The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced recently that its E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance branch (M&C) is now requesting I-9 forms as part of the agency’s desk review process. M&C’s mission is to provide E-Verify users with compliance guidance, and to monitor employer participation to detect, deter, and reduce misuse, abuse, and fraud.

Last month, USCIS announced that in a shift from prior practice, it will now request “Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification” when conducting E-Verify desk reviews. USCIS has the authority to review I-9 forms by virtue of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with USCIS that must be signed by all E-Verify participants.

Although an E-Verify desk review is not an enforcement audit or inspection, but rather is designed to provide compliance assistance to employers who are using E-Verify, USCIS still retains the right to refer alleged abuse cases to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), another division of DHS that enforces employer compliance with employment eligibility verification requirements. Regular I-9 form reviews by USCIS therefore increase the possibility of referral to ICE for a possible enforcement action.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.