DHS Gives Employers 33% More Time to Comply with I-9 Requirement

October 4, 2010
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PHOENIX, Ariz., October 4, 2010 – Lawlogix Group, Inc., the leader in I-9 and E-Verify compliance and immigration case management software, today announced a critical new I-9 interpretation on its blog,www.electronici9.com, which was clarified by guest bloggers, Dawn Lurie and Kevin Lashus of the law firm Greenberg Traurig. Ms. Lurie and Mr. Lashus, widely considered to be leading experts on I-9 and E-Verify compliance issues, explain in detail how ICE will respect USCIS’ interpretation–giving employers what could be considered one extra day to complete Section 2 of the Form I-9. This sweeping change in I-9 protocol could have a significant impact on employers who are struggling to revamp their I-9 policies and implement comprehensive verification processes in light of recent enforcement initiatives.

After many years of differing opinions and interpretations, USCIS and ICE appear to agree that employers have three days, subsequent to the day of hire to complete section 2 of the Form I-9 and initiate the E-Verify case (hired Monday-complete by Thursday). “This actually all came about from the recent E-Verify Redesign trainings when the USCIS quietly ‘reminded’ employers that organizations have three days after the date of hire to open an E-Verify case,” explained Ms. Lurie. “USCIS also alluded to this four day or Thursday rule as covering the I-9 as well. This was certainly news to us.” Ms. Lurie and Mr. Lashus investigated further – making several phone calls to USCIS and ICE regarding this apparent shift in policy. Then, USCIS issued a public clarification confirming this “Thursday” rule on their E-Verify public website. On July 7th, the experts obtained critical confirmation from ICE (the agency responsible for enforcing I-9 rules) that they would also respect this 4-day interpretation. Although ICE and USCIS subsequently met to further discuss this issue, the change has yet to be publicized and most employers are still in the dark. “We urge the Department of Homeland Security to increase dialogue with the public sector, provide training, and develop a targeted I-9 education campaign after updating the M-274 employer handbook–with clear consistent direction for the smallest, as well as the largest, of U.S. employers,” said Ms. Lurie and Mr. Lashus.

Dan Siciliano, co-founder of LawLogix and a frequent commentator on immigration and employment eligibility policy and reform, expects this is not the last we’ve heard on this issue. Nevertheless, he opined, “When the guys with guns and badges say they’ll give you a little extra time to be sure you are on the right side of the law, I say be thankful and run with it! This extra day could make life a little easier for companies taking the required steps to ensure that their employees are eligible to work.”

John Fay, VP of Products and Services and General Counsel of LawLogix, agreed with this sentiment and expressed his thanks to Ms. Lurie and Mr. Lashus for releasing the good news. “We are thrilled to have industry experts such as Dawn and Kevin contributing to our I-9 and E-Verify blog. Their insights and relentless pursuit of clarity (in a perpetually murky field) not only provides tremendous value to our subscribers but also enables us to stay on top of the I-9 and E-Verify rules which make up the foundation of our software. We look forward to the contributions of all of our guest bloggers as we continue to grow our online community of experts in I-9 and E-Verify compliance.”