If you read my last post, and I hope you did, you’ll remember that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) worksite audits – and raids – are on an uptick. And everyone is a potential target now. Alongside the more headline-making manufacturing companies, construction companies, and farms, increased attention is now being paid to employers with remote and multi-location workforces, as well as franchises.
So, to make their presence known, last fall, ICE levied their largest ever civil penalty on Asplundh Tree Experts: $95M. Now, the severity of Asplundh’s penalty was largely due to knowingly hiring unauthorized workers and conspiring at the highest levels to do so. But it started, as most ICE raids do, with a “simple” I-9 audit years before.
I recently returned from a conference in Nashville, hosted by LawLogix, where I was fortunate enough to listen to case studies and guidance doled out by some of the finest immigration attorneys in the country, including some former government attorneys. The takeaway message for me is clear: ICE audits and raids are the real deal. They’re not going away any time soon, and we can expect the recent surge to grow exponentially under the current administration. ICE has stated that they want to be feared by employers and individuals as much as one fears the IRS. They are inviting the media to their raids to get as much coverage as possible. They are looking to make examples. And it’s working. Do a quick search for “ICE raid 2018” and you’ll find pages and pages of search results, the most recent dating to just a few weeks ago. Immigration is the new wave of white-collar crime and the government is here to getcha.
“So, what do I do?!” If your company is already conducting I-9 self-audits you’re on the right track! And if you’ve now entered into panic mode and ICE raids haunt your dreams, don’t despair! You, too, can help your company avoid costly penalties when ICE inevitably knocks on your door. But how?
You’ll be cool, calm, collected, and – most importantly – prepared for the visit from ICE. Isn’t peace of mind great?