Archive for the 'Immigration' Category

Homeland Security Stepping Up I-9 Enforcement in 2009 – 2010

We have a guest blogger today.  Kathy Hanenburg.

Kathy is a partner at WNJ who specializes in business immigration, representing clients who hire non-U.S. workers for highly skilled and technical positions, as well as businesses needing to transfer executive and managerial personnel from abroad to the United States. She also counsels human resource professionals on immigration and I-9 compliance issues. Kathy is the Chair of the Firm’s Immigration Law Practice Group.

On November 19, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (“ICE”) announced that it had served an additional 1,000 audit notices on businesses across the U.S., intended to find and penalize employers who hire undocumented workers.  These audits are in addition to the 650 audits already initiated in fiscal 2009.

The initial audits targeted specific industries, such as manufacturing, agriculture, landscaping and construction.  ICE has indicated that the second round of audits resulted from “investigative leads and intelligence” (i.e., “tips”)  as well as a business’s ties to public safety and national security.

ICE noted that since its new work-site enforcement strategy was implemented on April 30, 2009, it had issued Notices of Intent to Fine totaling more than $15 million, compared with only $2.3 million in all of fiscal 2008.

Fines for hiring or continuing to employ unauthorized workers fall into three tiers, depending on whether the employer is a “first-time violator”, “second-time violator” or “third or subsequent time violator”.  The current fines for each illegal hiring  are:  First Tier-$375 – 3,200; Second Tier-$3,200 – 6,500; Third Tier-$4,300 – 16,000.

The actual amount of fines assessed will depend on a number of factors, including what percentage of the employer’s work force is determined to be undocumented and the size of the business.