How to ICE-Proof Your Business in 2019

by Bridget Sharkey

President Trump has made global headlines with his tweets which pledging to build a border wall at Mexico’s expense. Meanwhile immigration crackdowns at places of business will no doubt continue to increase during 2019. 

In fact, ICE reports a 650 percent surge in workplace arrests since Trump became president, according to a recent article in Newsweek. 

“Employment audits are part of President Donald Trump›s commitment to changing the face of immigration policy in this country,” says Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and president of Employco USA. “Businesses need to realize that this administration is taking immigration records very seriously, and if they fail to produce the proper paperwork when questioned, they could face fines or even criminal charges.”

Warning that President Trump is going to start by cracking down in places that are known to have a history of undocumented workers, Wilson says, “He’s going to be tough on employers. Unlike past administrations which focused more on the workers themselves, Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, promises a significant increase on worksite raids and he says that they will prosecute those who knowingly hire undocumented workers.”

Wilson offers the following suggestion to businesses, to ensure their operations are “ICE-proof”:

“The most important step is to ensure that Forms I-9 are properly created when a worker is first hired,” Wilson says, noting that Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and ability of people to work in the United States. “Staff should receive training to learn how to legally complete the form, inspect the person’s documents (e.g., driver’s license), and answer employee questions.”

Employers should also periodically coordinate Form I-9 self-audits to be conducted by a neutral and knowledgeable employee or vendor who are not part of the regular process. “These audits will surface deficiencies with the actual Forms I-9 or the process itself. If problems are discovered, the staff may need additional training,” Wilson explains.

“To complete the preparation, companies should also create inspection and raid day plans.” While noting that, in some circumstances, the company can deny ICE immediate access to their private property and Forms I-9, Wilson advises businesses to prepare everyone, from the receptionist to the HR personnel to the CEO, to be ready for possible scenarios in which ICE presents a criminal search warrant, administrative arrest warrant, or inspection notice.

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