US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fined a Missouri poultry plant $450,000 for I-9 violations following a worksite enforcement investigation. ICE arrested more than 130 employees who were not authorized to work in the United States. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to train its human resource personnel on how to avoid hiring undocumented workers, and to establish a compliance program to ensure that its hiring and employment practices are consistent with US law. In addition to the I-9 paperwork violations and violations for knowingly employing undocumented workers, two of the company’s employees were convicted of harboring undocumented workers and inducing illegal aliens to remain in the United States.
With increased worksite investigations, employers should periodically conduct internal I-9 audits, and review its compliance procedures with appropriate personnel to minimize any type of fines that could be assessed in the event of a government investigation.