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Internal I-9 Audits



      Five Error Average on Each Form I-9


On average, we write up five (5) errors on each form I-9 we audit for employers whose I-9s have not been previously audited by an outside I-9  auditor, and whose I-9 administrators have not received up-to-date  training.  This normally comes as a shock to employers, overwhelming majority of whom try to do their best and think that their I-9s are in "pretty good shape."


     Quality of Internal I-9 Audit: Self-Audit vs. Using Outside Auditor


Internal I-9 Audits should be in writing, and should involve not only correction of errors, but also updates in policies and procedures and training, to ensure good corrections and prevention of future errors.   Audits should be conducted by qualified, well trained, impartial auditors who are able to review I-9 from the point of view of preparing the employer to defend itself from DHS.  

At the 2011 AILA conference on work site enforcement issues, an ICE representative made it quite clear that self-audits typically result in more difficult situations for the employer than if an audit is done by a qualified, experienced, independent auditor, such as an attorney. Examples of massive mistakes made by self-auditing include:


  • redoing all the Forms I-9 and throwing away the originals,
  • separating copies of documents from Forms I-9 and throwing them away,
  • not checking information in section 1 against copies of documents recorded in Section 2,
  • making changes to Forms I-9 without initialing and dating the Forms, and
  • inserting backdated information in Forms I-9 making them appear to be completed timely.
  • Each one of these “mistakes” in auditing has led to massive fines by ICE and even findings of unlawful employment of aliens.


      Internal  I-9 Audits Are on ICE Best Practices List


Internal I-9 Audits are on the ICE Best Employment Practices List


      Internal I-9 Audits Should be Part  of the Employer's Corporate Immigration Compliance Plan, Policies and   Procedures


Employers should make regular internal I-9 Audits part of their written Corporate Immigration Compliance Plan, Policies and Procedures.   Corporate Immigration Compliance Officer should be in charge of making sure they happen as scheduled. 


   Internal I-9 Audit is the Best Preparation for and Best Defense Against the DHS Audit


Internal audits allow employers to identify errors, correct all correctable errors, update policies and procedures to address substantive errors that cannot be corrected, and conduct training of I-9 administrators in order to prevent recurrence of the errors in the future.  Properly conducted I-9 Audits are the best defense against DHS audits




DHS Uses I-9 Audits to Lay the Foundation for Criminal Prosecution or Civil Fines


DHS/ICE/HSE  uses I-9 audits to lay the foundation for criminal prosecution of employers for "knowingly" hiring unauthorized workers or imposing severe civil fines on employers, including those who do not hire any unauthorized workers . Even if a business's entire workforce is authorized, ICE has fined employers approximately $1,000 per I-9  for what appears to be innocuous mistakes.  The MDIVANI lawyers advise and defend employers in HDS I-9 Audits.




Corporate immigration lawyers at the Mdivani Law Firm have audited thousands of form I-9s in internal I-9 audits.  We have defended numerous employers in DHS investigations. Experience doing both has armed our lawyers with expertise necessary to advise employers on how to build corporate immigration compliance before ICE visits, and to defend employers with full knowledge and force of the law if ICE is investigating our client. 




I-9 Self-Audits, The Best Way To Prevent I-9 Disasters by Mira Mdivani

I-9 Auditor Training