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As ICE Audits Increase, I-9 Immigrant Employee Work Form Changes Sept. 18

I-9 form
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
The I-9 form verifies the identity and authorization of employees working in the United States.

Legal experts are warning businesses employing immigrant workers to make sure their paperwork is up to date and correctly filled out. This comes as more companies are being audited.

The I-9 form verifies the identity and authorization of employees working in the United States.

Now, authorities require employers fill out a new version of that form starting Sept. 18.

"This change came sort of out of the blue," Julie Pace, Phoenix lawyer with Cavanagh Law Firm, said. "So there wasn't a lot of notice."

Pace specializes in workplace law and said employers shouldn't re-do their current I-9s but should double-check the forms are accurate in case of costly audits.

"There have been more I-9 audits and I believe it's a function of the new administration and their focus on ensuring compliance with I-9 and also their focus on restriction immigration."

The new form includes several wording changes. Pace said I-9 penalties are also going up, almost doubling the minimum fine for a first offense.

If I-9 forms aren't correctly filled out, penalties can reach up to four thousand dollars on the first offense.

"There's no I-9 that expired, it's just published, and they have to continue to audit their I-9s, pay attention to their I-9 compliance training and strategies and use the correct I-9 or that can result in real fines."

Pace said employers should also use the new form when correcting and auditing their current paperwork.

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Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.