The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced, "Effective immediately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will focus its resources on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers in order to target the root cause of illegal immigration."
This announcement signals a warning to employers to make sure all Form I-9 procedures are being properly followed and that the most recent Form I-9 is being used when hiring new employees. All U.S. employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens.
A significant increase can be expected in the number of businesses that will be subjected to an I-9 audit. Now more than ever, employers need to be sure that I-9’s are completed correctly and are in compliance with the new rules that became effective April 3, 2009.
The new form and new rules made several changes to Form I-9 and the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents that employees may present for completion of the form.
If your Form I-9’s are not properly completed and you unknowingly hire an illegal immigrant, ICE could interpret your actions as “knowingly” hiring unauthorized employees. Don't take the risk. Make sure the latest Form I-9 is being used and that you are following the procedures spelled out in the “Handbook for Employers.
Links to Form I-9; English Version Spanish Version
USCIS forms and information on immigration laws, regulations, and procedures can also be requested by calling the National Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-375-5283.