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Washington Labor & Employment Wire » DHS Announces “I E-Verify” Campaign, Issuance of 1,000 Notices of Inspection and Extension of E-Verify Program

DHS Announces “I E-Verify” Campaign, Issuance of 1,000 Notices of Inspection and Extension of E-Verify Program


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On November 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its new “I E-Verify” campaign, which provides recognition to businesses that use E-Verify to maintain a legal workforce. E-Verify is a free internet-based system administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), that compares information from an employee’s I-9 Form against federal government databases to verify employment eligibility.

To be recognized under the “I E-Verify” program “[m]ember companies must enroll in E-Verify, undergo an I-9 audit, adhere to IMAGE best hiring practices and sign an official IMAGE partnership agreement with [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)].” IMAGE, or “ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers,” assists employers in developing more secure and stable workforces through education and training on proper hiring procedures and techniques for identify fraudulent immigration documentation.

According to Secretary Napolitano, “[t]he ‘I E-Verify’ program will let consumers know which businesses are working hard to follow the law and are committed to protecting employment opportunities.” DHS stated that nearly 170,000 employers currently participate in E-Verify and almost eight million queries have been processed since January 2009. In a separate announcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that almost 97 percent of all E-Verify queries are now automatically confirmed without the need for employee action or follow up.

Additionally, on November 19 Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton announced the issuance of 1,000 notices of inspection. These notices informed employers across the country of ICE’s intention to audit their hiring records and examine their compliance with employment eligibility verification laws. Such audits include comprehensive reviews of employers’ I-9 forms. This most recent en masse issuance of inspection notices is the largest in history, and comes just months after ICE issued over 650 notices of inspection this past July, which at the time was the largest such issuance of inspection notices.

ICE explained that “protecting employment opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce and targeting employers who knowingly employ an illegal workforce are major ICE priorities.” Previously, on April 30, 2009, DHS issued updated enforcement guidelines to its ICE agents. Under these updated guidelines, ICE stated its intent to focus worksite enforcement program resources on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. DHS announced that by prioritizing criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly “cultivate illegal workplaces,” ICE will “target the root cause of illegal immigration.”

On November 23, 2009, USCIS also announced that with the October 28 signing of the DHS Appropriations Act of 2010 by President Obama, E-Verify, among other USCIS programs, would be extended until September 30, 2012.