Rural Migration News reports that ICE has increased investigations of employers suspected of hiring unauthorized workers. In the entire 2017 fiscal year there were 1,716 investigations. As of May 4, 2018 there have been 3,510 investigations in FY 2018. Were 5,000 to happen as planned in FY 2018, that is 219% of the FY 2017 figure.
About two-thirds of these workplace investigations involve audits of the I-9 forms completed by newly hired workers and their employers. HSI agents give employers three days to provide their I-9 forms, and sometimes obtain warrants requiring employers to provide copies of the identity and work-authorization documents that were provided by workers when they were hired.
California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) requires employers to demand warrants from ICE agents before allowing them to inspect I-9 forms, to notify their employees of upcoming ICE audits, and inform employees of the outcomes of ICE audits. Employers can be fined $2,000 to $5,000 for the first violation of AB 450, and $5,000 to $10,000 for each additional violation.
After ICE audits, employers receive Notices of Suspect Documents that inform them which workers appear to be unauthorized. Employers must “take action” on suspect employees within 10 days, firing them if they do not clear up discrepancies flagged by ICE. Most workers quit when informed of discrepancies between the documents they presented to employers when hired and the information in government databases.
Form I-9: Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. (from here)