Staying aboveboard

I-9 forms and E-Verify can help you manage eligible workers, but both require effort

We now are in President Obama's second term, and still little progress has been made on an issue clearly important to the roofing industry—immigration. Roofing workers are scarce, and without a reliable source of workers, many contractors are faced with the risk of hiring undocumented workers.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires employers to verify employees' identities and employment eligibility; the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is the primary means of documenting this verification. Employers who fail to properly complete I-9 forms are subject to civil fines ranging from $110 to $1,100 per paperwork error violation.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is an investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged with enforcing U.S. immigration and customs laws. ICE was created in 2003, and it assumed the responsibility of enforcing the immigration laws from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, commonly known as INS.

ICE verifies employer compliance with I-9 requirements by conducting inspection audits, which are initiated by serving a Notice of Inspection to an employer compelling him or her to produce I-9 documents. I-9 audits are a critical component in ICE's work-site enforcement strategy.