|July 22, 2010|
Previously published on July 2010
ICE's new strategic plan released by the agency this month signifies an increase in employer I-9 compliance audits in the near future. The plan, entitled "Strategic Priorities for Fiscal Years 2010-2014," was originally sent to ICE employees and then made public. The plan enumerates the agency’s priorities over the next five years, including that of "creat[ing] a culture of employer compliance." According to the plan, ICE will implement this objective by pursuing "aggressive criminal and civil enforcement against those employers who knowingly violate the law," and by using proactive programs such as IMAGE and E-Verify to encourage employer compliance.
Other parts of the plan mentioned the focus on removing the undocumented. Domestic enforcement of the immigration laws will include increased enforcement efforts against newly arriving foreign nationals who seek to enter the United States illegally. It will continue to prioritize the removal of those convicted of crimes as well as gang members, and plans to step up efforts to remove those who have final orders of deportation.
To implement the plan, ICE plans to hire additional auditors and centralize its auditing functions. This confirms that more civil audits should be expected for more employers. It is crucial that companies take proactive measures to ensure compliance with immigration laws and avoid potential liability. Greenberg Traurig’s Business Immigration and Compliance team can assist with multiple proactive strategies to facilitate this process, including in-depth training and internal audits.
Employers should also be on the lookout for potential changes in the law that will increase employer liability, as one of ICE’s proposed strategies is to "seek better statutory tools to address illegal employment."