Fulfilling a pledge President Obama made during the 2008 campaign, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced it is shifting its immigration enforcement activities to target employers that hire undocumented workers instead of targeting the workers themselves.
The new emphasis should put employers on notice to pay close attention to their employment eligibility verification processes. Failing to comply can carry a high price.
Understanding these issues will be vital for your HR compliance in 2009 and beyond. That’s why Business Management Daily is presenting Immigration Compliance Update 2009-2010: I-9s, E-Verify, Crackdowns and the 'Obama Effect.' Register now for this eye-opening, interactive webinar on Oct. 28
Houston-based IFCO Systems, the nation’s largest pallet manufacturer, recently paid a record $20.7 million fine to settle claims that it knowingly employed more than 1,000 illegal immigrants.
A DHS statement said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in April issued new guidance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directing the agency to focus its resources on “the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers.” The goal, the statement said, is “to target the root cause of illegal immigration.”
“Employment is the primary driving force behind illegal immigration,” the statement said. “By working with employers to ensure a legal workplace, ICE is able to stem the tide of those who cross our borders illegally or unlawfully remain in our country to work.”
According to immigration attorney Greg Siskind, the new ICE guidance signals an evolution of immigration enforcement policy, while laying the groundwork for a more fundamental change. "The White House seems poised to keep up the pressure on business while it pushes for a major immigration reform package that is intended to legalize much of the illegally present work force," Siskind said.
We asked immigration superlawyer Gregory Siskind to host this instructional and interactive event: Immigration Compliance Update 2009-2010. Gregory is frequently quoted in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and is the author of the new SHRM book, The Employer’s Immigration Compliance Desk Reference. Register for the webinar here
DHS emphasized it will continue to arrest and deport illegal workers it discovers in the course of its investigations. However, it’s clear the department sees employers as the problem, not undocumented workers.
The statement cited statistics showing that of the 1,100 people arrested on criminal charges in 2008 following ICE workplace enforcement investigations, 135 were employers. Another 5,100 workers were charged with immigration violations.
The DHS statement said ICE would base upcoming investigations on tips from the public, reports from current and former employees and referrals from other law enforcement agencies. “ICE does not randomly target employers,” the statement said. “All investigations and arrests are based on specific intelligence obtained from a variety of sources.”
It said ICE will not target specific industries or kinds of workplaces.
During Immigration Compliance Update: 2009-2010 you’ll learn:
1. Tips for I-9 Compliance
2. Electronic I-9s
- How to legally complete the new I-9 and avoid the audit traps. Certain documents are no longer acceptable.
- How have the penalties/risks changed?
- The 10 biggest mistakes you're making with I-9 paperwork—and how to avoid them.
- How to correctly (and legally) manage your I-9 compliance in electronic format.
- Pros & cons of going electronic: Is it worth it?
- How to choose an electronic I-9 vendor.
4. Social Security "No-Match" Letters
- How the online system works.
- Is it wise to enroll now? Legal and logistical pros & cons.
- State vs. federal law compliance.
- How to comply with the new federal E-Verify rule—and who must comply (you may be surprised).
5. Immigration Reform under the Obama Administration
- Back where we began—what happened to the proposed “no-match” rule?
- How to handle mismatched Social Security numbers now.
Register now for this need-to-know event!
- Outlook for reform and visa changes.
- Future and targets of enforcement crackdown.
- Why USCIS is cracking down on I-9 violators—and how you can stay clean.