Immigration Audits on the Rise
As expected, the Trump Administration continues to increase the number of immigration audits to verity the employment eligibility of employees. The federal government’s “culture of compliance” focuses on employers, with the goal of discouraging unauthorized immigration by limiting employment access to undocumented workers.
This May, the Associated Press (“AP”) published an article confirming this sharp increase in audits. According to the AP, there were 2,282 employer audits opened between October 1, 2017 and May 4, 2018. This represents a 60 percent increase from the 1,360 audits opened between October 2016 and September 2017. During this time, 594 employers were arrested on criminal charges (compared to 139 during the previous fiscal year) and 610 on civil charges (compared to 172 in the preceding 12-months). In addition to criminal prosecution and/or civil fines, an employer may face debarment from government contracts, lose valuable employees, and even jail time.
In our previous blog, we provided some guidance for employers on how to prepare for visits from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). In short, the employer should focus on checking the employment eligibility of job applicants and its current employees. Indeed, the employer should take proactive steps to make sure that its I-9s are in order and ready to be inspected when requested.