J. Kent's Blog - Articles for Employers and Job Seekers

Increased ICE Form I-9 Audits – Is Your Company Prepared?

Posted by: Emma Berdanier on August 7th, 2019

In our current political climate, more and more power has been given to U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The government ordered ICE agents to serve more Notices of Inspection (NOI) to businesses across the country to audit their Form I-9 records, and thousands have been served this year alone.

An NOI initiates a government administrative inspection of a company’s I-9 Forms to determine whether the business is complying with the current laws regarding the processing and maintaining of these forms.

These infractions incur steep penalties. For example, harsh fines and even criminal prosecution. Employers may also be subject to debarment by ICE, meaning they can’t participate in federal contracts or receive other government benefits. Below is a list of the common fines for Form I-9 violations:

Preparing Your Form I-9 Records for an NOI

When an employer receives an NOI they have just 3 days to send over the requested paperwork and files to ICE to comply with the order. With only 3 days to prepare, companies must prepare for an NOI to be served. Some steps to take to be proactive would be to:

Dealing with ICE & the Form I-9

If ICE comes knocking on your door, remember and assert your rights. The key rights to maintain during an ICE visit are:

Another key thing to do during an ICE visit is to contact an attorney immediately so that they can assist you throughout the process. You can wait to speak with the ICE agents until your attorney arrives, ensuring that you have someone with knowledge and experience guiding your team through the process. With the limited time given once you receive an NOI, identifying an immigration attorney ahead of time is a smart tactic.


Right now, any company, regardless of size, is susceptible to an ICE audit. Employers need to prepare for this to happen and have a plan in place of what to do should this occur. This preparation should include having an immigration attorney on retainer, who can assist your company should this occur.


Although the current Form I-9 expired on the 31st of August this year, you are still to continue using this version of the form as the federal government has yet to release a new form.