Immigration Crackdown Shifts Focus to Employers

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, said that it had begun an audit of 652 U.S. companies to verify whether their employees were eligible to work. Violations could lead to fines, as well as civil and criminal charges.

The Obama administration announced a crackdown on Wednesday on hundreds of companies suspected of employing illegal immigrants, signaling a shift in strategy: going after employers instead of workers.

However, it is yet to know what steps the government would pursue if it verified that an employer had hired illegal workers, or how severe penalties might be. It remains to be seen how much pressure the new policy could put on employers. Focus is on the eminent cases of employers who hire undocumented workers, and sometimes even assist in falsifying their paperwork to avoid detection.

The new policy comes as President Barack Obama is attempting to ramp up support for an overhaul of immigration legislation that would set millions of illegal immigrants on the path to U.S. citizenship. Mr. Obama is seeking to put a spotlight on enforcement, according to several people involved in the new strategy, in order to counteract critics who charge he is preparing to naturalize large numbers of foreign workers at a time when unemployment among American citizens is climbing. Some 12 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S.

The government now plans to comb through the records at the companies it has notified. “Inspections are one of the most powerful tools the federal government has to enforce employment and immigration laws,” ICE said in a statement. ICE began notifying businesses that it planned to inspect their hiring records to see whether employees have proper employee documentation. Enforcement is currently looking for the companies primarily located in New York and California.

You can come in the scrutiny if you are not having valid and complete papers for your illegal workers. Hence, it is our sincere advice to abide by the Immigration laws. We will keep you informed on further developments on this issue.