By Tommy Eden, Attorney
Protecting employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce and targeting employers who knowingly employ an illegal workforce are major ICE priorities, for which ICE employs all available civil and administrative tools, including audits. Audits may result in civil penalties and lay the groundwork for criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly violate the law.
In April, DHS issued updated worksite enforcement guidance emphasizing ICE's major enforcement priorities-specifically focusing on dangerous criminal aliens and employers who cultivate illegal workplaces by breaking the country's laws and knowingly hiring illegal workers. In this strategy, ICE identified form I-9 audits as the most important administrative tool in building criminal cases and bringing employers into compliance with the law.
45 businesses and 47 individuals debarred; 0 businesses and 1 individual were debarred during same period in FY 2008.
45 Final Orders totaling $798,179; ICE issued eight Final Orders totaling $196,523 during the same period in FY 2008.
1,897 cases initiated; ICE initiated 605 cases during the same period in FY 2008.
1,069 Form I-9 Inspections; ICE initiated 503 Form I-9 Inspections in all of FY 2008.
Statistics resulting from the 654 audits announced in July:
ICE agents reviewed more than 85,000 Form I-9s and identified more than 14,000 suspect documents - approximately 16 percent of the total number reviewed.
To date, 61 NIFs have been issued, resulting in $2,310,255 in fines. In addition, 267 cases are currently being considered for Notices of Intent to Fine (NIFs).
ICE closed 326 cases after businesses were found to be in compliance with employment laws or after businesses were served with a Warning Notice in expectation of future compliance.
For more information, visit http://www.ice.gov/.
Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-246-2901. Blog at www.alabamaatwork.com