SHRM Connect: An I-9 Audit ... at the Airport?

SHRM Connect is an online community where SHRM members can ask questions and get answers on a variety of HR topics. It’s a great place to network with other HR professionals and share solutions.  
The conversation topics range from “HR Department of One” to Employment Law, are always insightful, and deal with some of the most pressing issues that HR professionals face in the workplace today.
While some of the conversations take on a more serious tone, others will deliver a bit of comic relief, and on Fridays, I’ll be highlighting a conversation or two in hopes that you’ll take some time to visit. You may want to "lurk"… perhaps respond, but you’ll always learn something.  
It’s a great community and I highly recommend that you check it out.


An I-9 audit can be stressful.  Especialy when you're not sure if it's legitimate...  and when your attorney tells you to box up all your I-9 forms and documents and take them to the airport.  

In the HR Department of One group, an HR professional in Michigan writes:

Subject: I-9 Audit 

I received a call from a person stating they were with the dept of homeland security and wanted to audit our I-9 information.  I tried to return the call three times and got "voicemail is full".  I received a second call from this person stating that I was to have received a letter from them asking for our payroll records and an address to box up and ship out our original I-9 documentation/books.  I was floored by the request and immediately asked how long they would have these books.  The person initially joked and said for a couple of years but then stated it could take 2-3 months and then they would be returned.  I have never heard of this type of audit.  I contacted a resource for HR and they too thought this was suspicious and advised that I contact our attorney.  I have done this as well and he is just as suspicious as I am.  Have any of you come across this type of situation in the past?


I had a phone conversation with our attorney and he asked me to call the person back and request the letter be emailed to me so that I could forward that to him.  I did so.  The letter gave no information on sending the books off-site or the length of time that they would be gone for, as the person had suggested, over the phone.  This had me bothered.  I set up a meeting with our CEO and the attorney to go over this. I went to the website for ICE that had been suggested here in a reply and printed off the information.  The attorney stated that "these" auditors can play games and we should be as accommodating as possible, direct and to the point when questioned.  I am confident in our I-9 process but surely don't like going through all these hoops when I still feel like something is off.  Example, the letter that was emailed to me says US Department of Homeland Security but the address is listed as such:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(Street Address)
(City, State, and Zip Code)
Do we know how to spot fake ID for the potential auditor that comes to the property?
I did call DHS and they had me speak with eVerify who ended up being DHS when they answered.  They assured me that they would never email a request nor would they ask me to send anything out.  I have asked the attorney to take over from here.
Attorney has called me and said he spoke to the auditor.  I am being told, by the attorney, to take the original I-9 forms and all of the documents they are asking for, to the airport for the audit.
I am beside myself in disbelief.
SHRM Members may read/respond to this conversation here
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