ICE Raids - Are You Prepared as an Employer?
As you have likely heard, the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids will be in at least ten US cities over the upcoming days.
According to reports, ICE is prepared to target more than 2,000 recently arrived migrant families. Instead of a knock on the door, employers may be the recipients of communication in the mail notifying them of a Form I-9 audit.
Just because you don't have undocumented workers at your business, doesn't put you in the clear from ICE.
ICE audits are vastly different from an IRS audit, as the Department of Homeland Security governs ICE as opposed to the Department of Treasury. Since the DHS is a relatively new agency, there are far fewer audit procedures, and the audit process is less regulated in general. There are no "second chances" for missed documentation after the original submission, and documents may be required in as few as 48 hours after the information request. There is no leniency for incomplete or inaccurate data provided, which can result in hefty fines. If you do get audited, do not take the request lightly.
Some things you can do to protect your business from ICE include:
Ensure your I-9's are in order now for existing employees and in one central repository for easy access and reconciliation. If not already in place, institute a policy to verify new hires' work authorization documents within the first three days of their hire date. Know what constitutes an acceptable Form I-9 verification in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security and understand what information you have to retain. Look out for any communication from the government, a subpoena, or a "No-Match" letter, as a notice to take action
With these steps, you are on the right track to be sure you can rest easy if ICE ever comes knocking.
For additional resources, please see below:
ICE recommendations for Employers Conducting Internal Audits 📎 ICE Form I-9 Inspection Overview and List of Penalties 📎