US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Issues New Round of Notices of Inspection to Employers
Posted on November 11, 2011
In a new round of inspections to determine if employers in the United States are violating employment laws by hiring unauthorized workers, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – recently issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to various employers around the country. The NOIs give businesses notice that ICE will conduct inspections for compliance of Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (Form I-9s) that require employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all newly hired employees.
According to a statement released by the ICE Office of Public Affairs (OPA):
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to various employers on Friday, November 4. These inspections are designed to determine whether or not the businesses are violating U.S. employment laws by hiring unauthorized workers. The names and locations of the businesses will not be released at this time due to the ongoing nature of the inspections.”
As reported earlier in the ESR News blog, ICE issued 1,000 I-9 inspection notices back in June 2011 to companies in all 50 U.S. states as part of the government’s “quiet immigration raid” policy to crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants. That round of I-9 inspections brought the number of companies audited by ICE in the fiscal year that began October 1, 2010 to 2,338, topping the previous year’s record of 2,196. Businesses undergoing I-9 audits must hand over all Form I-9s for ICE to inspect and these audits may result in the firing of illegal workers found on a company’s payroll and civil and criminal penalties for employers ranging from fines to criminal charges.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 makes it “unlawful for a person or other entity… to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.” Employers violating that prohibition may be subjected to federal civil and criminal sanctions. The IRCA also requires employers to take steps to verify an employee’s eligibility for employment. In an attempt to improve that employment eligibility verification process, Congress created E-Verify, an internet-based system employers can use to check the work authorization status of employees by comparing information on their Form I-9s against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.