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ICE Brings the Heat

Posted by: Gail Cecchettini Whaley, J.D. on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 12:00:00 am

Last week, hundreds of immigration officials swarmed in on seven Mississippi food processing plants—arresting 680 workers and seizing business records in the largest immigration sting of its kind in more than a decade. But this wasn’t the first of such raids, and it certainly will not be the last.

In July, ICE Acting Director, Matthew Albence, stated that ICE has been cracking down on companies suspected of hiring undocumented immigrants. In one July week alone nearly 3,300 businesses across the country were told to submit payroll documents for review.

ICE has indicated that it will continue to crack down on employers who have undocumented workers on the books. Certain industries have been targeted more than others—including restaurants, food processing, high-tech manufacturing, and agriculture.

California Employers Need to Pay Close Attention

A Notice of Inspection (NOI) from ICE must be taken seriously and you must act immediately! An NOI initiates a government administrative inspection of a company’s Forms I-9 to determine whether they are complying with existing law.

California employers have particular reason to be concerned with ICE raids at the workplace. California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act provides California workers with protection from immigration enforcement while on the job.

All California employers need to follow strict notice obligations:

1. Within 72 hours of receiving an NOI, California employers must post a notice to all current employees informing them of any federal immigration agency’s inspections of Forms I-9 or other employment records. Download the Notice of Inspection.

2. Employers also have obligations once the inspection is over. Within 72 hours of receiving the inspection results, employers must provide each “affected employee” a copy of the results and a written notice of the employer’s and employee’s obligations arising from the inspection. An “affected employee” is one identified by the inspection results as potentially lacking work authorization or having document deficiencies.

3. Unions also have the right to receive notices.

For more tips on handling an NOI see our recent newsletter article.

Be Prepared!

California employers need to create and document processes to meet all pre- and post-inspection notice requirements. Because the 72-hour timeframes are short, standardized posting and notice processes will help you meet your compliance obligations.

Compliance in this area is going to be tough given the potential conflicts or confusion between an employer’s obligations under federal law and these California requirements. Consult a labor or immigration attorney with any questions or concerns.

CEA can Help Audit Your I-9s!

Make sure you meet your Form I-9 compliance obligations…audit your I-9s! CEA can provide you with an on-site audit to make sure you are following I-9 requirements and best practices. Schedule an I-9 Audit by calling 1-800-399-5331 or email CEAINFO@employers.org! Members can also review our reference materials on Forms I-9 in the HR Answers section of our website.

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