Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

From January 29 to 31, 2018, special agents from the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) served notices of inspection (NOIs) for I-9 audits to 77 businesses in the Northern California cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Jose, KRON 4 News reports.

A statement from ICE explains the NOI – also known as an I-9 audit notice – “alerts a business owner that HSI is going to audit their hiring records to determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law” and “employers are required to produce their company’s I-9s within three business days.”

The HSI conducted 1,360 I-9 audits and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests in Fiscal Year 2017, while businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines, and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines during the same period of time, according to ICE.

In January of 2018, ESR News reported that ICE – the agency enforcing federal laws governing immigration – targeted 98 7-Eleven stores in the United States and arrested 21 suspected illegal immigrants in a nationwide crackdown on employers hiring undocumented workers.

“Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” ICE Acting Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan said in a statement about the 7-Eleven operation.

In a speech about immigration enforcement in October 2017, Homan said ICE had “already increased the number of inspections in worksite operations” and would “significantly increase this next fiscal year.” He also ordered the HSI to increase time spent on worksite enforcement “by four to five times.”

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of workers they hire with the ‘Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9.’ A NOI alerts business owners that HSI is going to audit their hiring records for Form I-9 compliance.

Employers must produce their company’s I-9s within three business days, after which HSI will conduct an inspection for compliance. If employers are not in compliance with the law, an I-9 inspection can result in civil fines and lead to criminal prosecution for companies that knowingly violate the law.

The HSI has stepped-up efforts to enforce laws that prohibit businesses from hiring illegal workers and is focused on protecting jobs for all who are lawfully employed, eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce, and strengthening public safety and national security.

Is Your Company Ready for an I-9 Audit?

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that helps employers with E-Verify and Form I-9 compliance to ensure they hire employees legally eligible to work in the United States. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2018 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.