Article by Kisshia Simmons on “I-9 Audits are at an All-Time High—Are You Prepared?”
In a March 22, 2021 article in Texas Lawyer, Chamberlain Hrdlicka immigration attorney Kisshia Simmons discusses the continued, significant increase in Form I-9 audits and need for companies to proactively prepare for ICE I-9 audits.
Just in 2018, I-9 audits increased by 375% compared to 2017, with nearly 6,000 companies audited and 93 arrests. Overall, 500% more audits were conducted over the past four years. Moreover, 76% of paper Form I-9s have at least one error, with a similar percentage of missing or incomplete forms.
Certain industries, such as hospitality, agriculture, food processing, landscaping, and construction, can be particularly targeted by I-9 audits and event “silent raids” by ICE, said Simmons. She further advised that once an audit notice is received, companies have three business days to produce a significant number of documents, with extensions to that time frame rarely granted.
Without a proactive approach, companies risk not only a reactive and hurried response that is bound to create mistakes but also loss of productivity, higher attorney’s fees, as well as fines and criminal charges. The adverse effect on a company’s infrastructure, internal morale, and reputation can be equally devastating.
“The risk of an audit for companies in certain industries is very high and if their I-9 records are found to be in noncompliance, they can experience a range of penalties, including fines and criminal prosecution,” said Simmons, urging the companies to take proactive measures now to help prevent problems down the road and conduct their own internal I-9 audits.
To learn more, subscribers can read the article here.