U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced it has doubled the amount of ongoing worksite cases this fiscal year compared with the last fully completed fiscal year, according to www.constructiondive.com.
From Oct. 1, 2017, through May 4, ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened 3,510 worksite investigations, initiated 2,282 I-9 audits and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests. During fiscal year 2017, which was October 2016 to September 2017, HSI opened 1,716 worksite investigations, initiated 1,360 I-9 audits, and made 139 criminal and 172 administrative worksite-related arrests.
HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Derek N. Benner said in a statement that the agency's worksite enforcement strategy continues to focus on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly break the law, as well as the use of I-9 audits and civil fines to encourage compliance.
In October 2017, ICE announced it planned to increase worksite investigations by four- or five-fold and has since undertaken several high-profile raids.
Employers have been encouraged to conduct self-audits of their Form I-9 processes and train front-facing employees regarding what to say or do if federal agents visit the worksite.
Some states have taken action against such efforts; California enacted a law prohibiting employers from providing "voluntary consent" to a federal immigration enforcement agent's request to enter nonpublic work areas and was sued by the federal government for allegedly intentionally obstructing the enforcement of federal immigration law.