Answers to Complex I-9 Issues in an Era of Increasing Immigration Enforcement

A major immigration reform issue requiring employers’ attention is I-9 compliance. Shortly after the inauguration, President Trump directed all executive agencies to prioritize the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, which has led to increased audits and investigations of employers’ I-9 compliance. While the I-9 form has been around for a number of years, its requirements are technical and proper completion requires solid training. Considering the Trump administration’s heavy immigration focus, it is strongly recommended that employers audit their I-9 processes to ensure: proper completion of forms, that all employees are authorized for employment in the U.S., and that appropriate Form I-9 policies and employment eligibility verification procedures are in place. Employers who fail to correctly complete Form I-9 paperwork or to use the newest version of the I-9 form (expires 8/31/19) for all new hires are now subject to civil penalties exceeding $2,000 for each time an improper form is used. In addition, employers found to have unlawfully employed unauthorized workers or to have committed unfair immigration-related employment practices will face fines upwards of $4,000 per worker.

Recently emerging as hot-button issues, Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance questions are answered in detail in this SHRM article.