This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants employers to understand that, going forward, the agency will increase Form I-9 audits, conduct more worksite raids and promote involvement in the government's voluntary compliance program.
ICE agents conducted workplace raids on 77 businesses in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose Feb. 2. Earlier in January, nearly 100 7-Eleven stores were targeted in the largest workplace immigration enforcement operation conducted under President Donald Trump. Many immigration experts have been preparing employers to expect an increase in worksite enforcement since the Trump administration came into office. The agency's focus is not unexpected, said Maria del Carmen Ramos, a partner in the Tampa, Fla., office of law firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick. With no pending bills to address unauthorized immigration in Congress, it is unsurprising that worksite enforcement would be the administration's next step to abate it, she said.
[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]
ICE audited 1,360 organizations in 2017, resulting in 71 indictments and 55 convictions of business owners and managers. I-9 audits had fallen sharply after 2013, when President Barack Obama's administration shifted its focus to deporting undocumented people with criminal records, Ramos said.
ICE's statement highlighted the resolution in 2017 of a case against Asplundh Tree Experts Co., said Bruce Buchanan, a founding partner at Sebelist Buchanan Law with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Atlanta, and the co-author of The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook (Alan House Publishing, 2017).
Asplundh is a tree trimming and brush clearing company headquartered in Willow Grove, Pa. According to court documents, from 2010 until December 2014, the company hired and rehired employees across the United States by accepting identification documents it knew to be fraudulent.
"This case revealed a scheme to unlawfully employ undocumented workers, in which the highest levels of Asplundh management remained willfully blind while lower-level managers hired and rehired employees they knew to be ineligible to work in the United States," Buchanan said. "The company pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a monetary forfeiture judgment in the amount of $80 million—the largest judgment ever handed down in a worksite immigration enforcement investigation."
The company agreed to pay an additional $15 million to satisfy civil claims arising out of its failure to comply with immigration law, for a total cost of $95 million.
Civil penalties for knowingly employing unauthorized immigrants can range from $539 to $21,563. "Repeat offenders and companies hiring a larger number of undocumented employees receive fines on the higher end of the range," Ramos said.
In addition, Form I-9 paperwork violations carry a penalty of $216 to $2,156 per worker. "The easiest way for employers to avoid potential fines is to make sure they are complying with their I-9 obligations—before they get audited," Ramos said. "Employers should also consider conducting a self-audit to minimize the potential for fines."
Things to consider when conducting an I-9 self-audit, according to Ramos, include:
The ICE statement also promoted its ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) voluntary compliance program, in which organizations can be certified by the agency for complying with the law. As part of the program, ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provide education and training on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system. Employers also learn about the importance of avoiding discrimination based on immigration status or national origin during the hiring process.
After first completing a self-assessment questionnaire, participating employers must enroll in the E-Verify program, establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy and submit to a companywide Form I-9 audit.
If looking for another resource, the Council for Global Immigration, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management, has produced this e-learning course covering employment eligibility laws and regulations, Form I-9 requirements and the E-Verify system, including how to handle typical case results. It includes real-life scenarios and activities, which will prepare users to effectively manage the employment verification process.
Was this article useful? SHRM offers thousands of tools, templates and other exclusive member benefits, including compliance updates, sample policies, HR expert advice, education discounts, a growing online member community and much more. Join/Renew Now and let SHRM help you work smarter.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Guide to Screening Candidates
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies