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Iowa Immigration Law Blog: Chink in the I-9 Admission Clause Armor - February 16, 2013

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 penalties. 

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!