While there’s nothing you can do as an employer to keep any of your workers from being swept up in an immigration raid, there are some things you can do to protect yourself. According to Kelly Forteir, an immigration lawyer with Michael Best, the most proactive step you can take to avoid immigration fines or penalties is to audit your I-9 forms.
Inspect your forms for errors. If you find mistakes, it’s important to immediately correct them. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, there are three steps to correcting information on the Form I-9: Draw a line through the incorrect information, enter the correct information and then initial and date the correction. Don’t use correction ink to fix errors on the forms. If the corrections are extensive, a new Form I-9 can be filled out and stapled to the original.
Common Errors to Watch for and Correct
Employees most often make these errors in Section 1:
- Doesn’t enter name, other last names used, address or birthdate.
- Doesn’t enter a USCIS number after selecting “A lawful permanent resident” or “An alien authorized to work until.”
- Doesn’t sign or date the attestation.
- Doesn’t complete Section 1 by the first day on the job.
- Doesn’t check the box “I did not use a preparer or translator” (if applicable).
Translators can make mistakes the employer will be fined for, so it’s important to check that portion of Section 1 too. Here’s what USCIS says to watch for:
- Doesn’t check the box “A preparer and/or translator assisted the employee in completing Section 1.”
- Translator for the employee doesn’t enter his or her name, address or signature in the translator certification box (if applicable).
- Doesn’t enter date in the translator certification box.
Don’t forget to audit the section you, as the employer, are required to fill out. Here are a few common mistakes made in Section 2:
- Doesn’t enter the employee’s last or first name, middle initial and citizenship status in the “employee info from Section 1” area at the top of Section 2.
- Doesn’t enter an acceptable List A document or acceptable List B and List C documents on the form.
- Doesn’t enter the document title, issuing authority, numbers or expiration date for the documentation.
- Doesn’t enter the date employment began.
- Doesn’t complete Section 2 by the third business day after the date the employee began employment.
Other Helpful Tips
- Make sure information on the form is clear and can be read.
- Ensure the date entered in Section 2 as the date employment began matches the date in payroll records.
- Copies of the documentation retained with Form I-9 are legible, if copies are made.
- Employees are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner.