The United States government has rules and regulations regarding who you can hire, and how. One of the rules you must follow includes making sure everyone you hire has the legal right to work in the country. Even when an immigrant has the correct documentation to be in the country, it may not be legal for you to hire him or her. The burden falls on you to make sure they have the proper documentation because Immigration and Customs Enforcement can make routine inspections of your workforce.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE inspections may occur randomly, but you will get a notice of inspection before one occurs. The point of the inspection is to verify that you have proper documentation on all workers.

The inspection

When you receive a notice of inspection, you will need to provide ICE with your Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 forms that provide proof that each of your employees can legally work in the U.S. ICE will then review the documentation along with other information about your business to ensure compliance with the law.

The penalties

If you do not have the proper forms for all employees, ICE can arrest employees. It can also levy fines against your business, and you could face arrest and criminal charges for violating the law. However, the prosecution must prove that you hired ineligible workers knowingly.

The goal

ICE’s goal is not simply looking for undocumented immigrants for deportation, although it is inspecting your business to ensure compliance with immigration laws. The agency is also examining your business for safety purposes.

Some employers hire undocumented immigrants solely for the purpose of dodging employment laws because these workers are less likely to report unsafe conditions. So, other potentially illegal activities that federal agents look for in your company include hiring employees who are too young, exploiting workers and paying wages illegally.