With summer just around the corner, employers who hire seasonal help — like hotels, restaurants, landscapers, construction companies and even summer camps — should be especially careful to obtain the necessary documentation from everyone they hire. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “cracks down” on illegal immigrants, all employers are well advised to audit their paperwork to ensure that their documentation is complete and accurate. Lacking appropriate documentation could cost employers money in fines and defense costs. Employers could also lose business if they are “raided” and lose their staff; or worse yet, find themselves in jail.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act, employers are responsible to verify the employment eligibility of all workers hired to work in the United States. Employers must complete Employment Eligibility Verification forms (I-9s) for all employees, including U.S. citizens. Recently, the federal government stepped up its enforcement efforts against employers who hire illegal or undocumented workers. This follows years of lax enforcement, when inspection of I-9 compliance was virtually nonexistent, illegal workers thrived under a “catch and release” deportation standard, and no one seemed to care about the so-called Social Security mismatch problem.