Nationwide Increase of Immigration Enforcement Against Employers

October 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch is not immune from ICE. A $1,047,110 fine settlement was imposed in September.

Employers are being targeted nationwide for immigration audits by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). Since 2009, the strategy employed by ICE to reduce the number of illegal immigrants to the U.S. is to focus on employers. ICE has imposed a record number of civil and criminal penalties against employers who violate immigration laws. In FY 2010, ICE conducted more than 2,200 I-9 audits — up from a little more than 1,400 in FY 2009.

Employers can be fined up to $1,100 for each illegal employee, even if the employer is unknowingly hiring an undocumented worker. An alarming example of this – the clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch recently incurred a $1,047,110 fine settlement for violations stemming from a November 2008 Form I-9 inspection of retails stores in Michigan. According to an ICE press release, “The audit uncovered numerous technology-related deficiencies in Abercrombie & Fitch’s electronic I-9 verification system. …no instances of the knowing hire of unauthorized aliens were discovered.”

There is no sign of concession as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to target U.S. employers in an effort to control illegal immigration. Employers must be well-informed of their responsibilities and carefully execute internal systems used to manage the employment process. The I-9 Form is a crucial component.

Unfortunately, as ICE imposes a record number of raids, training for employers is lacking. As a response, GoffWilson has created the comprehensive training seminar, “Form I-9 and E-Verify: What You Need To Know.” GoffWilson also provides I-9 Audits for employers concerned with the state of their I-9 Forms, and training for employees who manage the employment process.

If your company receives a legal notification from ICE, you have typically have three business days to respond. Contact GoffWilson immediately.

President Obama Delivers Immigration Speech

July 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

President Obama Delivers Immigration Speech at American University

Today President Obama gave his first speech directly addressing the topic of Immigration Reform.

Although the President did not outline specific details for moving forward with Immigration Reform, he did emphasize the need and importance of reform. In his speech, President Obama acknowledged the issue as “thorny and emotional,” while stressing his belief that the system is broken.

President Obama said that the U.S. is implementing and improving the system that gives employers the ability to verify their employees‘ immigration status, although he did not provide specific details. He added that businesses who employ illegal immigrants will be held responsible:

“Businesses must be held accountable if they break the law by deliberately hiring and exploiting undocumented workers. We’ve already begun to step up enforcement against the worst workplace offenders. And we’re implementing and improving a system to give employers a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally. But we need to do more. We cannot continue just to look the other way as a significant portion of our economy operates outside the law.”

For a through overview of President Obama’s speech, visit this article by USA Today. For a complete transcript of his speech, visit the White House website.

As news emerges on this important topic, GoffWilson will keep readers of The Immigration bLAWg updated.

Employers Still Held Accountable for Info In No-Match Letters

April 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Michel Malecot, Owner The French Gourmet

On April 21, 2010, a sixteen count indictment was unsealed that alleges the owner, manager, and The French Gourmet, a San Diego bakery, knowingly employed undocumented workers. Michel Malecot, the owner of the bakery, and Richard Kauffmann, a manager, are charged with twelve felony counts of making false statements and shielding undocumented employees from detection. If convicted, they face a maximum of five years in prison for each count, a $250,000 fine for each count, and three years of supervised release. The indictment is also seeking criminal forfeiture of the company’s proceeds that were gained from the business’ unlawful activities, including the company’s building that is valued at $1.3 million according to county records. Both men entered not guilty pleas and posted bail.

The government has built the case on the no-match letters from the Social Security Administration and records seized by a warrant in May 2008. Social Security no-match letters are issued by the Social Security Administration and notify an employer that the names and numbers of specific employees do not match.

The indictment alleges that, after receiving no-match letters from the Social Security Administration, the managers paid the employees in cash until a new set of documents with different Social Security numbers were provided.

Employers should seek legal advice if they have received Social Security no-match letters in the past. This indictment shows that employers are still being held accountable for the information contained in the no-match letters.

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