Workforce: Immigrants Play Key Role In Utility Construction

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | March 2009 Vol. 64 No. 3

“In view of the current state of the law, employers must ensure that hiring managers are well trained in I-9 verification procedures. This means carefully examining the document or documents presented: Do they appear to be genuine? I have seen green cards and driver's licenses that misspell the name of the issuing agency. Does the picture appear to be that of the person presenting the document? Has the document been tampered with? And be aware of which documents are acceptable.

“In December 2008, the DHS has just issued an ‘Interim Final Rule’ amending the I-9 regulations to eliminate certain of the original List A documents on Form I-9. Make sure your hiring personnel are using the current version of Form I-9, and are only accepting documents permitted by DHS. The same rule states that effective Feb. 2, 209, expired documents of any kind can no longer be accepted.

“If a fraudulent document is confirmed or disclosed by an employee, this is ‘actual knowledge’ that a person is not authorized and the only proper response is termination of employment; based on the misrepresentation, such an employee should be ineligible for rehire. Employers often ask what to do if such a terminated employee shows up with a new set of identity and work authorization documents – the answer is, in general, don't rehire someone who previously misrepresented his identity – either he was lying then or he is lying now.

“Unfortunately, to avoid discrimination claims, employers cannot use E-Verify to screen out applicants, only to screen new hires. This is why all offers of employment must be contingent upon compliance with the I-9 process. As previously stated, E Verify will not detect identity fraud, since it only compares the employee's name and Social Security number with the name and number on file in the Social Security Administration database; it cannot detect whether the employee is in fact the person whose name and number were submitted. In the future, this will change because DHS is in the process of adding photo records to its database of permanent resident alien name/number records.”

State immigration laws