I-9 audits are on the rise and won’t stop any time soon! According to an Associated Press article this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations unit has plans to conduct over 5,000 audits by September of this year! Already we have seen a 60 percent increase in audits this fiscal year compared to last (plus over a 300 percent increase in criminal arrests!).

Ultimately, ICE’s projected goal is to conduct over 15,000 audits per year (as compared to the less than 500 per year that has been conducted historically). This is a significant change in enforcement efforts that affect all employers of all sizes.

Thus, it’s time to prepare!

Here are some preventative measures employers can do:

1. Use the most recent I-9 Form (check this website regularly).

2. Develop internal policies covering I-9 Form completion, storage, and retention.

3. Understand the ICE-approved ways to correct I-9 Form errors and create an audit trail.

4. Train HR.

5. Conduct internal I-9 audits on a regular basis (at least yearly!) and do so with counsel (attorney-client privilege protections are no joke!).

For more information, see ICE’s Jan. 2018 Fact Sheet addressing I-9 audits.

Your friends at Woods Rogers PLC are here to help navigate these troubled waters. Contact Leah Stiegler or any member of our team to assist with preparing for the coming storm. Even when the waters are at their most tumultuous, we are here for you!