Commentary: The Lowly Form I-9 Gets a Low-Level Makeover By Ted J. Chiappari and Angelo A. Paparelli – New York Law Journal
As of Dec. 26, 2007, all employers must use the updated Form I-9, which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published in November. In use since 1986, the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is the form that all employers are required to complete at the time of hiring to verify the employment eligibility of new hires.
The USCIS has also issued a revised Handbook for Employers (Form M-274), which had been outdated and out of print for over a decade. The new I-9 can be downloaded from http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-9.pdf, and the new handbook from http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274.pdf.
The changes in the updated version seem minimal, some might say insignificant, and appear really more makeup than makeover. But they are long overdue, having been legislated by Congress in 1996. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA), §412(a), P.L 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546, 3009-666-3009-667, amending Immigration and Nationality Act §274A(b)(1), 8 U.S.C. §1324a(b)(1), shortened the list of acceptable documents proving both identity and employment eligibility in an attempt to simplify the I-9 process and improve employer compliance. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the predecessor of USCIS and its sister agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), implemented the statute by regulation in 1997, but never updated the actual form.
The publication of the new form provides an opportunity to explore how the labor-intensive Form I-9 fits in with recent DHS initiatives and the overall immigration enforcement scheme in the United States.
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