ICE, ICE, Baby…Beware
One thousand companies across the country recently learned they won the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit lottery.
These businesses received notification of upcoming audits of their new-employees’ I-9 forms and their identification documents for proof of eligibility to work in the United States. ICE has launched a new series of worksite investigations to keep pressure on businesses to make sure they are hiring only people who can legally work in the U.S.
According to a recent article in the Associated Press:
The latest round of audits will differ slightly from previous ones. Agents previously were told to audit a certain number each of small, medium and large businesses, said Dawn Lurie, who advises businesses on immigration compliance.
But this time agents are being encouraged to investigate larger companies if that’s where tips and leads are pointing them. A new Employment Compliance Inspection Center in the Washington suburb of Crystal City, Va., means they’ll have more auditors and other resources for those larger investigations.
Audits are usually performed at the state in which a company is headquartered, but agents are being told they can audit other parts of the company if their records review shows there may be problems beyond the headquarters, Lurie said.
The article goes on to state that, in the last fiscal year (which ended Sept. 30, 2010), ICE performed 2,746 worksite investigations, which is more than double the number it did two years earlier. It also arrested 196 employers and fined employers nearly $7 million. In 2008 it issued fines of just $675,209.
With that kind of recent track record, we seriously doubt that these types of investigations will ease up any time soon. It’s important that all businesses have their paperwork in order and their guard up for any types of immigration issues that may pertain to their companies.
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