Protect Yourself From An ICE Audit with These 7 Steps

About 6 min

Protect Yourself From An ICE Audit with These 7 Steps


How well do you understand I-9 requirements and the risks associated with making even the most innocent mistakes?

Sathab Abbo, Corporate Immigration Council for i9 Advantage, talks with us about about the importance of understanding the Form I-9 and what to do to avoid an ICE audit.

Sathab Abbo, Corporate Immigration Council for i9 Advantage spoke with the Screening News Network about the importance of understanding the Form I-9.

"Overwhelmingly, we are finding that most employers don’t have a solid understanding of the form i-9 and may not necessarily know the risks and the liability that goes along with not being compliant with the form i-9."

Many employers think they are NOT a target for an ICE audit… but all companies have risk…

"We are finding that both small companies and large companies are susceptible to audit and that there is no industry that is immune to an ice audit. So it exists in retail, it exists in staffing; it exists in hospitality, in restaurants and so forth. There are both mom and pop shops that are being raided because of unlawful practices as they relate to immigration, completion of the form I9 and also hiring or continuing to hire unauthorized workers. And that’s also the case in large corporations, so ice doesn’t discriminate based on the size of company or corporation that it investigates for I9 practices."

Remote Hiring: A HUGE I-9 Challenge for Employers

"They are finding challenges as it relates to companies doing an increase in remote hiring for client sites, for satellite offices, How do we get that done in 3 days? That is a pressing issue for a lot of employers now."

Should these employers depend on E-Verify or a 3rd party to handle their I-9s?

"The first thing to remember is that Everify is not in any way a replacement for the form i-9. The Form i-9 is mandatory for all employers in the United States. Everify is used as a tool, or as a method to enhance and supplement the form i-9, more importantly, to provide a more immediate employment eligibility verification, of sorts. So coupled with the form I-9- they partner really well together. However, when you have a third party program, primarily in electronic form i9 solution, that not only is designed to do data verification for the fields and the values that exist in the form i9, but it enables you index and search for information. It allows both the employer and the employee to upload information and data and supporting documents electronically for storage purposes, you can generate reports, you can modify any of the sections and re-verify and rehire in section 3. Any actions that are taken in the form i9 are recorded according to the user and the steps that are performed and then they are rendered in the audit trail."

"There are validation in place in all of the fields in electronic solutions that eliminate that concept of human error. So if an individual is performing or is completing a form i9 they might skip over field, ignore something or say, you know, I’ll come back to this and forget to do so. So that can rise to what is deemed a technical or substantive violation and be fined accordingly. With an i9 solution, there’s no avoiding that, the fields are in place and are mandated so you are forced to enter a value for that field whether through a drop down list or by entering in a value. And there is a value –data vilification, rather, that the value that you entered is compliant with what USCIS is looking for."

These seven steps can protect against an ICE audit and fines:

  • Do Annual Self Audits
  • Be Consistent
  • Be Unbiased
  • Check every field for dates, signatures, etc. in both section 1 and 2
  • Ensure you are keeping the same documents for all employees
  • Sign and date any corrections to show good faith effort
  • Keep I-9 paperwork separate from employees’ HR files

Click Here for more information on EBI's electronic I-9 solutions for your business.

Stay up-to-date on Employment Laws & Regulations with EBI's Screening News Network.