When polled about the top issues impacting their workplace, many in-house counsel, HR professionals, and C-suite executives reported significant concerns about their company’s immigration matters, notes the Littler 2018 Employer Survey.

“Perhaps not surprisingly, immigration policy changes and increased enforcement ranked as the most or second-most concerning workplace issue over the past year for 28% of those surveyed,” notes Hector Galeano, Litler Associate, Jorge Lopez, Littler Shareholder, and Sean McCrory, Littler Associate.

In the survey, a myriad of immigration-related concerns was noted, including visa adjudications restrictions, tighter controls on green cards, and increased workplace immigration enforcement as well as issues regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

These concerns are justified considering the dramatic increase in worksite enforcement investigations by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In fact, ICE opened more than 3500 investigations, initiated nearly 2300 I-9 audits, and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests from Oct. 1, 2017, to May 4, 2018. “That’s roughly double the number of investigations it launched during the last fully completed fiscal year,” states Julie Cook Ramirez.

ICE Acting Director, Thomas Homan, warns that employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers will be prosecuted, with the workers themselves detained and deported.

How does New Jersey compare to the rest of the nation?

New Jersey made the Pew study’s top ten list of regions tallying the largest increase of arrests in fiscal 2017, compared to the previous year. The Newark region, which includes all of New Jersey, ranked 9th with 3189 arrests, an increase of 42%, ahead of New York City with 39% and behind Washington D.C. with 44%.

It’s not the most envious “top ten” list, for sure. But it reinforces the reality that, in this season of intense focus from ICE on accountability, compliance in I-9 employment verification processes is crucial. Being prepared for an audit can’t be overemphasized as it’s the key to avoiding arrests, an interruption in production, as well as a blemished reputation.

Check the HR Center for Excellence by Paycor for suggested strategies that will pave the way toward that goal of 100% compliance.

“If you wait for the Notice of Inspection, it gets to be too late to identify systemic issues in I-9 completion, some of which may be simple mistakes that are inadvertent and could be resolved with training,” says Paul Virtue, a partner at Mayer Brown and former general counsel of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Preparation must include—

  • A team committed to achieving 100% compliance- it’s the only legal and ethical choice
  • A thorough understanding of the compliance requirements
  • Familiarity with the procedure for conducting an internal I-9 audit
  • A proactive mindset

 Don’t make the mistake of waiting until an official notice of inspection or an ICE raid on your company before ensuring all the t’s are crossed, and I’s are dotted. Take “ACTION” and use a staffing company that does it right. The rates may be higher, but the end cost is less.

At Action Staffing, we don’t just fill job orders; we make a big difference every single day for our clients. We know every facet of employment, frontward and backward. A partnership with Action Staffing Group means a win/win for both clients and job seekers. Check us out for yourself.