ICE Cracks Down - I-9 Compliance

Recently, the government fined a large clothing retailer more than $1 million for failing to properly verify their employees’ legal status.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement is charged with enforcing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). According to the IRCA, employers must demonstrate compliance with the law by properly completing the Employment Eligibility Verification form, widely known as “I-9.”

According to a San Diego Union-Tribune article, the ICE has recently increased the number of I-9 audits in San Diego County and throughout the state of California. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) reports that in 2010 alone there was a total of 66 audits in San Diego County. In comparison, the county had only one audit in 2008 and 44 audits in 2009.

Many businesses may unknowingly fail to comply with I-9 requirements. For example, in the case mentioned earlier the problem was related to faulty record-keeping.

In order to avoid harsh civil penalties and possibly even criminal investigation and prosecution, employers must take care to ensure that they are complying with federal law.

Compliance is not complicated
Fortunately, the process of I-9 compliance is not that difficult if proper care is taken. The form is straightforward and includes detailed easy-to-understand instructions for each of the three sections:

  • Section 1 – Employees complete this section, under the penalty of perjury, at the time of employment. Includes employee background information and verification.
  • Section 2 – Must be completed by employer before the end of the third business day of employment. Review of identification and authorization documentation and verification.
  • Section 3 – Must be completed before or on the employee’s last work day. The employer re-verifies the employee’s work eligibility.

Documents that can be used to verify Section 2 include a U.S. Passport and a valid driver’s license. Employers must only accept the original documents and they must not examine copies of documents. The employer also verifies under the penalty of perjury that they have examined all the documents used to verify employee information on the I-9 form.

At, we offer a free, web-based solution that allows you to fully comply with I-9 requirements. The web based software wizard walks you through each section of the I-9 form providing all the guidance needed to avoid errors and ensure proper compliance with a complete audit log. The website is available 24-7 throughout the year and all information is secured through 128 bit SSL encryption technology. Data is stored digitally in the popular PDF format.

The site also provides a capable form i-9 management system with tiered user permissions, easy data retrieval, automatic purging of outdated documents and automatic notification of expiring documents.

Please visit the site to learn more or to view a demo of this free i-9 compliance service!