The Obama administration just announced that it was launching an investigation of hundreds of businesses as part of its strategy to focus immigration enforcement on the employers who hire illegal workers. The administration will be auditing I-9s and compliance with same.
An I-9 is a federally-mandated document that all employers are supposed complete with the cooperation of employees within 3 days of hire. It is intended verify that a person is authorized to work in the U.S.
Employers who do not properly retain, complete and verify I-9 information are subject to fines by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Reportedly, ICE served "Notices of Inspection" to 652 businesses, which is an increase from last year.
The biggest challenge facing employers subject to an audit may be their inability to confirm whether documents presented to them by workers were authentic (such as a Social Security Card) or that the worker's identity is genuine.
Now is the time to consult with counsel and to conduct a self-audit!