Immigration policies: Keep I-9s in order to avoid serious liability

| Print |  Email
Thursday, March 01, 2007

With increasing frequency, the media is reporting on the enforcement activities of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These enforcement activities have included the indictment, arrest and conviction of employers for “harboring illegal aliens” or for “knowingly accepting fraudulent documents” from persons not eligible to work in the United States. Other enforcement activities have been directed at locating and prosecuting illegal immigrants. All of this means business disruptions for employers.

Just last month six facilities in six states — Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Utah — owned by Swift & Company, one of the nation’s largest processors of fresh beef and pork, were served with civil search warrants. The result? The shutdown of production for Swift and the arrest of 1,282 illegal workers on administrative immigration violations, including 65 people also charged with criminal offenses related to identity theft or other violations.

Why the increased enforcement? Matthew C. Allen, of the ICE, testified last July before a Congressional subcommittee that, “Criminally charging employers who hire undocumented aliens will create the kind of deterrence that previous enforcement efforts did not generate. We are also identifying and seizing the assets that employers derive from knowingly employing illegal workers, in order to remove the financial incentive to hire unauthorized workers and to pay them substandard wages.”

Today, an employer must be vigilant in its review of documents presented by employees to establish both their identity and eligibility to work in the United States. To reduce the possibility of criminal or civil liability for hiring unauthorized workers, an employer should:

  1. CAREFULLY REVIEW how to complete the employment eligibility verification form (I-9).

  2. ANNUALLY AUDIT all I-9 forms to ensure compliance with the law.

  3. CORRECT ANY I-9 FORMS found to contain errors during the annual audit.

  4. TAKE PROMPT ACTION if a “no-match” letter is received from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Do not assume that the employee does not have work authorization. Do not immediately terminate the employee. Do give the employee a reasonable time to correct no-match problems by giving him notice and advising him to contact the local SSA office.

Remember, an employer is obligated to make I-9 forms available for inspection when requested by an authorized officer of the DHS or the Department of Labor with at least three days’ advance notice. No subpoena or warrant is necessary. The inspection and review must take place at the employer’s location where the I-9 forms are maintained.

Reducing potential liability for I-9 errors is easy. It just takes time and a commitment of senior management.

— Ronald G. Guerra, member,
Jordan Schrader labor/employment law group,
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS