The idea of an audit by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is enough to send a chill down any organization’s spine. Audits of organizations’ Forms I-9 had been steadily increasing under the Obama administration, peaking in 2013. We expect the number of ICE audits to rise again under the Trump administration, making now an opportune time for organizations to conduct a voluntary internal audit of their Forms I-9.
An ICE audit of Forms I-9 is stressful, and could lead to substantial fines. The most common fines resulting from ICE audits are “paperwork violations” for failing to comply with Form I-9 requirements, ranging from $216 to $2,156 per individual form. In assessing penalties, ICE takes into consideration several key factors, including good faith efforts of the organization. Therefore, it is in every organization’s best interest to conduct periodic voluntary internal audits of their Forms I-9 as an act of good faith.
We are pleased to provide an outline of recommended steps for organizations to take when conducting a voluntary internal audit of their Forms I-9.