New DHS Rules for Employers of Illegal Workers

Posted on August 22, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

On August 10, 2007, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced new rules that will strengthen the enforcement of immigration law in the US.  Once implanted, these rules will have significant impact upon the Asian community, especially businesses that have traditionally relied upon large amounts of illegal workers, such as the restaurant industry, agriculture industry, construction industry, grocery stores and others.  The following are some of the new rules:

First, the Department Of Homeland Security issued a “No-Match” regulation that will help the government identify and crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers.  Currently, in cases where an employer has a significant number of employees with inaccurate personal identity information, the Social Security Administration will send the employer a “No-Match” letter.  Currently, most employers simply ignore these letters from the Social Security Administration.  According to the new rule, employers may be held liable if they ignore the “No Match” problems by failing to take the specified steps within 90 days of receiving the letter.

Secondly, the Department Of Homeland Security will raise the civil fines imposed on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants by approximately 25 percent.  DHS will use existing authority to update civil fines for inflation in order to boost fines by about 25 percent, as much as is allowed under current law.

Thirdly, the administration will continue to expand criminal investigations against employers who knowingly hire large numbers of illegal aliens.  According to recent information, arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for criminal violations have increased from 24 in FY 1999 to a record 716 in FY 2006.  There have been 742 criminal arrests since the beginning of FY 2007 (through July 31).

Because of the above positions and actions taken by the DHS, in order to avoid serious fines and even criminal punishment, a lot of the business owners in the Asian community need to think hard to find creative ways to recruit legal and competent workers, including bringing foreign worker legally into the US through H2B or the Perm program.

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