More Data Pointing To Increase In Government Enforcement Activities

The Bureau of National Affairs recently reported that penalties from worksite enforcement inspections increased five-fold in fiscal year 2010 (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010). Here is a quick snapshot of the last 3 fiscal years:

ICE Activity FY2008 FY2009 FY2010
Form I-9 Inspections 503 1,444 2,000
Criminal Arrests 135 114 170
Final Orders 18 52 214
Penalties $675,209 $1,033,291 $5,300,000

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), inspections and audits flow in large part from leads about employers who allegedly are engaging in hiring unauthorized workers and paying employees unfair wages or otherwise exploiting workers.

With regards to penalties, ICE considers five factors. These include the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of the violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and the history of previous violations.

In another I-9 related development, ICE announced earlier this month that a $1,047,110 fine settlement was reached with Abercrombie & Fitch for I-9 violations. The settlement is the result of a 2008 I-9 inspection of Abercrombie & Fitch's retail stores in Michigan. The audit uncovered numerous deficiencies in Abercrombie & Fitch's electronic I-9 verification system. The company was fully cooperative during the investigation and no instances of the knowing hire of unauthorized aliens were discovered. This settlement should serve as a warning to other companies that may not yet take the employment verification process seriously or provide it the attention it warrants.