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Monday, November 23, 2009

DHS Announces New Wave of Critical Infrastructure I-9 Audits

by Tina Brockmann

On November 19, 2009 the Department of Homeland Security announced that it had issued 1,000 I-9 audit notices to employers in critical infrastructure industries.

Back in July, 2009, DHS sent out 654 I-9 audit notices to employers across the US. During I-9 audits ICE agents review the I-9 forms that employers are required to verify and maintain for every newly-hired U.S. employee.

DHS Assistant Secretary John Morton announced that the newest wave of audit notices were directed at employers were selected based on their industry of public safety and national security. Following the INS/DHS reorganization in 2002, there was a series of investigations into employer hiring practices at critical infrastructure sites including Operation Tarmac (airports) and Operation Glow Worm (nuclear power plants). ICE has also turned its enforcement attention to utility companies, chemical plants, military bases, and defense subcontractors.

This latest wave of audit notices is significant since Morton also announced that 45 employers had been debarred from government contracts in 2009. Government contractors and subcontractors and other employers in critical infrastructure industries are advised to consider external, private I-9 audits to assess their potential liability and possible remediation.