On Oct 09 2009

Internal ICE Memo Released to the Public: Employers Remain the Primary Target of Worksite Enforcement Efforts

In the first week of October, an internal ICE memorandum was released to the public in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The memo outlines ICE’s worksite enforcement strategy policy and explains that while the agency continues to levy civil files, “ICE is re-focusing efforts to develop criminal cases against employers who hire and use illegal workers.”

The memo reiterates the announcements made earlier this year by Obama Administration officials regarding this focus on employers as the primary means for deterring illegal immigration to the U.S.  In July, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano went on record with her promise to audit employers to ensure their compliance with immigration regulations.  Likewise, ICE Secretary John Morton has publicly stated that ICE will continue to crackdown on employers who hire unauthorized workers.  These announcements were followed by the issuance of hundreds of Notices of Inspection to employers around the country.

In this era of enforcement it is critical for employers to avoid immigration related liabilities due to non-compliance with federal immigration regulations by reviewing their internal policies and procedures.  Internal I-9 audits can identify issues and correct violations.  Training of human resources personnel on all aspects of immigration compliance will ensure that companies establish proper record-keeping procedures.  These important steps can limit a company’s liability in case of government inspection.