To further prove that immigration reform is still on the front burner, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced its plan to implement a nationwide audit of employer I-9s.
ICE announced that it’s drawing up Notices of Inspection to review the I-9 records of 652 employers — names not released yet. In some instances, the notices will include subpoenas for records such as
- quarterly wage reports
- business licenses
- correspondence from Social Security Administration regarding no-match letters, and
- payroll data.
Employers whose I-9-related records don’t pass muster with ICE will then receive Notices of Intent to Fine. Also in the announcement, ICE officials said the audit is just a “first step,” so employers probably can expect more audits and inspections.
What happens if you’re contacted for an audit? Make sure you know:
- The name and contact information of company legal counsel. If the company’s legal counsel is not in-house, there should be written instructions for personnel to contact outside counsel immediately.
- Who, in HR or otherwise, will be the the company’s representative for the ICE investigation or audit. You’ll want all communication with ICE channeled through that person to avoid redundancy or contradictions in information.
- The names of company managers who should be informed of an ICE investigation or audit.
And keep in mind:
- An investigator may contact you and ask for an interview, but you have the right to refer the investigator to an attorney.
- An investigator has no right to files and records without a search warrant or subpoena.
- Once you’re informed of an intent to investigate, take special care to secure all related records. Destruction or loss of records after notification could be seen as an attempt to destroy evidence or sabotage the investigation.