Finish Up Your Spring Cleaning: Review Your I-9 Immigration Forms
A recent decision from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (OCAHO) serves as a good reminder to make sure your company’s Forms I-9 are in order. In U.S. v Anodizing Industries, Inc., the OCAHO reviewed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) complaint that a Los Angeles metal finishing factory had violated 8 USC §1324a(a)(1)(B) by failing to timely prepare Forms I-9 for its 26 employees. The decision confirms that failing to timely prepare a Form I-9 is a serious violation and that each failure constitutes a separate violation. Because the company committed a substantive violation 26 times, ICE sought a fine of more than $25,500. That’s almost a $1,000 fine for each Form I-9.
While the OCAHO reduced the penalties as a matter of discretion in this case, it’s important to think about what happened to this company in a broader sense. If a company is completing its Forms I-9 incorrectly, that same mistake is likely to appear on every Form I-9 the company completes. In the event of an ICE I-9 audit, if those mistakes turn out to be violations, that company faces a penalty for every mistake. Increased worksite enforcement is sure to accompany any immigration reform that comes out of Congress this summer. It’s important for companies to look over their Forms I-9 and make sure they are being completed timely and correctly.