I-9 and E-Verify Outlook for 2013

This year, we’ve provided our readers with many updates on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) enforcement efforts.  What does the upcoming year have in store for our readers?  What changes should employers anticipate?  Based on hunches and not so hidden clues, here are our top three forecasts for 2013:

Form I-9 Will Likely Be Two-Pages

We’ve seen two rounds of revisions to the Form I-9 proposed by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service and it doesn’t look like the form will remain a one-page document anymore.  The two-page document most likely will be adopted and implemented.  We’re guessing sometime in the first quarter.  Of course, as always, we’ll keep our readers posted on these developments.

Mandatory National E-Verify

It’s no secret that USCIS has been heavily promoting the E-Verify Program over any other available system to monitor the U.S. labor force’s work eligibility.  With that said, the issue of whether the E-Verify Program will become mandatory one on a national level may likely be seriously considered as one component of a comprehensive immigration bill.  The President has indicated that comprehensive immigration reform would be a priority for 2013. Where does that leave states to implement E-Verify?  With immigration reform in the near future, states that have not already implemented a mandatory E-Verify may well sit this one out to see what the federal government does.  In fact, it’s proven costly for states that have implemented mandatory E-Verify to verify which employers are indeed using the system and which ones are not.  State or municipal staff must be dedicated and trained to conduct the verification.

Continuation of Civil Penalties

In July, DHS Secretary Napolitano testified before Congress on progress the DHS has made on immigration policies in this country.  During her testimony stressed that worksite enforcement efforts will remain a primary objective for the DHS.  The objectives involved the following tactics:

  • Civil Penalties
  • Continued Form I-9 Inspections
  • Prosecution of Criminal Violators

The civil penalties the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over the past few years have skyrocketed.  According to statistics released in July 2012, more than $87.9 million fines have been issued to employers in violation.  No doubt these efforts will remain a top priority for DHS well into 2013.

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