With increased scrutiny of aliens in the United States – and the growing number of foreign workers in the pork industry – it’s critical that you comply with immigration laws.

"Properly filling out I-9 forms, and ensuring that you do not discriminate against alien workers in the hiring process are keys to avoiding trouble with immigration laws," says attorney Dave Whitlock of Fisher & Phillips LLP, Atlanta, Ga.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires a complete I-9 form for all employees hired since Nov. 6, 1986– not just for foreign-born workers.

"Document abuse" is an area where agricultural employers get into trouble with federal immigration laws, says Whitlock. This may occur when an employer:

  • Specifies which documents an employee must present to establish identity or eligibility to work in the United States;
  • Requires more or different documents the minimum necessary to complete the I-9 form; or
  • Refuses a document that reasonably appears to be genuine.

On the back of the I-9 form, there are three lists of acceptable identity and/or employment eligibility documents a worker may present. It’s critical that you let the employee choose which documents to present. The law does not require you to be an expert at detecting fraudulent documents. It does require you to accept those I-9 documents that an employee produces (which appear to be reasonably genuine on their face).

For More Information, check out "Labor Law Compliance: A Working Guide for Ag/Hort Employers" published by Gempler’s. The 134-page book is available for $39.55 per copy. To order, call Gempler’s at (800) 382-8473. It also is available online (order #10481), go to www.gemplersalert.com