LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine by One-Third: USA v. Senox

[Full disclosure: my client, my case.] "The penalties [ICE sought] were then aggravated based on the large size of the company, but the remaining factors were treated neutrally, so the final rate was $981.75 for each violation, or a total of $66,759. ICE’s forensic auditor considered Senox...

OHAHO on Discovery, Protective Orders: USA v. Durable, Inc.

"Prehearing procedures are ongoing. Shortly before the close of discovery, Durable filed a motion for a protective order addressed to certain of the interrogatories and requests for production that ICE had propounded to the company. The government filed a timely response, captioned as both a response...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $114K to $58K: USA v. Golf International

"This is an action pursuant to the employer sanctions provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324a (2012), in which the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine by Half: USA v. Jalisco's Bar & Grill, Inc.

"This is an action pursuant to the employer sanctions provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324a (2012), in which the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $15.4K to $6.7K: USA v. Clean Sweep

"This is an action pursuant to the employer sanctions provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324a (2012), in which the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

OCAHO on Document Abuse: USA v. Life Generations Healthcare

"Statistical and anecdotal evidence amply demonstrates that during the period when Lani Pulmano and Regina Czerwinski were in charge of I-9 completion at St. Francis Pavilion, their standard operating procedure was to require noncitizens and perceived foreign-born individuals to present List A documents...

OCAHO Cuts I-9 Penalty in Half: USA v. Romans Racing Stables, Inc.

"ICE’s motion seeks summary decision as to liability and the imposition of penalties totaling $150,535 . The government acknowledges that RRS is a small business with no history of previous violations, and does not contend that the company acted in bad faith, but does argue that the penalties...

OCAHO Hits I-9 Second Offender With $330K Fine: USA v. Durable, Inc.

"The government’s complaint was accompanied by various attachments, among which were a NIF previously issued to Durable, Inc. on November 23, 1988, and a settlement agreement the company entered with legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on March 3, 1989 resolving the 1988 NIF...

OCAHO Cuts I-9 Penalty in Half: Mott Thoroughbred Stables, Inc.

"ICE’s motion seeks summary decision as to liability and the imposition of penalties totaling $68,161.50. ... ICE’s proposed penalties computed at the rate of $841.50 for each violation amount to more than three quarters of the maximum permissible, and penalties at this level are ordinarily...

CAHO Affirms Durable ($330K) and Romans ($76K)

"On September 23, 2014, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Ellen K. Thomas entered a final decision and order finding Durable liable for all 300 violations and directing it to pay a civil money penalty in the amount of $329,895, matching the penalty amount sought by ICE. ... I find no error in the ALJ’s...

EOIR Adds Another OCAHO ALJ

"The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) today announced the appointment of Stacy Stiffel Paddack as an administrative law judge (ALJ). ALJs at EOIR hear immigration-related employment cases in the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), and do not hear removal cases...

How Much Money Did DOJ (EOIR) and DHS (ICE) Spend to Collect This $500 I-9 Fine?

A small convenience store in Maine failed to prepare I-9 forms for two employees, both related to the owner and known to be U.S. citizens. In the end, OCAHO levied a fine of $500. Do the rough math, totaling up the per diem salaries of the ICE investigators, plus the per diem salaries of the OCAHO judge...

In Latest OCAHO Boondoggle, ICE Extracts $5,400 I-9 Fine from Dentist - USA v. Robert Schaus, D.D.S.

No unauthorized aliens were found in this ICE I-9 audit. The dental office is a sole proprietorship with no previous immigration violations. ICE wanted $10,030 in fines. OCAHO cut it back to $5,400. How many tax dollars were spent on this boondoggle, including ICE investigator salaries and OCAHO salaries...

OCAHO Reduced I-9 Fine from $168K to $22K - USA v. Foothill Packing, Inc.

"The amended complaint asserts in Count I that Foothill hired 382 individuals for whom the company either failed to ensure each employee properly completed section 1 of Form I-9 or failed itself to properly complete section 2 or 3 of the form. Count II as amended states that Foothill hired Luis...

OCAHO Greenlights UPL in I-9 Fights: USA v. Chen's Wilmington

Moral of the story: When ICE raids your I-9 files, hire an attorney. Based on published OCAHO cases, you may have the penalty reduced by 50% or more. Otherwise, if you go it alone - or rely on your 'accountant' - you may end up in Ms. Chen's shoes, paying 100% of the proposed ICE penalty...

MN Staffing Company Hit With $227K I-9 Fine: USA v. Employer Solutions

Noteworthy : "The parties do not dispute, and the record clearly reflects, that ESSG II’s standard operating procedure was for its personnel in Edina, Minnesota to sign the section 2 attestation after reviewing copies of the employees’ documents without ever seeing the individuals whose...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Penalty from $187K to $97K: USA v. Speedy Gonzalez Construction, Inc.

"The government originally sought $192,843.75 for the 185 violations alleged, but modified its request in light of the fact that six of its allegations were not proved. ICE now seeks $186,859.75 for the 179 violations actually found. ... In addition to the record as a whole and the statutory factors...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $19.3K to $11.7K - USA v. Liberty Packaging

"ICE is entitled to summary decision as to liability for eighteen violations. As to the penalties, there are both mitigating and aggravating factors. While Liberty is a small employer with no history of previous violations and the unauthorized status of the five individuals listed in the NSD was...

2014 Form I-9 Penalty Trends from OCAHO Decisions - Bruce Buchanan

"In 2014, there were significantly fewer decisions issued by Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) related to potential I-9 violations than in 2013. There were only 17 decisions in 2014 while there were 30 decisions in 2013. (A few employers had two or more decisions rendered on...

OCAHO Cuts I-9 Fine in Half: USA v. Horno

"The United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE or the government) filed a two-count complaint alleging that Horno MSJ, Ltd. Company (Horno or the company) engaged in thirty-two violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(B). Count I alleged that Horno...

OCAHO Cuts I-9 Fine in Half: USA v. McPeek Racing Stables

"Count I alleges that McPeek failed to prepare I-9s for sixty-two employees within three business days of their respective dates of hire and/or failed to present I-9s for them upon request by the government. Count II alleges that the company failed to ensure that thirty-seven employees properly...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $157K to $64K: USA v. Niche, Inc.

"ICE argues that a penalty assessment of $888.25 per violation, and a total penalty of $157,220.25 is objectively reasonable given the totality of the circumstances. ... ... Niche’s contracts with the U.S. military were responsible for its rapid financial growth, which also appears to serve...

OCAHO on Citizenship Discrimination: USA v. Estopy Farms

"Jerry Estopy and Manuel Bortoni d.b.a. Estopy Farms simply passed over a qualified U.S. citizen in favor of hiring temporary H-2A workers from Mexico. ... [N]othing in this forum’s governing statute or regulations mandates that a U.S. citizen be afforded any preference over an equally qualified...

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $54K to $27K - USA v. PM Packaging

"[t]he proposed penalty of $53,762.50 is close to the maximum permissible of $55,000. Our case law consistently holds that penalties so close to the maximum should be reserved for more egregious violations than have been demonstrated here. See United States v. Fowler Equip. Co., 10 OCAHO no. 1169...

OCAHO Sets I-9 Fine at $605K for 'Motivation to Conform' - USA v. Hartmann Studios

"ICE is entitled to summary decision as to liability for 808 violations. OCAHO case law has emphasized that penalties should have a deterrent effect on an employer’s behavior and not merely be a cost of doing business. Emp’r Solutions, 11 OCAHO no. 1242 at 11 (“[A] penalty cannot...