ICE Increases Enforcement


After California Governor Jerry Brown signed sanctuary laws in October 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has cracked down on arresting undocumented individuals in California. ICE Director Thomas Homan stated that because California's sanctuary laws limit cooperation with state law enforcement partners, ICE actions "will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community."
In January 2018, ICE issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 77 companies in Northern California. The following month, ICE issued 122 NOIs to companies in Southern  California and made over 200 arrests. According to Homan, "88 % were convicted criminals." Employers who received NOIs regarding their I-9 forms had three days to prepare for the inspections. Failure to comply could result in civil fines and possible criminal prosecution.

Since September 2017, ICE has conducted raids all over the U.S. and issued one of the largest fines in its history -- Asplundh Tree received a $95 million penalty. ICE also served audit notices on 98 7-Eleven franchises and conducted raids that led to over 20 arrests.

California is not the only enforcement target. 

Below are ICE's statistics for the 2017 fiscal year:

  • Conducted 1,360 I-9 audits

  • Made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests

  • Ordered businesses to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines, and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines

These statistics are part of the first two prongs of ICE's three-pronged enforcement process: 

  1. I-9 inspections and civil fines

  2. Arrests of employers and unauthorized workers

ICE offers the IMAGE Program which trains and certifies employers to set an example for other employers.

Employers who are looking to get certified must:

  • Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Application

  • Sign an IMAGE partnership agreement

  • Enroll in E-Verify within 60 days

  • Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy

  • Conduct yearly I-9 self-audits

  • Submit to an initial I-9 inspection

For employers who enroll in the IMAGE Program, ICE will:

  • Waive potential fines if substantive violations are discovered on fewer than 50 percent of the Form I-9s. If more than 50 percent of forms have substantive violations, they will mitigate fines.

  • Not conduct another inspection for two years.

  • Provide information and training before, during and after inspection.