Am I Responsible for Enforcing Immigration Laws?
Here at Guest & Gray, we have experienced immigration and business law attorneys that work tirelessly to help employers both large and small run their businesses, and steer clear of unnecessary enforcement actions. One of the most frequently asked questions our lawyers get when talking with their clients about how to avoid unnecessary legal headaches “how responsible am I for my employees’ immigration status?”
It is hard not to feel sympathetic for those that want to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their family. But you also worry about yourself, and your business, and how to keep the doors open and food on your table. After all, you are just a business owner, the only thing you should be worried about is your bottom line, right? It can be difficult to know what the right thing to do is.
But the very first thing, we have to agree on, although difficult at times and unfair it may seem, you as an employer are responsible for increasing immigration laws.What’s an I-9
In 1986, when Congress mandated I-9 forms, they made it the responsibility of every business owner and employer to confirm the legal status and ability to work of every employee they hire.
An I-9 is a form provided by the Federal Government that employers are to use to verify that their employees have legal status to work in the United States. When your employee is filing out their I-9 they are attesting to that legal right to work in the United States, and providing you with proof of documentation of their right to do so. I-9 forms must be completed by citizens and non-citizens alike. Employers are to provide all employees with a form and access to the Table which shows the forms of identification which may be acceptable to prove work authorization, which can be found on the back of the form. Employers must review the documentation provided by the employee, and make sure that it appears genuine, and that it matches the information provided by the employee on the I-9. This form must be completed within 3 days of the employee beginning work for the employer. The employer is responsible for maintaining good I-9 records, and must hold onto the forms for a certain amount of time depending on whether the employee is fired, or resigns or retires, or is still employed, even if a new one is created and completed.
Because you can be subject to ciil and criminal fines and fees, as well as possible jail-time for not complying with I-9 requirements for each of your employees, it is vitally important that all business owners take the time to appraise themselves of I-9 rules and regulations.
Here at Guest & Gray we have experienced immigration and business law attorneys who can help your company train its supervisors and managers in I-9 compliance rules. We can help you protect against I-9 audits and possible enforcement actions as well. If your business is concerned about I-9 issues, please give us a call.