In a recent letter to the United States Chamber of Commerce, Director of the USCIS, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that the agency will be launching a new I-9 website to help employers more easily complete the form. Director Mayorkas indicates that “clear guidance on how to complete the form I-9 will be posted on a new USCIS website, I-9 Central.” He indicates in the letter that additional features such as dropdown boxes, help text and radio buttons should be added to the online form in order to help employers avoid making a number of technical errors. The letter does not confirm that these features will be available with the launch of the new website, but indicates that they are currently under discussion and that additional stakeholder meetings will be held with employers in the near future to discuss these and other options.
Director Mayorkas’ announcement was in response to a letter from Randall K. Johnson, Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration and Employment Benefits of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The letter, submitted in late January, suggested several practical changes that could be made to the I-9 form available on the USCIS website, in light of technological changes that have occurred since the initial I-9 requirement was written into law. This fact, combined with the significant increase in I-9 enforcement actions in the past two years, has brought into stark relief the number and unfortunate effect of technical errors made by employers when completing I-9 forms.
The Chamber of Commerce suggests that technological changes to the I-9 form itself could largely eliminate all technical violations made by employers, including missing address information, signature dates, employee’s maiden name and the correct name for issuing agency for List B documents.
The Chamber argues that eliminating technical errors from the entire I-9 discussion would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus its worksite enforcement efforts on more important violations and more egregious violators. Similarly, it is a colossal waste of time and energy for employers to be required to correct de minimus errors on I-9 forms.
The Chamber of Commerce also calls on ICE and USCIS to follow the President’s suggestion to advance common sense regulatory reform measures. In the I-9 context, this would include reducing or completely eliminating employer liability for technical violations and recognizing an employer’s good faith efforts to properly and timely complete I-9 forms.
We will follow "I-9 Central" developments and keep our readers posted.