Update On Current Immigration-Related Workplace Enforcement Initatives And Practical Compliance Advice
AmericanHort offers the following updated guidance with regard to enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for immigration-related workplace compliance. This update comes at a moment of extraordinary transformation in immigration enforcement. The change in the preceding 4 years since the most recent update will likely be less than the change in the coming months and years. Throughout these changes, an employer’s essential rights and responsibilities have remained constant, however, and this memo speaks to those and suggests “best practices” for employer compliance and successful audits.
In the past decade, under three different administrations, the I-9 Form has undergone multiple revisions, and ICE has shifted its enforcement strategies from raids to audits and now back to raids. Agricultural employers were once targeted by ICE before priorities were directed to other industries, but ICE has once again turned its attention to agriculture. It is important to remember the scope of ICE’s reach – even before President Trump requested to triple ICE’s workforce. For as frequently as agricultural employers, and particularly H-2A employers are audited by DOL’s Wage & Hour Division, there are more than 10 times as many investigators at ICE (almost 20,000) as there are at WHD the (around 1750). ICE is a muscular agency looking to increase its enforcement efforts.
By the time of the next revision to this document, we will know more about the new administration’s enforcement priorities and preferences, but here is an overview of recent history and a discussion of general immigration compliance advice.