The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 sought to control illegal immigration by prohibiting the hiring and continued employment of undocumented aliens who are not authorized to work in the United States. Since IRCA’s enactment on November 6, 1986, all U.S. Employers have been required to verify that the identity and employment authorization for all employees in the United States. Completion and retention of Form I-9 for all U.S. employees is mandatory for all employers.

Employers may also voluntarily enroll in E-Verify, a program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for additional verification of employment authorization of its U.S. employees. In many states, including Colorado, enrollment in E-Verify is mandatory for certain employers.

Employers conducting business in the state of Colorado are also subject to the Colorado Employment Verification Law, which requires the completion and retention of the “Colorado Affirmation” form when hiring new employees.

Failure to comply with Federal I-9 and Colorado Employment Verification requirements can carry significant monetary fines and civil sanctions.

It is critical for Employers to understand that while their verification of employment authorization for all U.S. employees is required, they must also avoid immigration related discrimination in hiring. Employers are strongly advised to pay close attention to both what is required (to ensure they do not employ unauthorized workers) and what is prohibited (to ensure they do not engage in immigration-related discrimination against current and prospective employees). Both the employment of unauthorized workers and immigration-related discrimination against prospective, current and former employees can expose employers to significant civil and criminal liability.

Our team at Kolko & Associates, P.C., can provide assistance to employers with Federal Form I-9 and Colorado Affirmation compliance training, I-9 audits and response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Colorado Department of Labor enforcement actions.

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Kolko & Associates is a full service immigration and naturalization law firm providing professional legal services to individuals and businesses throughout Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West, the United States, and the World. Our professional staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, German, and Slovak, and we can arrange for translators in any other language.