Form I-9 Turns 25 (And It’s As Important As Ever)
November 8, 2011 § 2 Comments
Last week, Ivan Hardt, president of Sun Drywall and Stucco in Sierra Vista, AZ, pleaded guilty to federal charges of hiring undocumented employees after a 16-month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Sunday, November 6, 2011, marks 25 years that the I-9 Form has been in effect. The Sun Drywall & Stucco case reminds us not to ignore the simple fact that it is imperative to verify that I-9 forms are in compliance with the law, regulations, administrative decisions, and federal court opinions that have been issued over the last 25 years.
As part of his plea, the company president agreed to pay $225,000 in back wages and an additional administrative forfeiture of $225,000 to ICE. The company, through its president, also pleaded guilty to unlawful employment of undocumented workers.
Hardt’s sentence underscores the importance of I-9 compliance and the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing concerted effort to target employers who hire undocumented workers and to shift the burden of policing undocumented workers onto U.S. employers.
In Janet Napolitano’s testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary on October 26, 2011, she reconfirmed that DHS will continue “utilizing robust Form I-9 inspections, civil fines and debarment, and enhancing compliance tools like E-Verify” as part of its interior enforcement strategy.
Under the Obama administration, ICE has conducted more I-9 audits than any previous administration. Since FY2009, ICE has audited more than 6,000 employers across the country and imposed more than $76 million in financial sanctions on those employers. In FY2011, ICE arrested 221 employers accused of immigration and employment related violations, which is an agency record.
Every employer must fill out the I-9 form for all employees. If you need an I-9 compliance program, an I-9 audit or an just update on how to complete I-9s, call us, it’s what we do! You can also contact us online at http://www.goffwilson.com.