Increased Fines for Violations of Immigration Law as of August 2016
Penalties for violations of immigration law increased on August 1, 2016 after the Department of Justice issued an interim final rule as an inflation adjustment. The rule increased fines for Form I-9 paperwork violations, for engaging in unfair immigration-related employment practices such as discrimination, document abuse and document fraud, and for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ an unauthorized worker. These categories of activity were originally outlawed in The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Form I-9 Paperwork Violations What this is: Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of anyone hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must have a complete I-9 for each individual they hire whether a citizen or noncitizen. To complete the I-9, the employee must attest to his employment authorization and show her employer documents that prove her identity and ability to work in the United States. What the previous fine was: $110 - $1,100 per violation What the new fine is: $216 - $2,156 per violation Unfair Employment Practice: Committing or Participating in Document Fraud What this is: Document Fraud is the forgery, counterfeit, or alteration of any document for the purpose of complying with Immigration law regarding the employment of aliens. What the previous fine was: $250 - $2,000 What the new fine is: $376 - $3,005 Unfair Employment Practice: Discrimination What this is: There are several types of discriminatory unfair employment practices. Employers are not allowed to treat individuals differently based on their immigration or citizenship status. Citizens, temporary residents, refugees, and recent permanent residents are protected from citizenship status discrimination. However, citizenship status discrimination that is required to comply with laws or regulations are permissible by law (such as not hiring immigrants without appropriate proof of their employment authorization). Employers are also not allowed to treat individuals differently because of their country of origin, place of birth, native language, accent, or ancestry. All work authorized individuals, citizens, and lawful permanent residents are protected from national origin discrimination. What the previous fine was: $375 - $3,200 for first order violations What the new fine is: $445 - $3,563 for first order violations Unfair Employment Practice: Committing document abuse What this is: Employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of their workers to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act. However, if the employer does not allow an employee to use any documents which are legally acceptable but instead, requires specific documents or requires more documents than are legally required by I-9. What the previous fine was: $110 - $1,100 per violation What the new fine is: $178 - $1,782 Employing an unauthorized worker: What this is: Employers must ensure that their employees are authorized to work in the U.S. by checking that the employee’s I-9 documents appear reasonably genuine and related to the employee. If you employ a worker who is not authorized to work and it cannot be shown that you followed I-9 procedures and acted in good faith, you may be fined. What the previous fine was: $375 - $3,200 for a first offense What the new fine is: $539 - $4,313 for a first offense To learn more about fines for immigration law violations, contact an experienced immigration law at Maximilian Law Inc.