Form I-9 Audits and Worksite Arrests by ICE Surged in Fiscal Year 2018

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In December of 2018, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the federal agency that enforces laws governing American border control – announced that criminal investigations, business audits, and arrests by ICE surged in fiscal year (FY) 2018 compared to FY 2017 following a commitment made by the agency to increase Form I-9 audits and worksite enforcement across the United States.

Form I-9 Audits and Worksite Arrests by ICE

In FY 2018, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened 6,848 worksite investigations compared to 1,691 in FY 2017, initiated 5,981 Form I-9 audits compared to 1,360 in FY 2017, and made 2,304 worksite-related arrests compared to 311 in FY 2017. Worksite investigations, Form I-9 audits, and worksite-related arrests surged by 300 to 750 percent over the previous fiscal year.

Businesses were ordered to pay more than $10.2 million in judicial fines, forfeitures, and restitutions in FY 2018 including a Texas business that forfeited more than $5.5 million and an Oklahoma business that agreed to pay more than $1 million. In FY2017, there were $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines, and restitution, including one company that paid the largest fine ever levied in an immigration case.

“Reducing illegal employment helps build another layer of border security, and reduces the continuum of crime that illegal labor facilitates, from the human smuggling networks that facilitate illegal border crossings to the associated collateral crimes, like identity theft, document and benefit fraud and worker exploitation,” HSI Executive Associate Director Derek N. Benner stated in the announcement from ICE.

ICE is responsible for upholding laws established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) which requires all employers in the United States to verify the identity and work eligibility of employees they hire through the use of the ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.’ ICE uses the Form I-9 inspection program and civil fines to encourage employers to comply with the IRCA.

The trend of worksite Form I-9 audits continuing to rise for employers and the possibility of mandatory E-Verify use has been chosen by a leading global background check provide Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as the number ten trend of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019 that feature emerging and influential trends in the background screening industry for the coming year.

NOTE: The E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification service used for Form I-9 compliance is currently unavailable and the E-Verify website at www.e-verify.gov is not actively managed due to a lapse in federal funding to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies that led to a partial shutdown of the United States government that began on December 22, 2018.

ESR Webinar on Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2019

ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen – a noted background check expert and author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” – will also host a live complimentary webinar entitled “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2019” that will take place on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Noon Pacific Time. To register, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5840930517922184451.

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.

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