We write to advise you that on July 1, 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced that it was issuing notices of inspection of I-9 forms to more than 650 businesses throughout the United States. ICE had previously issued only 503 notices of inspection to employers for all of fiscal 2008.

The issuance of these inspection notices on July 1 is part of ICE’s new enforcement strategy that focuses on audits and investigations of employers and criminal prosecutions of businesses hiring undocumented workers. In contrast to the Bush administration, which had been criticized for raiding workplaces and arresting workers, but not going after employers, the Obama administration is concentrating its enforcement efforts on employers who hire illegal workers.

Employers should conduct internal audits of their I-9 forms to ensure compliance with the law.