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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. ICE Planning Worksite Enforcement Operation against National Food Service Chain

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning to conduct a major worksite enforcement operation against an unknown national food service chain in the next few weeks, according to an internal ICE document reviewed by Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast.

    It is unknown whether this action will be a raid or other type of ICE operation. If it is a raid, it will be a sign that the Trump Administration is returning to raids on employers. The last major raid occurred at Howard Industries in Laurel, Mississippi in August 2008. After the Laurel raid at the end of President George W. Bush’s term, ICE stopped conducting raids, presumably due to the high cost and the difficulty in conducting a surprise raid.

    According to an anonymous ICE official (he was not permitted to discuss impending operations on the record) that The Daily Beast spoke to, the current plan is focused on employers across the nation, who are “harboring illegal aliens,” by illegally paying below the minimum wage.

    ICE’s planned action is not unexpected given the Trump Administration’s increased enforcement of other aspects of immigration enforcement. Recently, Tom Homan, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to increase "by four to five times" worksite enforcement actions in 2018. Homan also stated, "We've already increased the number of inspections in worksite operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year."

    Additionally, in marked contrast to previous administrations’ worksite enforcement operations, Homan said "We're going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers" as “that is our job.” Furthermore, Homan stated ICE is going to strongly prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrant workers, in addition to deporting their undocumented workers. The anonymous ICE official said undocumented workers who cooperate with the agency could potentially be eligible for U visas, which provides non-immigrant visas to remain in the United States to victims of crimes, who cooperate in an investigation and testify at a trial, if necessary, against their employers.

    Even if this major raid occurs, is this just as a show of force on this occasion for the sake of publicity or a full swing back to numerous ICE raids on employers? Only time will tell.

    For a review of ICE’s criminal actions against employers as well as other employer immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  2. ICE Increasing its ICE Inspections by 4 to 5 times Current Level

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law
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    In a speech to the Heritage Foundation on October 17, Tom Homan, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE which conducts I-9 Inspections/Audits, to increase "by four to five times" worksite enforcement actions in 2018.

    Homan also stated, "We've already increased the number of inspections in worksite operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year." Homan said HSI’s goal is to remove the "magnet" drawing people to enter the US illegally.

    Homan’s statement was not unexpected given the Trump Administration’s increased enforcement of other aspects of immigration enforcement. Although earlier in 2017, ICE stated it had not increased the number of I-9 Inspections/Audits from the last year of the Obama Administration, it was just a matter of time before increases occurred. I have been warning employers and employer associations of the strong likelihood of increased I-9 Inspections/Audits.

    When worksite enforcement actions (I-9 Inspections/Audits) increase by four to five times, we could see over 6,500 I-9 Inspections/Audits per fiscal year. This would be more than double the number that the Obama Administration conducted in any year.

    Additionally, in marked contrast to earlier I-9 Inspections/Audits, Homan said "We're going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers" as “that is our job.” Furthermore, Homan stated ICE is going to strongly prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrant workers, in addition to deporting their undocumented workers.

    Over the past 10 years, when ICE has found undocumented workers at an employer’s worksites through analysis of employer’s I-9 forms, it would issue a Notice of Suspect Documents to the employer. It then instructed the employer to notify these workers and give them the opportunity to provide “newer and better documents” to prove their work authorization. If workers did not do so, ICE instructed employers to terminate those employees or face penalties for knowingly employing undocumented workers. However, ICE never went to the worksites to detain those workers who did not have valid work authorization. Interestingly, many undocumented workers thought ICE would detain them so they quit when their employer stated ICE said their documents did not establish work authorization.

    This increased step of detaining undocumented workers at an employer’s worksites had been anticipated due to the fact it is an easy method to vastly increase individuals for deportation. It will be interesting to see at what point ICE raids the employer to detain workers on the Notice of Suspect Documents – at the time of its issuance or after the employees have attempted to provide new documentation.

    For a review of ICE Inspections and how to conduct an internal I-9 audit in advance of an ICE inspection as well as other employer immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  3. ICE’s Enforcement Statistics Show Increases in Fines

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser PC

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    The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report reviewing performance measures of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As you can see below, before FY 2008, when ICE introduced its Culture of Compliance - emphasizing inspections/audits of employers’ I-9 forms, ICE assessed few, if any, fines against employers.

    Final Orders and Civil Fines – FY 2006-2014


    Fiscal Year Final Orders Issued Civil Fines Imposed

    2006 0 $0
    2007 2 $26,560
    2008 18 $675,209
    2009 52 $1,033,291
    2010 237 $6,956,026
    2011 385 $10,463,988
    2012 495 $12,475,575
    2013 637 $15,808,365
    2014 642 $16,275,821

    To date in FY 2015, ICE is on pace to match the approximately $16 million in civil fines imposed in FY 2014.

    Criminal Fines and Forfeitures, Worksite Enforcement Investigations, FY2006-2014

    Fiscal Year Criminal Fines and Forfeitures Imposed

    2006 $233,044
    2007 $31,426,443
    2008 $21,978,918
    2009 $31,244,945
    2010 $36,611,320
    2011 $7,189,631
    2012 $14,205,865
    2013 $2,245,366
    2014 $35,131,058

    As you can see below, criminal indictments and convictions have varied over the past 10 years with the high point being FY 2008.

    Criminal Indictments and Convictions, Worksite Enforcement - FY 2006-2014

    Fiscal Year Indictments Convictions

    2006 411 340
    2007 750 561
    2008 900 908
    2009 292 287
    2010 309 282
    2011 347 364
    2012 318 292
    2013 296 319
    2014 327 312

    I expect the criminal indictments will be increasing in FY 2015 due to ICE’s renewed emphasis on seeking criminal indictments, fines, and forfeitures.

    Updated 07-22-2015 at 10:19 AM by BBuchanan (Formatting)

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  4. Arizona Businessman and Managers Sentenced for Immigration Violations

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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    The former owner of Danny’s Family Car Wash and more than a dozen of the company’s former managers and supervisors, were sentenced in federal court in Arizona last month. The defendants pleaded guilty to their roles in a multi-year corporate scheme involving identity theft to employ undocumented immigrants.

    The investigation into the company was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and resulted in the arrest of more than 30 suspects including operators, managers, and employees connected with Danny’s Family Car Wash.

    Beginning in April 2011, the car wash was audited by ICE HSI agents and forced to terminate over 900 employees after the audit found employees had presented fraudulent, insufficient, or ineligible documents at the time of their initial hire. The company attempted to replace the 900 employees with individuals who were authorized to work, but according to ICE those legal replacements were “too expensive” and the car wash’s owner, Danny Hendon, instructed his managers to “bring back” the old employees.

    As a result, Danny’s Family Car Wash was found to have engaged in a multi-year, company-wide scheme to rehire undocumented immigrants using stolen identities in order to pass E-Verify checks. The scheme continued until August 2013, when ICE HSI special agents executed search warrants at the car wash’s corporate headquarters and at various worksite locations. Over 230 unauthorized aliens were found working at the car wash’s locations on the day of the search.

    Danny’s Family Carwash owner, Danny Hendon, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and one year of home confinement. The corporate entities that composed the car wash chain forfeited bank accounts totaling $156,295.77, and Hendon agreed to divest himself of any future ownership, managerial or profit-sharing interest in the organization. The other defendants received sentences ranging from probation to three months in prison.

    This case is reminiscent of the Grand America Hotel and Waste Disposal cases in which company managers rehired unauthorized employees following compliance audits.

    A copy of the press release from ICE HSI can be found here.

    Cite as United States v. Danny’s Management Services LLC, et al., No. 13-CR-01143-PHX-NVW (D. Ariz.)
  5. ICE is Cross Training its Attorneys for Compliance Cases; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind

    [FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000]Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently begun to cross-train its attorneys. Specifically, ICE attorneys, who have been handling Immigrant Court cases and other matters, are receiving training in ICE’s worksite enforcement duties. This training involves one–week classes and/or observing ICE worksite enforcement attorneys. What does this mean for ICE’s worksite enforcement work? To me, it implies that ICE is getting ready to increase its enforcement activities and needs more attorneys familiar with this work. Time will tell if this is correct.
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