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ICE continues conducting I-9 compliance raids in 2012

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not said much recently regarding audits of companies in relation to I-9 compliance issues. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Homeland Security is continuing to use the so-called "silent raids" to enforcement immigration employment laws.

A spokeswoman with ICE reportedly confirmed that as of the end of March, the government has notified 500 businesses across the nation that the companies must turn over their I-9 employment eligibility documentation and other information to be audited for I-9 compliance. ICE says that the recent wave of so-called silent raids includes businesses "of all sizes and types," according to the Journal.

A press secretary with ICE says that, "No one industry is targeted, nor is any one industry immune from scrutiny." She says that ICE does not disclose the names of the companies that have been notified of the I-9 audits.

This year's I-9 audits are part of the continuing efforts of the administration to determine whether the nation's businesses are complying with federal immigration employment eligibility laws. Since the beginning of 2009, more than 7,500 businesses have undergone I-9 audits and the federal government has imposed about $100 million in administrative and criminal fines associated with I-9 audits.

ICE has confirmed that each of the 26 regional ICE offices has been instructed to dedicate specified amounts of work time to conducting I-9 audits of businesses. However, officials will not go so far as to provide any details of any quotas associated with ICE I-9 audits. The agency says that "performance goals" have been set "to ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars."

A manager of a Farm Bureau in the Midwest says that a field agent for ICE told a labor conference that the group in attendance should expect to see a 40 percent increase this year on the number of companies that could be audited this year.

Some people who work in the area of employment immigration laws say that some businesses have been audited more than once.

South Florida businesses can consult with an experienced immigration law and I-9 compliance lawyer for assistance in keeping up to date on the nation's employment eligibility and I-9 compliance laws.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Fresh Raids Target Illegal Hiring," Miriam Jordan, May 2, 2012

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