The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced April 30 that it is shifting the focus of its worksite enforcement strategy to target employers that hire undocumented workers instead of the workers themselves. While it isn't clear what this will mean, labor and employment experts suggest that employers review their company's policies and practices to make sure they won't find immigration enforcement officers at their door (read "Policy Puzzle"). They specifically recommend scrutinizing how the human resources department handles I-9 forms, required to verify employment eligibility for all employees.
"For the past several years, the government has been going after illegal workers," says John Nahajzer, co-managing partner at Maggio & Kattar. "The old system was to review the I-9 forms to get information on [illegal] employees. If they found something egregious [in the employer's files], there would be fines, but they have allowed employers to correct little paperwork errors." But with the government focus now on employers, Nahajzer and other labor and employment attorneys expect a crackdown on those whose I-9 files are not in order.