News

Skoler Abbott Launches New Immigration Law Blog

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.

February 6, 2018

We are excited to announce that Skoler Abbott has launched The Immigration @ Work, a blog dedicated to immigration-related issues in the workplace. With the increased focus on the employment of foreign workers, we decided to make sure that our clients keep abreast of the latest developments in this area of the law as well as best practices.  We encourage all of you to subscribe to the new blog at the above link, or by sending an email to gspielberger@skoler-abbott.com.

As a preview of what's to come on the new blog, here is an immigration related post about a recent ICE raid of 7-Eleven stores that should serve as a warning to all employers:

We can't say it enough.  Not employing foreign workers should not make your organization breathe a sigh of relief that it won't have to deal with government raids designed to insure workplace compliance with immigration laws.  Back in July, we blogged about the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division's anticipated increase in enforcing laws that prohibit the employment of undocumented workers.  On January 10, 2018, ICE issued a press release that now provides employers with specific guidance on what will be its comprehensive worksite enforcement strategy.  The enforcement efforts will be three-fold and includes putting a halt to non-compliance by conducting I-9 inspections; arresting employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers (and arresting the undocumented workers themselves); and, providing outreach to instill a culture of compliance and accountability through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program.

At the crack of dawn on the same day ICE issued its press release, immigration agents raided approximately one-hundred 7-Eleven stores across 17 states.  ICE served audit notices, conducted interviews of employees and management, and arrested numerous workers.  More arrests and fines - as well as possible criminal convictions -- are expected to follow.  ICE's actions should be taken as a warning to employers:  If you employee undocumented workers, you will be held accountable.  The raid of 7-Eleven stores was just a preview to things to come.    To be clear-ICE's broad enforcement efforts aren't likely be limited to only big-name companies.

So what's your risk?  Being (fairly) certain that your organization only employs U.S. citizens and foreign workers who have valid employment authorization should not put your mind at ease.  ICE has geared up for broadly sweeping compliance inspections, and your company could be subject to one of them.  It's the rare employer that does not have at least a couple of I-9 errors, and employers should conduct audits of their I-9s (or have their attorney do so) as well as know what to do and what their rights are when ICE comes knocking.  It's time to take proactive measures to reduce your organization's risk of facing penalties, fines, and perhaps even arrests.