Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has always had the authority to request and review the Forms I-9 for any employer. ICE audits quadrupled in 2018 over the previous year, and the agency stated it “is carrying out its commitment to increase the number of I-9 audits in an effort to create a culture of compliance among employers.” Employers in Seattle are now feeling the effect of this commitment with a local increase in subpoenas and Notices of Inspection from ICE.
Most errors do not involve falsifying forms or hiring unauthorized workers. Employers simply make mistakes when completing the form on the employee’s start date. Those mistakes are what can lead to significant civil penalties, often in the form of expensive fines. During its audit, ICE will identify both technical failures and substantive failures. Even the act of correcting a mistake can lead to a separate “failure” if not done properly.
When you receive a Notice of Inspection and subpoena, there are a few fast steps you can take to comply with ICE and minimize your exposure to civil and/or criminal penalties.
Three days is not a lot of time to comply with a government request, but an experienced immigration attorney can guide you through the audit process to save your company a significant amount of time and money.
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