February 16, 2018

ICE, ICE, Baby

by Sharon DeLay, GO-HR

On January 10, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents successfully organized and raided nearly 100 7-Eleven stores throughout the nation as a “warning” to other companies that the current administration is serious about cracking down on illegal hiring.

While it may be easy to dismiss this as a “retail” issue, a May 2017 USA Today article noted that “arrests of undocumented immigrants are up 38 percent” over the same period last year. In many industries and geographical locations where there are more open positions than people to fill them (or willing to fill them), many business owners may be making desperate hiring decisions to keep their doors open.

Employers need to take steps to ensure they are making every effort to verify their new hires’ eligibility to work. This is a relatively simple process through the completion of the Form I-9 and verification of specific types of documents. This can also include the additional step of voluntary participation in the federal government’s E-Verify system. Employers who are not certain whether they accurately or thoroughly completed these forms can conduct a self-audit of their employees’ I-9s and make corrections or take appropriate steps to remediate problems.

There are approximately 44 areas on a Form I-9 that can be incorrect, so a careful review of the forms is critical, as penalties range from civil to criminal violations, which can begin at $110 per violation and end up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.