• U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Issues Another 1,000 Notices of Inspection to U.S. Employers
  • June 27, 2011 | Author: Diego G. Hunt
  • Law Firm: Holland & Hart LLP - Denver Office
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) served another 1,000 Notices of Inspection (NOIs) on U.S. employers yesterday in agriculture and food, financial services, commercial nuclear reactors, drinking water and water treatment, postal and shipping, healthcare and transportation. This brings the number of employer audits to 2,338 for this fiscal year and signals ICE’s continued focus on employers’ employment verification practices in its overall immigration enforcement strategy. Employers can be subject to criminal and civil penalties for violations, including civil fines ranging from $1,100 for each substantive I-9 violation to $16,000 per count for knowingly employing unauthorized workers.

    The NOIs formally initiate ICE audits of employer’s I-9s to assure compliance with the employer’s employment eligibility verification obligations. The NOIs typically require only three days notice prior to conducting a review of the employer’s I-9s and are sometimes accompanied by subpoenas requesting additional documents such as employee rosters, payroll documents, tax statements, and other corporate documents. Employers can usually secure additional time prior to the inspections, but they should immediately begin to prepare their documentation and otherwise prepare for the audit.

    Since mid-2009, ICE has focused its enforcement efforts through these so-called “silent raids” rather than traditional worksite raids. ICE only issued a total of 503 NOIs in fiscal year 2008. In contrast, ICE issued over 1,000 NOIs in FY 2009, and over 2,000 in FY 2010, resulting in the imposition of approximately $50 million dollars in sanctions against employers since January 2009.