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Immigration crackdown shifts to employers as audits surge



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5/15/2018

Immigration crackdown shifts to employers as audits surge

BY ELLIOT SPAGATAssociated Press


FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Los Angeles. Immigration officials have sharply increased audits of companies to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the country, signaling the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration is reaching deeper into the workplace to create a "culture of compliance" among employers who rely on immigrant labor. Chris Carlson, File AP Photo

Read more here: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article211083859.html#storylink=cpy


WASHINGTON 

Immigration officials have sharply increased audits of companies to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the country, signaling the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration is reaching deeper into the workplace to create a "culture of compliance" among employers who rely on immigrant labor.

Expansive plans also have been drafted for a long-term push to scrutinize employers' hiring practices more closely.

Under a 1986 federal law, companies must verify their employees are authorized to work in the United States by reviewing their documents and verifying to the government the employees' identity and work authorization. If employers are found to hire someone without proper documents, the employers may be subject to administrative fines and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.

The recent focus on employers comes after a surge of deportation arrests of workers that started immediately after Trump took office in January 2017. The crackdown is likely to please immigration hawks among Trump's supporters but may alienate industries and companies that rely on immigrant labor.

There were 2,282 employer audits opened between Oct. 1 and May 4, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday, nearly a 60 percent jump from the 1,360 audits opened between October 2016 and September 2017. Many of those reviews were launched following the January ICE audits and employee interviews at about 100 7-Eleven franchises in 17 states.

There were 594 employers arrested on criminal immigration charges from Oct. 1 to May 4, up from 139 during the previous fiscal year, and 610 civil immigration charges during the same period, compared to 172 in the preceding 12-months.

Derek Benner, head of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit, told The Associated Press that another nationwide wave of audits planned this summer would push the total "well over" 5,000 by Sept 30. ICE audits peaked at 3,127 in 2013.

The agency has developed a plan to open as many as 15,000 audits a year, subject to funding and support for the plan from other areas of the administration, Benner said.

The proposal calls for creation of an Employer Compliance Inspection Center to perform employer audits at a single location instead of at regional offices around the country, Benner said. Electronically scanning the documents will help flag suspicious activity, and the most egregious cases will be farmed out to regional offices for more investigation. Audit notices will be served electronically or by certified mail, instead of in person.

Benner said that putting up to 250 auditors in one center with the right technology and a team of attorneys to quickly levy fines would enable his agency to audit between 10,000 and 15,000 companies annually.

The proposal aims to create a "reasonable expectation" among employers that they will be audited, Benner said.

"This is kind of our vision of creating this culture of compliance," he said. "I think it's a game-changer."

Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a group that represents small- and medium-size businesses, said the "rising tide of enforcement" can hurt companies in tight labor markets and industries, like construction, and threatens to ensnare employers who follow the law but are presented with fraudulent documents by their workers.

"It's just very hard to find workers willing to take some of these jobs," Jacoby said.

In October, Thomas Homan, ICE's acting director, pledged to increase workplace enforcement by "four or five times," opening a new front in an immigration crackdown that includes a 40 percent increase in deportation arrests and initial funding for a border wall with Mexico. In April, ICE agents made 97 arrests at a meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee with a helicopter flying above, reminiscent of the high-profile shows of force that were common during President George W. Bush's administration.

Benner said the agency will focus both on criminal cases against employers as well deporting employees who in the country illegally. Illegal hiring creates unfair advantages for companies, encourages people to come to the U.S. illegally, results in document and identity fraud and exposes workers to potentially dangerous conditions without overtime pay or health insurance, he said.

It remains to be seen whether immigration authorities can perform enough audits to compel a similar degree of compliance that the Internal Revenue Service does on personal and corporate tax returns. One measure may be the number of employees who voluntarily enroll in the federal government's E-Verify system to electronically confirm if a person is authorized to work in the U.S.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and an advocate for an employer crackdown, said the numbers show that the administration is following through on its pledge to scrutinize businesses but that it could take a while for a "culture of compliance" to take hold.

"My hope is we're going to see some employers perp-walked, but that's harder than it sounds," he said. "It's hard to get the suits at a company ... They will have told lower-level managers what to do with a wink and a nod and there's no record of it."

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents gather before serving a employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Los Angeles. Immigration officials have sharply increased audits of companies to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the country, signaling the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration is reaching deeper into the workplace to create a "culture of compliance" among employers who rely on immigrant labor. Chris Carlson, File AP Photo


Source: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article211083859.html




5/15/2018

今夏嚴打雇無證移民 ICE設雇主稽查中心


(World Journal) 編譯張玉琴



ICE突擊執法, 不少背負遞解令的無證移民被抓入移民監獄。(本報檔案照)ICE突擊執法, 不少背負遞解令的無證移民被抓入移民監獄。(本報檔案照)


移民當局為掃蕩職場的無證移民,對企業是否核實員工合法身分的稽查行動,已大幅增加;此現象顯示川普政府取締無證移民的觸角,已擴及工作場所,試圖讓仰賴移民勞工的雇主建立「奉公守法」的風氣;移民及海關執法局(ICE)官員14日預告,今年夏天將有另一波全美稽查行動。

美聯社報導,移民及海關執法局(ICE)並提案建議成立「雇主循法稽查中心」(Employer Compliance Inspection Center),將稽查工作集中處理,不再由分布全美各地的分處辦理;移民文件在該中心經電子掃描,有助於偵察出可疑案件,問題嚴重地區再交付地區官員做進一步調查;此外,稽查通知將經電子或掛號郵件寄送,不再由個人遞交。

根據1986年聯邦法律,企業必須核實受雇者的文件,確定其能否在美國合法工作,向政府證實受雇者的身分和工作權,雇主若被發現雇用無證移民,可能須繳交行政罰金,有的情況會遭受刑事起訴。

川普政府將掃蕩無證移民重點放在雇主身上,是因川普2017年1月上任後,移民勞工被捕和遭遣返的人數暴增;川普政府這項掃蕩行動可能取悅移民政策鷹派人士,但可能致使仰賴移民勞工的企業對川普產生異心。

ICE在14日指出,去年10月1日至今年5月4日的雇主稽查達2282件,比2016年10月至2017年9月的1360件,暴增60%左右。其中許多稽查發生於今年1月ICE對連鎖便利商店7-Eleven分布17州約100家分店進行的稽查和約談。

自去年10月1日至今年5月4日,有594名雇主因刑事移民控罪被捕,比前一會計年度的139人大幅增加;另外,在過去12個月中,遭民事移民控罪的雇主則由172人增為610人。

ICE國土全安調查部門主管班勒(Derek Benner)表示,今年夏天預定會有另一波全美稽查行動,在9月30日前,受稽查雇主將超過5000人;ICE在2013年稽查高峰期,稽查的雇主不過3127人。

班勒說,ICE已草擬方案,打算成立全國性中心,一年稽查1萬5000雇主。他指出,將該中心稽查員增為250人,再配備高科技,並由一個檢察官團隊加速課徵罰金,即可使ICE每年稽查1萬至1萬5000家公司。

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