ICE Levees Hefty Fines to Small Companies for Paperwork Errors

“Employers need to understand that the integrity of their employment records are as important to the federal government as the integrity of their tax files or banking records. Much like the IRS uses audits as a deterrent strategy to prevent people from falsifying tax records, part of our strategy in conducting audits is to encourage businesses to comply with the law.” – Danielle Bennett, ICE Spokesperson

Subway, Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants and Infosys Limited are just a few of the large companies that have been fined huge amounts due to violations discovered by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement) audits. Although, these fines made the headlines, it does not reflect the hundreds of small companies that received hefty fines. These fines were delivered mostly for paperwork errors and not for hiring illegal immigrants. If fact, when comparing the size of the companies, the fines for the smaller business owners were a greater percentage of annual receipts than the fines levied on Fortune 500 companies.

An analysis conducted by the Houston Chronicle of nearly 800 ICE audit cases – a majority were small companies – showed that “roughly half of the 117 companies fined were not specifically penalized for hiring illegal immigrants, but for problems with the employment verification paperwork they are required to fill out for new hires.”

In fact, of the $1.8 million fines reviewed in this study, the audits determined that one third of the companies fined had no workers with suspect documentation. Thus, the fines were for clerical errors. Furthermore, ICE also sought criminal charges or debarment from future government contracts in a handful of cases included in the records.

“The fines for poor bookkeeping are part of an overall “deterrent strategy” to keep employers from hiring illegal immigrants,” ICE officials said.

The GSN Solution

A minor mistake, a careless oversight or a small violation may not seem important, but when it comes to the Form I-9 and its verification process these trivial errors have cost employers millions of dollars in fines, penalties, lawyer fees and lost time. As a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), Global Safety Network (GSN) understands, follows and advises our clients on compliance and regulations while establishing a legally defensible process to ensure that even the small errors won’t cost you big bucks. Call GSN today to learn more about our I-9 and eVerify Solutions customized for your business and industry.

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