By: Sharon Barney, Esq.
Last week, 3,282 businesses across the country were delivered “Notices of Inspection (NOIs)” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence. While the focus last week was on the publicized “ICE Raids” impacting those who have previous deportation orders, ICE also quietly mailed NOIs to businesses as a part of a “silent raid” on employers. The industries that were impacted last week included restaurants, food processing, high-tech manufacturing, and agriculture.
The issuance of NOIs is no surprise, given ICE’s five-fold increase in I-9 audits in fiscal year 2018, and the recent issuance of Social Security Administration “no-match” letters this spring.
If a business has received an NOI from ICE, it has only three business days to respond. Fines for I-9 violations can range from $548 – $4,384 per offense for first time violators. Criminal penalties may also apply to business owners who knowingly employ unauthorized workers.
While technical violations are treated less harshly than substantive violations, the reality is that the issuance of any NOI or I-9 audit can greatly impact your business. Employees, even those with appropriate work authorizations, may decide to leave. Responding to ICE takes time and resources away from the business. Fines and any public news related to the audit may hurt the business’s reputation. It is imperative to work with an experienced I-9 compliance attorney and have one on-call so you can be prepared if you are issued an NOI.
If you have any questions regarding Form I-9, worksite compliance, or immigration law updates, please contact Sharon Barney. Sharon is a Partner in Leech Tishman’s Immigration and Family Law Practice Groups. Sharon is based in the firm’s State College office. Sharon can be reached at 814.954.5904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, aviation & aerospace, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, estates & trusts, family law, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in El Segundo, CA, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Sarasota and Wilmington, DE.