Last week, ICE announced an additional 1,000 I-9 Notices of Inspection (NOIs) of U.S. employers to review compliance with immigration-related laws. This round of inspections brings the number of I-9 inspections for fiscal year 2011 to more than 2,300 — more than the total number of audits conducted in the entire fiscal year 2010.
NOIs typically include ICE scrutiny of employee I-9 Forms, payroll records, immigration filings, and Social Security No-Match Letters. The latest round of NOIs targets businesses with a role in protecting national security and public safety. Affected sectors include:
- agriculture and food
- financial services
- commercial nuclear reactors
- drinking water and water treatment
- postal and shipping
- health care
By law, employers have three days to produce the requested documents; however, ICE is generally amenable to reasonable extensions.
Employers who hire or continue to employ unauthorized employees can end up paying hefty fines and serving lengthy criminal sentences. If you receive an NOI, you should immediately contact counsel. The window for response is short and it is critical that employers carefully review documents prior to production.
For those of you new to this blog, it is important to understand what an NOI is and what it means for your business. ICE considers the NOI an important tool in its enforcement strategy and employers should treat the NOI accordingly. For more information about NOIs, see previous posts here, here, and here. If you have not yet received an NOI, you should use this time to conduct an internal audit.