IFCO Systems North America paid $20.7 million while many IFCO managers pleaded guilty to criminal charges for I-9 violations and faced prison sentences which were remitted later in a plea deal. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores were fined over $1 million dollars for I-9 violations though all their employees were legal! The issue was that their Michigan branch – which employed a 3rd party to electronically store their I-9’s –could not retrieve them due to a glitch in the third party’s system. Big or Small, businesses are forced to conform or pay the price for having even a single undocumented worker on board, or for having misfiled the I-9 documentation or even for not having filled all the sections of the one page I-9 form.
ICE has stated that 99% of I-9s have errors in them and that on an average there are 5 errors per I-9! Legal requirements may sometimes defy common sense interpretations and convenient practices; so it is very important to avoid complacence in the matter. It is important to recognize that too much of documentation could also bring charges from ICE – on grounds of discrimination.
Immigration offences are not limited to the purview of only the federal government anymore but being punished by the respective state governments too; which could result in the revocation of the offender’s business license, tax license, or any other license. Against this stringent enforcement policy, employers today are relying upon instituting certain process steps which incorporate some essential facts to ensure that they are protected from exposure in case of an ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) audit:
There are some other points which may not be required by all employers, but are worthy of note, should the need arise:
Is using Electronic I-9 a Best Practice?:
Using an electronic I-9 form provides the following benefits in the management of an I-9 :
It is important to pick a really reliable program which is compliant with USCIS guidance and employ the requisite due diligence methods before relying on it to help with one’s compliance on I-9 requirement as a deficient program could land one in deep problems, as demonstrated by many who adopted such faulty programs.
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