ICE Comes Knocking - Are You Ready?

Published 02/18/2020
There is no government agency that stirs up more controversy then the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Everyone probably hates theIRS, but it's more of a resigned dislike.
In the aftermath of 9/11, in March 2003, the Homeland Security Act set into motion what would be the single-largest government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense. One of the agencies in the new Department of Homeland Security was the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, now known as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
ICE now has more than 20,000 law enforcement and support personnel in more than 400 offices in the United States and around the world. The agency has an annual budget of approximately $6 billion, primarily devoted to three operational directorates – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA). A fourth directorate – Management and Administration – supports the three operational branches to advance the ICE mission.
You, as a business, are undoubtedly doing everything you can to comply with the ever-changing ICE directives. One such requirement is the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). This is “used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.” All employers in the United States are required to implement procedures for the use of Form I-9 to ensure its proper completion for each individual that is hired for employment in the United States—citizens and noncitizens alike.
Failure to properly complete, retain, and store Form I-9 may have significant implications on employers from civil penalties to criminal prosecution depending on the severity of the underlying Form I-9 issues raised following a Department of Homeland Security random inspection, audit, or worksite raid.
The long-awaited revised Form I-9 went into effect on January 31, 2020. USCIS will permit employers to continue using the prior version of the form until April 30, 2020. This will provide employers additional times to make the necessary updates and adjust business processes as needed.
To see what changes have been made to the Form I-9, Click Here.
To download the revised Form I-9, Click Here.
Although the Form I-9 changes are minor, it is still important to be in compliance. Should your workplace be subject to an ICE inspection, When technical or procedural violations are found, pursuant to INA §274A(b)(6)(B) (8 U.S.C. § 1324a(b)(6)(B)), an employer is given ten business days to make corrections. An employer may receive a monetary fine for all substantive and uncorrected technical violations. Employers determined to have knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers under INA § 274A(a)(1)(a) or (a)(2) (8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(a) or (a)(2)) will be required to cease the unlawful activity, may be fined, and in certain situations may be criminally prosecuted. Additionally, an employer found to have knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers may be subject to debarment by ICE, meaning that the employer will be prevented from participating in future federal contracts and from receiving other government benefits.
Monetary penalties for knowingly hire and continuing to employ violations range from $573 to $20,130 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties, at the higher end. Penalties for substantive violations, which includes failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $230 to $2,292 per violation. In determining penalty amounts, ICE considers five factors: the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations.
If all of this sounds serious, and a little daunting, you are correct. It is serious, and the ramifications of non-compliance can be devastating to your business.
However, there is good news. With ASN, you no longer have to worry about it. We take all the compliance responsibility off your shoulders. It's our job to be on top of it, and rest assured, we are. Every employee we send out is fully and properly verified. Let us worry about ICE, and you can focus on your business. If you have any questions, please give us a call. We would love to talk with you.