Yet Another Strike Against Form I-9 Prepopulation
The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has joined the growing chorus of government agencies speaking out against the practice of prepopulating Section 1 of Forms I-9. In a recent Technical Assistance Letter (TAL), the OSC discourages the use of prepopulation citing concerns about Section 1 containing inaccurate or outdated information as a result. The language of the OSC’s TAL is mild compared to the forceful message relayed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in April 2013. ICE HSI referred to prepopulation of Forms I-9 as inappropriate and unacceptable and stated that prepopulating Form I-9 is considered a violation. Given that government opinion is clearly against Form I-9 prepopulation, it is important for companies to review their hiring procedures and weigh the benefits of convenience and efficiency against the potentially high costs of compliance.