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Don’t Forget to Register for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Instructional Seminar

I-9 form

Raymond G. Lahoud, will present the “Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Instructional Seminar” sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

This free seminar is for human resource professionals, business owners, compliance officers, management, and administrators at organizations and companies in every industry, and of every size. Lahoud will teach the audience how to complete the I-9 process correctly to avoid getting audited.

When: Friday, April 13, 2018

10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where: Penn State Lehigh Valley Campus

2809 Saucon Valley Road

Center Valley, PA 18034

To learn more and register, please click here.

The importance of being immigration compliant is at an all-time high. Trump Administration Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Karen Homan has this warning for all employers, regardless of size, industry, or location:

“We’re taking worksite enforcement very hard this year.  We’ve already increased the number of inspections and worksite operations; you’re going to see that significantly increase this fiscal year.  As long as they think they can come here and get U.S. citizenship and not get removed, they’re going to keep coming. . . as long as they can come here and get a job, they’re going to try and come.  When we find you at a work site, we’re no longer going to turn our heads.  We’ll go after the employer who knowingly hires an illegal alien but we’re always going to arrest a person who is here illegally.  That is our job.”

Director Homan was not kidding.  ICE really is doing its job.  Reports show a 500% increase in worksite inspections and a 2000% increase in collected fines and settlements from January to December of 2017, when compared to the previous year.  In the Lehigh Valley, ICE and Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division worksite inspections, audits, and raids have grown exponentially.  Often, when an ICE agent randomly walks into a local business, hands over a paper, and makes the request to review each employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), it appears as nothing more than an insignificant regulatory inspection.  The consequences are anything but insignificant.

ANY Form I-9 error, regardless of the employee’s ability to lawfully work in the United States, is a violation.  And, ALL violations are penalized.  The penalties, particularly when aggregated, can be severe.  Further, the Administration has directed ICE to impose the maximum penalties and to refer more compliance violations for criminal prosecution.  For instance, in October 2017, a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania tree removal company was fined $95 million, with several executives, managers, and administrators facing years in prison for employer immigration compliance violations.  And, in January 2018, a Lehigh Valley manufacturer agreed to a several-hundred-thousand-dollar settlement to close a Form I-9 investigation triggered by a random worksite inspection.  In December 2017, a $600,000 settlement for an Eastern Pennsylvania pharmaceutical group for H1B and L-1 visa violations followed a random DOL worksite visit.  Panda Express was fined $400,000 in June 2017.  Hundreds of 7-11’s across the United States were raided or issued inspection notices last month.  The list goes on and is only growing in number and expanding in scope.

Every employer—whether of one or one thousand employees—must be Form I-9 compliant.  The defenses are limited; a violation is a violation.  The best defense is proactive action, remediation, and training.  Only with that can an employer avoid the years of investigations, fines, and criminal penalties.

To learn more about this or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact me, Raymond G. Lahoud, at rglahoud@nmmlaw.com