Once again, the Department of Homeland Security is using otherwise innocent employers to do its dirty work, at no small risk to the job-creators:
The Department of Homeland Security has issued new and revised I-9 Forms that employers must begin using on May 7 for all new hires. Failure to properly complete and retain the new forms can result in substantial fines and penalties. With immigration being a hot issue in Washington, we should expect that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be vigilant in conducting audits to enforce the I-9 requirements. Beware of ICE!Responsibility-shifting, revenue-raising, and transporting ineffectiveness -- what's not to love?
ICE will continue to focus its resources on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal workers. Audits of employers for compliance with I-9 requirements is the principal tool for ICE to identify and prosecute violators. Unfortunately, those audits often result not in prosecution for hiring illegals, but in the imposition of substantial fines for paperwork and retention mistakes even where such mistakes have nothing to do with the employment of illegal aliens. Under the matrix used for calculating fines, ICE punishes employers based on the percentage of Forms handled improperly, which means that an employer could be fined more than $1,000 per Form if it makes the same mistake in completing or maintaining the Forms for each new hire, even if there are no illegal employees and the mistakes are merely inadvertent or negligent errors.
And people wonder why employment growth is so sluggish.