Immigration Compliance - Worksite Enforcement Services

Employers have witnessed a dramatic shift in immigration worksite enforcement since 2006. Indeed, while the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) has existed since 1986, the law went largely unenforced for years. But, in the wake of 9/11 and failed attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform, President George W. Bush began an aggressive campaign to enforce IRCA in 2006.

Not only do employers now face increased worksite enforcement, they also confront a maze of new regulations and potential penalties imposed by a patchwork of state laws and federal regulations.

Barnes & Thornburg’s Labor & Employment Department has an experienced team to assist clients with immigration compliance. The immigration compliance team, which includes lawyers skilled in labor and employment, immigration and white collar criminal defense matters, takes a multi-faceted approach to helping employers navigate this area.

Employers may be aware of the highly publicized workplace raids performed by the Bureau of Immigration Enforcement (ICE) that have often led to large civil fines and federal criminal charges. Employers, business owners and human resources managers are among those being charged by the Department of Justice with either a pattern and practice of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers or felony criminal charges such as harboring illegal aliens, money laundering and document fraud. The number of I-9 audits also has increased, which have also led to significant civil fines and criminal charges.

We have developed an Immigration Compliance Program to help reduce employers’ risk of incurring the civil and criminal penalties associated with the government’s enforcement strategy. This program provides employers with:

  • a state-of-the-art immigration compliance policy
  • step-by-step procedures for completing the I-9 Form, responding to no match letters, conducting an internal I-9 audit and responding to a government raid or audit
  • a “boot camp” for personnel who manage immigration compliance

We also have taken a leadership role in educating employers about the changing immigration compliance landscape through our Labor Alerts and by giving numerous presentations on the topic.

Even well-prepared employers may become the target of an ICE audit or raid. If that happens, employers are in good hands with Barnes & Thornburg’s immigration compliance team.