Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cracked down on multiple employers and arrested over 21 undocumented workers. Such action sends a strong reminder to U.S. businesses regarding hiring and employing an illegal workforce. ICE announced their enforcement about the law, and that if employers are found to be breaking the law, they will receive appropriate consequences.
Effective January 1, 2018, California workers were given protection from immigration enforcement while on the job by the Immigrant Work Protection Act (AB 450). Employers must follow new notice obligations and they can no longer voluntarily allow ICE to enter private work areas or to receive access to company or employee records. Under the new policies, ICE must gain access through presenting legal documentations in the form of a warrant or subpoena. However, this prohibition does not apply to Form I-9 or other documents for which a Notice of Inspection was provided to the employer.
Employers must obey the following requirements related to Form I-9:
- Within 72 hours of receiving a Notice of Inspection, employers must post a notice to all current employees regarding any federal immigration agency’s inspections of Form I-9 or other employment records.
- Within 72 hours of receiving the inspection results, employers are required to issue a copy of the results and a written notice of the employer’s and employee’s obligations to each “affected employee”. An employee is considered an “affected employee” if they are identified by the inspection results as potentially lacking work authorization or having document deficiencies.
It’s important to understand the correct policies because violations of the law can lead to various fines and penalties up to $10,000 per violation. Federal penalties for Form I-9 violations can range from a couple hundred dollars to over $20,000. Employers need to ensure that supervisors and any employees that may interact with authorities arriving at the worksite are aware of the limitations that ICE has. Employers should also create and document processes to meet all pre- and post- inspection notice requirements.
Here at JH Consulting, we offer high-quality and valuable services to fit your company’s needs. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance with updating your employees’ handbook or your company’s policies to better complement these updated regulations.