Miami area businesses are all likely aware of the importance of maintaining I-9 forms to demonstrate its employees' ability to legally be employed in the United States. The proper maintenance of these forms is enforced by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency. ICE may perform audits to make sure the Department of Homeland Security's rules regarding hiring undocumented workers are being followed. The violation of such rules can lead to fines. Depending on the circumstances criminal charges may be levied as well.
In addition to discovering a worker is undocumented, issues that may be found in the course of an ICE audit of I-9 forms include the failure to complete the forms correctly or within the allotted period of time. In addition, some employers experience issues using E-verify correctly.
As a recent Office of the Chief Administrative Officer decision illustrates, that maintenance is more important than ever. It determined that not preparing an I-9 form in a timely or improper matter, in violation of 8 USC §1324a(a)(1)(B), constitutes a serious violation for each form that there is a problem with. That means that each violation will trigger its own fine. One business in another state was recently facing fines of more than $25,500. Depending on the size of the business such a fine can be a big hit to a business' finances.
If in the course of reviewing the I-9 documents it is determined that something is out of order, all is not lost. Employers may be able to work with an immigration lawyer to remedy the issues and get the business back in compliance. In addition, it may be possible to reduce the penalties assessed by ICE.
Source: The National Law Review, "Finish Up Your Spring Cleaning: Review Your I-9 Immigration Forms," Rebecca B. Schechter, June 5, 2013