The key focus of immigration-related investigations and enforcement procedures has reportedly shifted under the new Obama administration from individuals unlawfully present to those who employ individuals without authorization. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on an announcement by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) that they will be dramatically increasing the amount of audits employers will face, specifically mentioning employer raids and I-9 audits. The ICE official mentioned the enforcements resulting in civil monetary fines. ICE itself reported that they sent out over 600 audit notices to employers across the country in July 2009. All of these signs point to a need by employers to protect themselves through self-audits, training, and implementing new policies to make sure you are in full compliance with immigration rules.
The most common forms of audits and site visits involve H-1B/Labor Condition Application (LCA) files, by either the Department of Labor, or the US CIS Fraud Detection and National Security unit. Whether you are visit by these officials in person or sent an audit notification, having competent representation on your side can help you deal with enforcement action quickly, accurately, and if possible, in a way that will help minimize any potential penalties. Of course, the best possible defense is to enact policies and train staff in the proper usage of immigration forms to avoid the potential for fines or even jail time.
At Willmoth Immigration Law, LLC, we offer solutions to your business, whether a small employer looking for cost-effective compliance policies and procedures, a larger employer seeking self-audits and a comprehensive system for immigration compliance, or any-sized employer needing representation in response to a site-visit or audit notification.