Government Looks for Companies Hiring Illegal Workers
The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency sent notices to 1,000 companies yesterday informing them of plans to inspect I-9 forms filled out by new employees along with other documents to determine if the businesses were employing illegal immigrants. The companies being audited, both large and small, were determined based on tips the government received that illegals were working on the job.
The Obama administration, according to an Associated Press report, has sought to find employers of illegal immigrants through audits rather than "high-profile workplace raids" favored by the ICE under George Bush.
Food manufacturing, restaurants, retail and related industries have been the subject of illegal immigrant searches in the past, although it appears as though most of the companies notified of the impending audit do not fit the description this go-around.
"ICE’s worksite enforcement strategy focuses on employers, penalizing those who knowingly violate the law and deterring others from breaking the law," Gillian Christensen, a spokesperson for the ICE, told the AP. "ICE may arrest workers we encounter, but arresting workers in and of itself is not a strategy or the goal of the program."
Companies found to have hired illegals are subject to civil and criminal penalties. According to The Wall Street Journal, "The possibilities range from fines and being barred from competing for government contracts to criminal charges of knowingly employing illegal workers, evading taxes and engaging in identity theft."
Peter Schey, an attorney for American Apparel, told the Journal that auditing I-9s is "a senseless policy in the name of making a down payment on comprehensive immigration policy."
- ICE notifies employers it will audit their records to check for hiring of illegal immigrants – The Associated Press/The Washington Post
- More ‘Silent Raids’ Over Immigration – The Wall Street Journal
Discussion Question: Do you agree with the government policy of cracking down on companies that hire illegal immigrants? What will stricter enforcement mean to retail businesses, suppliers and growers?