. employers are prepared for the possibility of ICE showing up at their door next. On September 27, 2018, my colleague Mason Ellis of the Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm posted a step-by-step of what to do if federal agents do come to your business to serve a notice of inspection, which informs the business that ICE will be auditing your hiring records to assure you are complying with federal immigration regulations.

To ensure compliance, all companies should establish written corporate immigration compliance plans, policies, and procedures based on ICE best practices. If your company has not yet established these plans, policies, and procedures, it is crucial to begin by training anyone involved in the hiring chain on proper administration of the Form I-9.

Our compliance training and webinars can be found HERE.


The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.

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