Employers should expect continued targeting by the federal government in the areas of immigration and employment verification compliance. In a recent statement, Julie Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), advised that ICE will continue to expand worksite enforcement in 2008 and admonished that criminal cases against employers "won't be enough." Ms. Meyers stressed the need for a "culture of compliance with immigration laws." As such, she indicated that in 2008 there will be "a lot more I-9 inspections of employers." Moreover, DHS recently announced a US$12.14 billion budget for border and interior immigration enforcement, including US$3 billion for worksite and US$100 million to expand E-Verify.

DHS is expected to continue defending legal challenges to the Social Security No-Match Rule and issue another rule in the coming months. Our Preliminary Injunction Issued Barring Enforcement of "No-Match Rule" alert and Department of Homeland Security Publishes Final Rule Outlining Employer Responses to Social Security "No-Match" Letters alert provide more information on the No-Match Rule.

The Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division has also publicized plans to increase enforcement efforts with regard to the wage and compliance provisions linked to the H-1B visa program. A word to the wise: employers should take these cues from the government to shore up internal procedures relating to I-9 employment verification and immigration compliance.