At the end of an I-9 audit in which a fine is imposed, ICE requires
employers to sign a settlement agreement that contains an admission of
liability. ICE consistently refuses to waive this paragraph in the
agreement. If the employer is then found to have I-9 violations in the
future, it will be treated as a repeat offender, raising fines and
California Mantel, Inc., pushed back on this requirement by filing a
motion to enforce settlement with OCAHO, the administrative adjudicatory
body that governs I-9 violations. OCAHO found that in this instance,
ICE had agreed to a settlement amount before sending the agreement, and
thus admission clause was not part of the deal.
No doubt ICE attorneys will change their settlement negotiations in
light of this case. But it points out the benefit of pushing back on
admission clauses, which are no longer standard in other administrative
fine contexts, and gives attorneys more ammo to argue against them.
Good work, California Mantel, its attorneys and the American
Immigration Lawyers Association OCAHO Liaison Committee for bringing
this advancement to our attention!