The Integrity News
"objective risk management news"
Vol. XVI No. 5
June 19, 2007
This Issue is a "heads up" on the topic of coming
Employment Eligibility Verification enforcement.
Last week, to sweeten the deals so that a new
Immigration Reform law will get through Congress,
they have added an amendment that will supply $4.4
Billion in upfront funding for U.S. border control
and workplace enforcement.
Please, at least scan this entire Issue, it is important
to your company.
There are many employment-related topics in the
draft legislation that are not discussed in this Issue.
Such topics are severe civil and criminal penalties
for false attestation and willful non-compliance;
debarring of employers from Government-related
work for repeated violations; new discrimination
definitions based on nationality; new H-1B visa
parameters; a new H-2C visa; new biometric
machine-readable standards; and other topics.
The fines are so very high, because one provision
of the draft legislation is that the fees and fines
that the Government plans on collecting, will be a
funding source for the implementation of the law.
An Immigration Reform bill may not pass in this
Congress even though the leaders of both the House
and the Senate, and the President, say that it will.
If it does, it may not look like the current House or
Senate versions, and it may not have the current
provisions. They plan on accepting up to 20
amendments beginning this week.
However, it is obvious that Congress believes that
"a problem", and a great source of
fine and fee money.
There will be something in whatever new law passes,
whenever it passes, that will be similar to the draft
versions now being debated. The Government wants
to make sure that employers are verifying every
employee's eligibility for employment with documents
that the employer has reason to believe are authentic.
While the draft versions do not explicitly say so yet,
the clear implication is that when the Government
checks the compliance of an employer, that they will
check the employment eligibility of ALL existing
employees plus the procedure used for verifying the
eligibility for employment of your new applicants.
Employers will be required to have employment
eligibility proof for every employee. The penalties
for non-compliance in the current draft versions
include the levy of BIG fines, per employee, on
employers. The Government says that they are
working on implementing various ways of collecting
the information from you electronically.
Under the Department of Homeland Security, the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
dictates: "employers are required to complete the
Employment Eligibility Verification forms ( Form I-9 )
for all employees, including *ALL* U.S. citizens".
( The current Form I-9 was last updated 11/21/1991, so
this is not something new.) Any new law will surely
develop this verification concept to an intense new
level, and with today's technology, the Government
will expect employers to be able to prove that they
are in compliance.
U.S. immigration reform is important. It relates to
the rule of law, terrorism, taxation, benefits, families,
competitive American businesses, the need for good
employees, benefit contributions, and many other
building blocks of our society. This topic is capturing
the full attention of the Congress, the Administration,
and the public. The House version of the new law, the
STRIVE Act of 2007, and the Senate version of the
new law, the CIR Act of 2007, are currently being
debated. Both versions contain many serious
implications for U.S. employers. They each contain
a Section or Title that is effectively named
"Employment Eligibility Verification".
The resulting new law, when it does pass, will be a
very major piece of legislation for America.
The goal of this Issue is to explain to our clients and
our subscribers some of the things that you need to
be thinking about as employers. As currently drafted,
both versions each contain a number of severe
penalties for non-compliance. Because there has
not been a new law enacted yet, what you should
take from this Issue is the tone of the thinking in
Congress about the responsibilities of employers,
and the likely path that Congress will take.
To the people who say that prior legislation has not
been enforced, we remind you that: (1) times have
changed quickly for the technology of information
access, and (2) Government attitudes have changed
about the need to use all available information.
The drafts anticipate that the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) will be given access to Social Security,
Income Tax, and Payroll records among many other
sources. New enforcement agencies are created. There
will be an electronic means of Government enforcement.
If you have been properly completing, and keeping on
file, a Form I-9 for each and every employee, based
on documents that you have tried to determine are in
fact authentic, and that you possibly have further
evaluated by comparing them to, say, an ID Verification,
then you probably would be in a good position to begin
to satisfy the new law.
The STRIVE Act of 2007 "creates a means for
employers to electronically verify workers'
employment eligibility, establishes criminal
penalties for employers and workers who operate
outside the new protocol, and implements strong
Yet, the new system will only be available initially to
"critical infrastructure" employers such as nuclear,
airline, and other obvious terrorist-target industries.
It will then be available to "large" employers at a
later date. BUT -- ALL employers are expected to
respond to Form I-9 enforcement from the time that
the new law goes into effect !!! ( It is our opinion
that the Government is making the entire enforcement
system continue to depend upon the Form I-9 because
it already exists, it should have been complied with all
along, and they may not be able to get "the new system"
working in a reasonable amount of time, or at all.) Recall
the problems that the FBI had trying to get their new
integrated system going in the years after 9/11.
The Integrity Center, Inc. has been in the business
of verifying worker's backgrounds for over 20 years.
We understand the magnitude of the Government's
task. The House version of the new law says that
the new electronic worker eligibility verification
system will help employers verify 60 million workers
What the Act does not say is that the new system
will be the only way to verify employment eligibility.
THE ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS OF THE NEW
LAW ARE *NOT* TIED TO THE AVAILABILITY
OF THE NEW SYSTEM. The drafts of the new law
specifically instruct employers to comply by continuing
to use Form I-9, and base their hiring decisions on
Keeping in mind that Form I-9 compliance has long
been required, many employers have not been very
methodical about their employee records. When most
employers are checked for compliance, they probably
will have incomplete files for some existing employees,
and maybe even have a weak, or lacking, system for
verifying the employment eligibility of new applicants.
To assist our clients with their compliance tasks, we
have added an online Form I-9 to your Client Interface.
It will appear for your use on July 11, 2007. It is fully
Biometrically Enhanced (although you will only see
the standard Form I-9 until the additional information
is required by the Government, then it will automatically
appear for your use).
If you are a current subscriber to our Employee Files,
or use us for your Payroll Preparation, the new online
Form I-9, and the new compliance reports that can be
generated from your stored data, are FREE.
If you currently work with us for Background Checking
or online Job Applications, there will be a small one-time
charge per Form I-9 that will enable you to print the
individual forms to be signed, and will also provide you
with unlimited printing of the compliance reports that can
repeatedly be generated over time from your stored data.
IN EITHER CASE, if you have been working with us,
all of your data that we have is immediately able to
appear as the identification information on your required
I-9 forms. No data re-entry is required. You will just
have to check the items on the drop-down lists that
correspond to the authentication documents for each
employee, enter the passport, driver's license, or other
number(s), and print a copy of the Form I-9 for that
person and your company representative to sign.
The beauty of having the Form I-9 online is:
It is all web based, so you only need your browser and it is
as easy to use as the rest of our Client Interface.
Our system automatically keeps an audit trail of whose login
was used to approve each Form I-9.
You can always call up any Form I-9, look at it, or print it.
You can always print a list of your completed I-9 forms to make
it easy for you to compare with your other lists of employee
data for your internal auditing purposes.
As with all of your other data that we store for you, your
complete data set can always be downloaded to you for your
If the Government requires you to electronically transmit a
file of all your I-9 forms, that functionality is ready.
If DNA swab data, fingerprint classification data, retina scan
data, facial recognition data, hand vein pattern data, blood
type data, or the storage of other biometric data become
mandatory, you will be ready at no additional cost and with
no additional learning curve. Our Form I-9 is Biometrically
If a new law passes, and depending upon what passes,
this legislation will become a big deal for employers.
That is why we urge you to think about the possibilities.
Actually, you should already be 100% sure that you
have all your I-9 forms in order.
We are trying to get you to realize some of what could be buried
in the new Immigration Reform law that will effect you the
employer, and we are providing tools to help you avoid the
big new fees and fines.
We will all be waiting to see what Act, if any, is signed
into law. We are staying on top of this situation, so feel
free to call us to discuss any aspect of your compliance
efforts. As always, you can call
The Integrity Center, Inc.
anytime at (972) 484-6140.
Helping you with your Risk Management and HR Automation is what we do.