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Are You Willing to Go to Jail for I-9 Violations?

Published Monday, July 30, 2018
by CEA's HR Advisors


We’ve heard a lot about immigration raids and I-9 audits this year. “President Donald Trump's administration has promised to quadruple workplace enforcement actions, and in the last six months, immigration officials have made good on that promise,” said Becki Young, an attorney with Hammond Young Immigration Law.

Enforcement efforts include criminal arrests of undocumented workers and employers who knowingly hire or continue to employ undocumented workers. Therefore, HR professionals who are asked to participate in — or urged to ignore — these violations are advised to bring their concerns to management, she said. "If those concerns are not addressed, they should consider whether they love their job so much that they are willing to go to jail for it."

Worried that you might not be able to detect a falsified document? Don’t be. “If the employer can show that it made a good-faith effort and that a reasonable person could have believed that the documents in question were genuine and related to the individual, then that employer has an affirmative defense under the law for accepting those identification documents,” Young said.

She recommends that employers:

  • Provide regular training to HR employees who complete I-9 forms.
  • Create a written I-9 compliance manual.
  • Perform an internal I-9 audit every two to three years.
  • Maintain a good track record for filling out I-9s completely and on time.

CEA has a great fact sheet designed to walk you through an I-9 internal audit. Don’t have the time, energy or know-how to conduct an I-9 audit? Contact us and we can handle it for you!

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