Recently we explored the coming “clash of the titans” over immigration paperwork with dueling state vs. federal lawsuits over conflicting laws and contractors trapped in a vice grip.

The coming year is likely to be much more of the same, powered by political preening for the presidential election November 3 by all the parties involved. For state officeholders, they see no downside in opposing the Trump administration at every turn. There is no love lost for most California politicians on the President’s part. He is sure of losing the state’s 54 electoral votes and uses the Golden State as an exemplar of his opposition to “sanctuary” policies to rally supporters, where he has a shot of gaining their Electoral College ballots just as he did to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Contractors should not think they will escape notice from either of the combatants. Inside the state, the bunch of bills passed to establish sanctuary areas—cities, counties, workplaces—all covered by laws that have yet to stand the test of federal judiciary consideration.

Since the construction industry is well known for its ability to provide jobs for immigrants, it is an easy target for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. You should also be aware that the government has stepped up its efforts to enforce the I-9 rules through increased employer audits. Another way looking at it is that it is a lot easier to raid your filing cabinets than your job site

First Line of Defense

All contractors are aware of the requirement to have new hires complete the I-9 Form. Contractors should be aware that both they and their new employees are subject to penalties if the forms are fraudulent, incorrect, or even just incomplete

The government has made changes to the I-9 in an attempt to make it easier, but this has not been the result. An “unintended consequence” of these attempts to “fix” the form is that employers are required to remain aware of when the revisions are made and always use the current forms, rather than the documents they used in the past.

Guess what? The current paperwork, available on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services “I-9 Central” website, expired on August 31, 2019.

The government is revising the form, but until completed, tested and approved, USCIS directs employers to continue using the Form I-9 currently available on I-9 Central. The USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of the Form I-9 as it becomes available.