Contributed by Aaron Hall, Senior Attorney
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces compliance with I-9 completion and retention requirements with administrative inspections of employers’ I-9 forms, initiated either from complaints received by the ICE tip line or from internal initiatives. During the inspections, ICE looks for substantive and technical violations and will issue one of three dispositions:
(1) Compliance: No technical or substantive violations in paperwork and no unauthorized workers are identified, or technical paperwork violations are corrected in a timely manner (adjusted compliance).
(2) Warning: Violations are identified, but there is the expectation of future compliance by the employer.
(3) Fine: The employer has not acted in good faith and has substantive paperwork violations (usually, more than 50 percent of I-9 forms include substantive errors), which warrant a fine.
If ICE decides to impose a fine, it will receive a Notice of Intent to Fine. The employer can attempt to negotiate a lower fine or may request a fine reduction with an administrative law judge.
According to a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General, between 2009 and 2012, almost a third of all inspections originating from the Denver ICE Office resulted in fines. Nationally, $31.2 million in fines were issued by ICE between 2009 and 2012. The $31.2 million total dwarfs the total of $1.5 million for fiscal years 2003 through 2008. This is due to ICE’s 2009 implementation of a new strategy focusing on employers.
ICE’s focus on enforcement through heavy employer fines is expected to continue. If you have received a notice that ICE will be conducting an inspection or a Notice of Intent to Fine, contact our office as early in the process as possible to try to reduce any fines you may receive. If you have not received any notice of an ICE audit but think that your I-9s may not be properly completed or retained and would like advice on how to minimize liability and ensure future compliance, contact us for a consultation.
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Effective March 25, 2020, in response to “Stay at Home” orders Joseph & Hall PC is closed to the public and is now conducting nearly all of its operations remotely during the COVID-19 health crisis through April 18th.
We continue to have a limited number of staff in our office to perform basic operations such as assembling and filing petitions, receiving and distributing mail and issuing checks. We are grateful to be in a business that is conducive to remote work and for all of your patience and support. Our lawyers and paralegals are here to answer the array of questions that continue to arise daily and will keep you informed during these rapidly changing times. We will hold telephonic or video meetings rather than in-person meetings. These meetings can be done by SKYPE or Zoom Conference call so that you can continue to interact with your legal team, face-to-face.
We remain committed to delivering outstanding client services. We do have one important request – please do not come into the office in person for your health and safety and that of our employees. Please mail or email all documents to our office. Also, you can make any required payments online at https://vpspay.com/p/3 or make them over the phone by calling 303-297-9171 or by mail. Please stay healthy!