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If you are considering employing one or more persons for your business, you are required to comply with United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) requirements for determining the employment eligibility of each individual you hire.

Federal immigration law determines whether a person is an alien, and associated legal rights, duties, and obligations of aliens in the United States. It also provides means by which certain aliens can become naturalized citizens with full rights of citizenship. Immigration law serves as a gatekeeper for the nation's border: it determines who may enter, how long they may stay and when they must leave.

An "alien" is considered any person who is not a citizen or a national of the United States. There are different categories of aliens: resident and nonresident, immigrant and nonimmigrant, documented and undocumented ("illegal" ).

Congress has total and complete authority over immigration. Power of the President is limited to policies on refugees. Unless the issue concerns the rights of aliens to constitutional protections the courts have rarely intruded.

The need to stem illegal immigration prompted Congress to enact the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. The IRCA toughened criminal sanctions for employers who hire illegal aliens, denied illegal aliens federally funded welfare benefits, and legitimized some aliens through an amnesty program. The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 sought to limit the practice of marrying to obtain citizenship. The Immigration Act of 1990 thoroughly revamped the INA making allocation of visas more even among foreign nations, eliminating archaic rules, and increasing the level of worldwide immigration.

The U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) requires that employers have on file an I-9 form for every employee.

For general information on the I-9 program, click here

I-9 FORM (pdf)

Release Date: 1/29/2001 12:00:00 AM