Dreamers, Nightmares, I-9 Forms, DACA and ICE

Like a good horror movie, complying with US immigration laws can seem like a nightmare. in The  Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) requires every employer to verify the eligibility of most of its workers.

The “most” part might be startling to you? Yes, most and not all. If you have someone on your payroll who has been on your payroll since November 7, 1986, (or earlier), you don’t need to verify their eligibility to work legally in the U.S.

The “eligibility” thing might surprise you, too. No, you’re not being asked to verify if someone has a “green card”. All you’re being asked to do if verify if they are eligible to work legally in the U.S. The worker could be here on one of the many temporary or migrant worker visa programs, for example.

The news has been aflutter (some may say “atwitter…“) about “dreamers” and the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (the “DACA” program).

Like any good nightmare, there’s traps for the unwary.

To avoid falling through thin ICE, make sure you’re:

  1. using the current version of the I-9 form
  2. don’t make the mistake of thinking that using e-Verify relieves you of needing to use the I-9 form
  3. using a good reminder/date-tickler process to make sure you are re-verifying any and all workers who may be working for you on other-than a permanently eligible status
  4. keep copies of the proofs provided to you for 1, 2 & 3; and
  5. most importantly, keep those copies safe in compliance with NIST guidelines on Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”). Here’s a good publicly-available process to measure yourself against.

Seems daunting? Almost scary? Don’t worry. Citadel Legal can help.