On July 19, Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke before the House Judiciary Committee, offering important information on how US immigration law enforcement would affect employers.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Since January 2009, ICE has audited 8,079 employers who are suspected of “knowingly hiring” workers who do not have authorization to work in the US. The federal government has also debarred 726 companies and individuals from federal contracts; imposing and collecting more than $87.9 million in fines and sanctions against companies and their officers.
Sec. Napolitano said ICE will eliminate high-profile raids on worksites because such raids do little to improve public safety. The government now feels that deportation of criminal aliens and unauthorized workers is having little affect on employers’ willingness to hire these individuals. Instead, the government will renew and focus its efforts on Form I-9 inspections; civil fines; debarment; and employer education and compliance with current law.
USCIS, ICE and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) have greatly increased their engagement with employers and the public through national and local stake holder meetings, webinars and newsletters. Self-check through E-Verify is also encouraged for individual employees. There are now 385,000 companies participating in E-Verify with more than 1.1 million hiring sites. E-Verify is also developing a robust customer service hotline; and increasing outreach staff to promote the E-Verify’s benefits, and educate employers and employees about rights and responsibilities.
Federal agencies receive information to prosecute employers through local police enforcement; traffic stops; criminal prosecutions and informers; and through employee complaints to ICE hotlines and OSC online complaint forms.
The Obama Administration is refocusing efforts on worksite compliance and arrests of unauthorized and criminal aliens, and deporting these aliens at great cost to their countries of origin.
See you in my next blog.
Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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