WASHINGTON – With the Trump administration signaling its hardline stance on immigration enforcement, it’s vitally important for retailers to be prepared now in case of a future immigration raid. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is no longer only concerned with immigration-related paperwork, but with business owners verifying worker identity and authorization to work in the United States.
This new focus translates into ICE’s new comprehensive worksite strategy that employs a three-pronged approach to address immigration issues: inspections, fines and debarments; arrests of employer and employees; and outreach and education through the IMAGE program.
Retailers should prepare well ahead of an ICE audit by making sure their I-9s are in order for each employee. Retailers can use a paper I-9 or an electronic system. Common compliance issues with I-9s include not personally examining documents or accepting photocopies of documents as proof instead of originals.
Other than having their I-9s in order, ICE looks at other mitigating factors for employers, such as participation in the DHS E-verify program; the level of cooperation with ICE and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents; employers who seek assistance through ICE, such as via IMAGE; and existence of a robust internal immigration compliance program.
With the Trump administration making immigration a top concern, the focus on compliance and enforcement will continue to escalate, especially as immigration reform bills are introduced in Congress. A recent NACS webinar, “How Retailers Can Prepare for Immigration Raids” takes a deeper dive into the issue to help retailers comply with immigration laws and regulations. Visit www.convenience.org/iceraidspreparation to watch.