Dhs Serves 1000 Critical Infrastructure Employers With I 9 Audit Notices.Doc


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Identifies employers chosen for audits announced by DHS/ICE on 11-19-09

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Dhs Serves 1000 Critical Infrastructure Employers With I 9 Audit Notices.Doc

  1. 1. Keller Heckman | Publications | Client Alert - DHS/ICE Serves 1000 New I-9 Notices of I... Page 1 of 2 Client Alert - DHS/ICE Serves 1000 New I-9 Notices of PEOPLE PRACTICES Inspection on Targeted Critical Infrastructure Partners Employers Mary E. Pivec Nov 23, 2009 Associates Amy L. Blackwood On November 19, 2009, DHS Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, announced that the agency is in the process of serving one thousand I-9 Notices of Inspection accompanied by lengthy administrative subpoenas upon private employers who deliver services related to public safety and critical infrastructure needs, including, by way of example, employers in transportation, chemical manufacturing, food processing, energy production, and cyber infrastructure. The list of subpoenaed documents includes employment records, quarterly employment tax returns, SSA notices of employee account number discrepancies, and business records relating to persons employed through temporary staffing agencies and other independent contractors. Assistant Secretary Morton, a career federal prosecutor, stated that the current round of employers targeted for in-depth immigration compliance audits were selected based on investigative leads suggesting that they are employing undocumented workers -- which poses a potential threat to national security and deprives lawful U.S. workers of valuable employment opportunities. The existence of a past record of investigation for wage and safety violations also was a factor in selection. Many of these private employers hold state and federal maintenance and service delivery contracts. ICE agents and forensic auditors possess broad investigative authority, including authority to demand the appearance of witnesses to provide testimony under oath relating to any violation of U.S. immigration law. Evidence developed in the course of these administrative compliance audits which tends to establish that the employer (through its agents) knew or should have known that it was employing illegal workers (directly or through use of a labor contract) may be used to support http://www.khlaw.com/showpublication.aspx?Show=3308 11/24/2009
  2. 2. Keller Heckman | Publications | Client Alert - DHS/ICE Serves 1000 New I-9 Notices of I... Page 2 of 2 administrative charges, substantial civil money penalties, and federal contract debarment proceedings. In addition, such evidence may be used to support the prosecution of the employing entities, as well as individual owners, managers, officials and employees under a variety of federal criminal felony theories. Conviction of such offenses can result in the imposition of substantial criminal penalties, assets forfeitures, and imprisonment. Because of potential criminal exposure, any employer who is served with a Notice of Inspection for I-9 forms and a related immigration compliance subpoena should seek the advice of competent counsel for the purpose of assessing the company's legal position and identifying the appropriate course of action for responding to the government's inquiries and document production requests. A confidential internal investigation to identify and correct compliance deficiencies, if any, is highly recommended. The current round of I-9 notices and subpoenas follows the announcement of thousands of dollars in fines levied against a group of over 600 employers who received inspection notices in early July 2009. Fine levies have increased dramatically over past years and are being computed based on an entirely new formula aimed at deterring employers from ignoring their I-9 and immigration compliance responsibilities. For additional questions regarding I-9 investigations and immigration compliance audits please contact Mary Pivec at 202-434-4212 or pivec@khlaw.com or Amy Blackwood at 202-434-4118 or blackwood@khlaw.com. Member of WASHINGTON, DC BRUSSELS SAN FRANCISCO SHANGHAI http://www.khlaw.com/showpublication.aspx?Show=3308 11/24/2009