Can I see your Social Security card?

With the federal government's recent focus on immigration, particularly the recently increased enforcement policy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many roofing contractors are revisiting how they complete I-9 forms to ensure they comply with all legal requirements. One issue that continues to confuse roofing contractors when completing I-9 forms is whether they can ask employees to provide Social Security cards.

According to U.S. immigration law, you cannot require employees to produce specific documents, such as a Social Security card, when completing I-9 forms. Indeed, an employee can produce documentation meeting I-9 requirements without ever producing a Social Security card. Does this mean you are prohibited from asking to see Social Security cards? Not necessarily. Remember, in addition to having to comply with immigration laws, you also are obligated to comply with the requirements of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Clash of departments

Although DHS, SSA and IRS rules intersect, to avoid claims of wrongful termination or national origin discrimination, it is important for you to handle your obligations under SSA laws and IRS rules separately from obligations under immigration laws.