Friday, August 12, 2011

Feds: ICE visit was routine inspection (Moultrie Observer)

Feds: ICE visit was routine inspection
Alan Mauldin
The Moultrie Observer
August 11, 2011

MOULTRIE — A visit this week by federal authorities to a Colquitt County business was a routine check of workers’ records, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday.

The I-9 inspection at Mobley Plant Co. was conducted as part of the agency’s program to check employee eligibility verification forms, said Temple Black, an agency spokesman.

During the inspections, ICE pays surprise visits to employers, at which time I-9 forms are requested, and agents also may request copies of payroll and employee lists as well as articles of incorporation and business licenses, the agency’s web site said.

Employers are given three business days to present the I-9 forms.

If the inspection turns up violations, an employer is given 10 days to correct them. If the agency determines that an employer knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers, it may impose fines ranging from $375 to $16,000 per violation.

The fine for other violations, including failure to provide an employee’s I-9 form, is $110 to $1,100 per violation.

“The way the program is designed is to be done in six-month increments,” Black said. “Businesses aren’t notified. That’s kind of what’s happening there.”

The inspection at the Colquitt County business was not a raid, he said. Results of the inspection will be released after they are completed.

In December 2008 ICE detained 25 workers at chicken processor Sanderson Farms’ facility on U.S. Hwy. 133 after an investigation. That investigation was launched to determine if those workers, all from Guatemala and Mexico, had authorization to be in the country.

The agency described that investigation as a work site operation that focused on certain employees, not a routine records check as was the case this week.

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