Immigration Law

Recent Posts

DOJ Settles I-9 Beef for $159K
Posted on 14 Aug 2019 by Daniel M. Kowalski

DOJ, Aug. 13, 2019 "The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with four car reconditioning companies in California: Automotive Creations, Inc., Dynamic Auto Images, Inc., Prestige Auto Specialists, Inc... Read More

OCAHO Cuts I-9 Fine in Half: USA v. Holtsville
Posted on 9 Sep 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Count I of the Complaint alleges that the company hired twenty-seven individuals for whom it failed to prepare and/or present Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (Forms I-9) and assesses a fine of $26,554. Count II of the Complaint alleges... Read More

Tags: ocaho , holtsville , I-9 , sbrefa

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $15.4K to $6.7K: USA v. Clean Sweep
Posted on 3 Sep 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"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... Read More

Tags: clean sweep , fine , ocaho , I-9

In Latest OCAHO Boondoggle, ICE Extracts $5,400 I-9 Fine from Dentist - USA v. Robert Schaus, D.D.S.
Posted on 8 Jan 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

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,... Read More

Tags: audit , ocaho , dentist , schaus , I-9 , ICE

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $77K to $41K: USA v. Fowler Equipment Co., Inc.
Posted on 26 Feb 2013 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Considering the record as a whole and the statutory factors in particular, the proposed assessment appears unduly harsh and will be adjusted as a matter of discretion to a result closer to the mid-range of permissible penalties. The seventeen violations... Read More

Tags: ocaho , penalties , fowler , I-9

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $89K to $36K - USA v. International Packaging
Posted on 8 Dec 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

OCAHO, Dec. 6, 2016 - "[T]he government proposed a total civil monetary penalty of $88,825.00 for the ninety-five violations alleged in the complaint. ... I find that in the exercise of discretion, the proposed penalty in this case should be reduced... Read More

2014 Form I-9 Penalty Trends from OCAHO Decisions - Bruce Buchanan
Posted on 23 Mar 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"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... Read More

Tags: trends , buchanan , ocaho , I-9

Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification: USCIS
Posted on 13 Aug 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent this bulletin at 08/13/2012 08:00 AM EDT Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently... Read More

Tags: I-9 , USCIS

OSC Guidance: Employee Admits Original I-9 Documents Were Fraudulent - Bruce Buchanan
Posted on 3 Mar 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"On January 8, 2015, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) issued a Technical Assistance Letter (TAL) concerning potential discrimination issues arising when an employee presents an employer with... Read More

OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $157K to $64K: USA v. Niche, Inc.
Posted on 15 May 2015 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"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... Read More

Tags: niche , fine , paddack , ocaho , I-9

Highlights Of The FBA I-9 Worksite Enforcement Conference In Chicago - Bruce Buchanan, John Fay
Posted on 14 Jul 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Bruce Buchanan, John Fay, July 8, 2016 - "In April, the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association held its 10th Annual Workplace Enforcement and Immigration Conference, an all-day deep dive into the latest I-9, E-Verify, and corporate compliance... Read More

Tags: buchanan , fay , I-9

Texas Taco Restaurant Fined $33K for Total Failure to I-9 Employees
Posted on 26 Aug 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

USA v. Jula888 dba Para Tacos La Chilanga, Aug. 25, 2016 - "ICE’s Motion for Summary Decision is GRANTED, IN PART. The government met its burden of proving that Jula888, LLC d/b/a Para Tacos La Chilanga, is liable for thirty two violations... Read More

M-274 Table of Changes (USCIS, Jan. 22, 2017)
Posted on 17 Feb 2017 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Table of Changes for Revised M-274, (Rev. 01/22/17) - The purpose of this document is to outline the significant changes made to the M-274, Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9. Read More

Tags: handbook , M-274 , I-9 , USCIS

OCAHO on I-9 violations: Pegasus Restaurant
Posted on 5 Apr 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The permissible penalties in this case range from a low of $14,740 to a high of $148,740, and the government has proposed penalties that are very close to the highest available. Giving due regard to the record as a whole and to the statutory criteria... Read More

OCAHO Slaps ICE for Overreaching: USA v. Crescent City Meat Co., Inc.
Posted on 2 May 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE or the government) filed a complaint alleging that Crescent City Meat Company, Inc. (Crescent City or the company) violated 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(B) by failing to prepare, retain, and/or present I-9... Read More

  • Blog Post: Book Review: Immigration Enforcement: I-9 Compliance Handbook

    Immigration Enforcement: I-9 Compliance Handbook, by Ann Allott, Daniel M. Kowalski, and Camille Griffin 215 pp.; $29 LexisNexis Matthew Bender, 2009. Reviewed by Marlin W. Burke, The Colorado Lawyer December 2009 Vol. 38, No. 12 [Page 77]. © 2009 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association...
  • Blog Post: DOJ Sues Employer for Requiring Document Not on Form I-9 List

    "Justice Department prosecutors, acting in conjunction with the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, have filed a lawsuit against a medical services provider with skilled nursing facilities throughout California. The Government alleges in the September...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO levies $173K fine on drywall company for I-9 violations

    "KDS is directed to pay penalties totalling $173,250.00." USA v. Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc., Aug. 11, 2011 .
  • Blog Post: Lessons from Ketchikan

    "Recently, the Department of Justice, Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) published a precedent decision ( United States of America v. Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc. ) regarding liability for Form I-9 mistakes and omissions. As with previous such cases, the decision...
  • Blog Post: More Lessons from Ketchikan

    "Today, we’ll wrap up our review of the Ketchikan case and provide some takeaways for organizations that are ready to clean their I-9 house." - John Fay, Oct. 31, 2011 .
  • Blog Post: Peering over the I-9 event horizon

    Veteran I-9 explorer John Fay returns from an expedition to report on Things to Come . Nov. 1, 2011.
  • Blog Post: Employers Around the Country Report a New Round of ICE I-9 Audits

    "The calls from clients who received visits from Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents started to trickle in last Thursday afternoon. Although nothing has been announced, we have reason to believe that ICE is conducting a new round of audits...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on I-9 violations: Alyn Industries

    "The complainant’s motion for summary decision is granted as to liability, and granted as modified with respect to penalties. Alyn Industries, Inc. is directed to pay a total of $43,000 in civil money penalties. All other pending motions are denied. The parties are free to negotiate a payment...
  • Blog Post: I-9 abuse lawsuit: USA v. UCSD Medical Center

    USA v. University of California, San Diego Medical Center , filed with OCAHO on Dec. 6, 2011, alleging Respondent demanded specific, more and different documents from non-citizens for I-9 completion.
  • Blog Post: In search of fraudulent documents – Does the I-9 process really require employers to be enforcers?

    "Do we really want an employer determining if an individual has presented appropriate documentation for the I-9 process based on trying to count the right number of imbedded pixels or photos imprinted on the green card?" - Sharon Mehlman and Kimberley Best Robidoux, Nov. 28, 2011 .
  • Blog Post: The Merger and Acquisition Process: Staying I-9 Compliant

    "Amidst the excitement of a merger or an acquisition, the challenges of staying I-9 compliant can easily be overlooked, particularly since most attorneys managing the M&A process are not traditionally immigration or employment attorneys, and the transaction itself can be lengthy and...
  • Blog Post: Pre I-9 Audit Planning: Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best (Part 1 of 2)

    "An employer’s first task is to identify the worst possible outcomes of an audit based upon the employer’s individual company characteristics. The best way to do this is to sit down with experienced audit counsel who can assist in developing the worst case scenario list. If there...
  • Blog Post: DOJ Settles Employment Discrimination I-9 Case

    " The Justice Department and Puerto Rico-based Indrescom Security Technology Inc. have agreed to settle allegations that the company discriminated against a work-authorized individual during the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 process by requiring him to present a lawful permanent...
  • Blog Post: I-9 News

    The OSC has been busy , settling two cases, one in Puerto Rico and one in California . And USCIS is floating a new draft I-9 revision for comment. Stay tuned!
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on I-9 violations: Pegasus Restaurant

    "The permissible penalties in this case range from a low of $14,740 to a high of $148,740, and the government has proposed penalties that are very close to the highest available. Giving due regard to the record as a whole and to the statutory criteria, the penalties proposed appear excessive in...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on 'constructive knowledge' for I-9 purposes

    "Context matters. The totality of the circumstances matters. Inferences are drawn from facts, not from legal syllogisms and not from the air. The undisputed facts presented here are that [X] made a commitment in 2000 to reverify the employment eligibility of 34 named individuals, and that three...
  • Blog Post: Software or Wetware to Blame in Rose Acre Case?

    "During the past couple of years, we’ve seen dozens of OSC settlement agreements with employers who went “too far” in their quest to comply with I-9 verification obligations. In most if not all such cases, the employer made a habit of requesting specific (or additional) documentation...
  • Blog Post: Minn. Ct. App. on 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324a(b)(5) - State v. Reynua II

    Bruce D. Nestor writes: "In a 2011 decision, the Minn. Court of Appeals reversed a state perjury conviction based on a false statement on an I-9 form, concluding that 8 USC 1324a(b)(5) and federal law in general preempts a state prosecution relying upon the I-9 form. However, that 2011 decision...
  • Blog Post: Latest I-9 Decisions from OCAHO

    United States v. Four Seasons Earthworks, Inc. 06/07/12 10 OCAHO No. 1150 (technical vs. substantive violations; downward adjustment of penalty) United States v. Associated Painters, Inc. 05/30/12 10 OCAHO No. 1151 (constructive knowledge) United States v. Stanford Sign and Awning, Inc. 06/21/12...
  • Blog Post: Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification: USCIS

    Continue to Use the Current Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent this bulletin at 08/13/2012 08:00 AM EDT Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on the forms section of http://www.uscis...
  • Blog Post: ICE Releases Guidance on Evaluating Electronic I-9 Systems

    "On October 2, 2012, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the first-ever official guidance document for evaluating electronically generated and stored I-9 records during an audit. Obtained by LawLogix last week, the 4-page document from ICE headquarters provides guidance to...
  • Blog Post: ICE on Electronic I-9 Audit Trails

    "In the course of Employment Eligibility Verification Form 1-9 inspections, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and auditors are increasingly encountering businesses that utilize electronically generated Forms 1-9. This memorandum provides guidance to the HSI field offices on the...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $87K to $17K

    "ICE’s motion for summary decision sought penalties in the amount of $86,933.00 and offered in support the Declaration of Karen Rahlf, Forensic Auditor, dated October 18, 2011 and an accompanying Memorandum to Case File Determination of Civil Monetary Penalty. The government asserts that the...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO on a Roll, Reduces More I-9 Penalty Amounts

    "The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) has issued a number of decisions in the past few weeks that support a trend of reducing penalty amounts. The employers include March Construction, Inc. , Forsch Polymer Corp. , BKR Restaurants (dba Burger King), and Barnett Taylor ...
  • Blog Post: OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $13K to $5K: USA v. Taste of China

    "Considering the record as a whole, the only factor not weighing in the company’s favor is the seriousness of the violations. The penalties requested are so near the maximum permissible as to appear disproportionate to the size and resources of the business, particularly in light of its character...