Form I-9 Immigration Audits and Investigations

MacMain Leinhauser fights for employers facing ICE audits and investigations.Form I-9 must be completed for every individual that an employer hires regardless of the employee’s citizenship status. The form verifies the employee’s identity and employment authorization. Supporting documents must be presented by the employee and examined by the employer and the I-9 must be kept on record for a designated period. If at any time Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to inspect an employer’s I-9 forms, they must be made available to authorized agents. Inspection may be carried out after a complaint or on the agency’s own initiative.

When an employer receives a Notice of Inspection (NOI) they are allowed three business days under the law to produce all the requested documents. Any employer who receives an NOI should immediately inform their legal counsel and all subsequent communications should be made through counsel. An NOI is a serious matter that could lead to significant penalties, both civil and criminal, should the employer be found to be non-compliant. Good legal counsel can help minimize the potential liability of an ICE inspection.

A qualified attorney should review all I-9 forms and other requested documents and use the three days granted under the law to make any allowable corrections. For any employee identified in the documents requested by ICE, there must be a corresponding I-9 form. Any employee listed on payroll and quarterly wage reports, or who was hired after November 6, 1986 must have an I-9 form.

Other documents ICE may request include:

  • Quarterly payroll records
  • Employee identification documents
  • List of employees and independent contractors along with their personal information – full name, date of birth, Social Security number, and dates worked
  • Corporate documents including quarterly tax documents
  • Copies of E-Verify inquiry results

Before providing any documents, it must be verified that the employer has properly completed I-9 forms for all current and terminated employees. Always request a receipt for any records turned over to ICE.

Additionally, the job of legal counsel is to clarify with ICE any ambiguities in the NOI, and to get an idea of how long ICE expects the audit to last and what their expectations are for the investigation. After reviewing the provided documents, ICE may respond with any of the following notices:

  • Notice of Discrepancies
  • Warning Notice
  • Notice of Inspection Results
  • Notice of Suspect Documents
  • Notice of Intent to Fine

If the employer receives a Notice of Intent to Fine, then it is important to prepare an appeal by requesting a hearing for a Notice of Intent to Fine.

Experienced legal counsel is important in helping a business be proactive about its I-9 documentation and remaining in compliance. For assistance with your business law issue, call MacMain Leinhauser at 484-318-7106 or submit an online contact form.