Implementing a new audit initiative, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) has served Notices of Inspection on 652 businesses nationwide.  The notices inform employers that ICE will be inspecting their I-9’s and other employment records to ascertain whether the employers are in compliance with federal immigration laws and regulations.

The Obama administration appears to be taking a new approach to immigration law compliance by focusing its enforcement activities on employers.  Under the Bush administration, ICE was known for sending armed agents into workplaces to round up employees suspected of working illegally.  According to this press release issued by ICE, the new strategy is to dedicate resources to auditing and investigating employers in order to reduce the demand for illegal employment . 

The 652 Notices of Inspection served last week exceed the total number of notices that ICE served in all of 2008.  It appears that these notices are just the first wave of employer audits.  In light of ICE’s increased auditing activities, now is the time to conduct your own internal audit and ensure that you have proper immigration compliance measures in place.