Avoid an ICE Raid with Proper I-9 Procedures

In April, special agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE’s) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested 280 employees at a company in Texas on charges of working in the country illegally. The raid on the business, who allegedly knowingly hired undocumented immigrants or workers with fraudulent ID documentation, highlights the importance of having procedures in place to ensure proper verification of the identity and employment eligibility of employees.

Here are key steps to include in your Form I-9 documentation process.

All Employees: All US employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the US. Forms I-9 are required for each new employee, both citizen and non-citizen. “Employee” does not include volunteers, independent contractors or those engaged in certain casual domestic employment.

Two-Part Process: Both employees and employers (or their authorized representatives) must complete the form. Specifically, the employee must attest to their employment authorization and present acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization, while the employer must examine the documents and record the information on the Form I-9.

Timely Completion: The employee must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment (it should never be completed before they accept a job offer). The employer will complete the other parts of the form and is responsible for ensuring all sections are properly completed and on time.

Proper Documentation: Within three business days of starting work, the employee must present documentation to their employer establishing their identity and employment authorization from the lists of acceptable documents. The employer must review the documents in the employee’s presence to make sure they appear genuine and complete Section 2 in the same time period.

Record Retention: Employers are required to maintain for inspection original Forms I-9 for all current employees. For former employees, employers must retain the Forms I-9 for a period of at least three years from the date of hire or for one year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer.

ICE audit notification can come in various forms; stay informed by using our ICE Audit Notification Overview. For more guidance with Forms I-9 and to avoid the risk of an audit or penalties, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401.332.9325.

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