Does Your Automated I-9 System Comply with ICE Regulations?

By Dave Zielinski May 1, 2011
In August 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) completed a new ruling regarding the electronic signing and storage of I-9 forms. According to immigration attorney Mira Mdivani of the Mdivani Law Firm, HR professionals adopting automated I-9 systems would be wise to ensure that the systems include the following features to avoid potentially costly fines or other penalties in the event of an ICE audit:
  • Retrieval systems with indexing functions that permit searches consistent with ICE requirements for accessibility and storage.
  • Clear audit trails that detail when I-9s are created, completed, updated, modified or corrected.
  • Assurance that when electronic records are created, completed or updated, there is a secure and permanent record created that establishes the date of access, the identity of the individual who accessed electronic records and a history of the action taken.
  • Proof that the system can easily produce I-9 paper copies, including batch and individual copies, as well as supporting documents.

In effect, the ICE ruling tells employers to “select an electronic I-9 system at your own risk,” Mdivani says. “ ‘Choose the system you want, but if we don’t think it complies with our new requirements, you may be in violation.’ And there is no process in place where you can have ICE assess your system before purchasing it and have them tell you whether it is in compliance.”

In other words, it’s up to HR leaders and their legal advisors to ensure that electronic systems comply with rigorous ICE regulations.

The author is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis.


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