Law360 Reports that the Seaboard Corporation agreed to pay $750,000 to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and $256,000 to the Oklahoma General’s Office to resolve claims that their Oklahoma based pork production plant hired unauthorized immigrant workers. According to Law360, for the past six years ICE has been investigating allegations that the Seaboard plant employed workers who did not have proper work authorization and had not completed the required employee eligibility forms. ICE also investigated allegations that the plant improperly submitted health care claims from employees on private health insurance to the Oklahoma Medicaid Program. As part of the settlement, Seaboard did not admit any wrongdoing. The settlement was handled out of court.
According to ICE, under federal law, employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals they hire, and to document that information using the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. A notice of inspection alerts business owners that ICE is going to audit their hiring records to determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law. Employers are required to produce their company’s I-9s within three business days, after which ICE will conduct an inspection for compliance. If I-9 inspections reveal that business are knowingly violating the law, civil fines and possible criminal prosecution follow.
Since January 2018 ICE served more 5,200 I-9 audit notices to businesses across the U.S. In 2017, ICE conducted 1,360 I-9 audits and in the same year businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines.