As of the end of July 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials had issued almost 3,330 Notices of Inspection (NOI) to businesses across the United States. Experts fully expect that number to climb to 5,000 before the end of this ICE audit blitz.
An NOI initiates a government inspection of the I-9 Forms that a company has on file for all its workers to determine if the company is complying with federal laws. The point of these inspections is to ferret out immigrant workers who have no legal authority to work in the U.S. These civil administrative audits are one of many tools that ICE potentially can use to combat unauthorized workers. Other enforcement tactics include civil penalties and criminal prosecution.
ICE issues most NOIs based on tips and leads that they receive stating that a business may be employing unauthorized workers. ICE also appears to be targeting companies with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” immigrant worker policy. Employers always should take these NOIs seriously; in 2017, for instance, Asplundh Tree Expert Co. was ordered to pay $95 million in fines due to its use of unauthorized immigrant workers.
When an employer receives an NOI, it has three days to respond and provide the requested documents to ICE. Upon good cause shown, the employer may ask and receive an extension of this period. According to the NOI, the business must produce valid Forms I-9 for each current worker and each terminated employee during the retention period for the forms. Along with these forms, employers also must provide lists of employees, payroll records, E-Verify information, and more.
Failing to timely or fully complete this task can result in fines of up to roughly $2,300. For each unauthorized worker that ICE finds a business has employed, the penalties can range from about $600 to $23,000 per worker.
Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.