Thursday, February 9th, 2017

OCAHO and ICE Continue to Disagree on Size of Penalties for I-9 Violations

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"Recent decisions of the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) continue to demonstrate Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and OCAHO strongly disagree on the appropriate level of penalties for small employers committing I-9 violations. Three recent OCAHO decisions demonstrate that ICE continues to seek large penalties against small employers committing numerous I-9 violations while OCAHO continues to use its discretion to reduce the penalties by 50% or more. In the most recent OCAHO decision, United States v. Pegasus Restaurant, 10 OCAHO No. 1143 (2012), OCAHO reduced ICE’s proposed penalty of $131,554.50 to $49,427, a reduction of about 62%. In this matter, the restaurant failed to fill out any I-9′s for 134 hired employees over a three year