Author: Melissa A. Silver, XpertHR Legal Editor

As a result of investigations and audits conducted by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), several Massachusetts employers were fined a total of $349,619.54 for fiscal year 2012 for Form I-9 violations.

A news release issued by ICE identifies the names of several of the employers that were fined and the monetary amount fined for those employers. The total fines for these employers is nearly double the amount fined for fiscal year 2011 ($175,420.25) and is a dramatic increase from fiscal years 2009 ($9,753) and 2010 ($67,440). The increase of fines correlates to the increased number of inspections conducted by HSI each year. Specifically, HSI conducted 35 inspections of Massachusetts employers' Form I-9 documents in fiscal year 2012, which is a steady increase from the 30 inspections conducted in fiscal year 2011, the 20 conducted in fiscal year 2010 and the 17 conducted in fiscal year 2009.

In light of the increase of investigations and fines, employers must ensure that they are hiring individuals who are authorized to work in the US.

Additional Resources

Form I-9 and Immigration Issues Resource Center

How to Verify an Employee's Authorization to Work in the US Through the Form I-9 Process

Employment Verification and Required Documentation During the Form I-9 Process - Checklist

Dos and Don'ts Regarding the Form I-9 Process - Chart

Breakdown of the Immigration Reform and Control Act

Recruiting and Hiring > Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas > Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification