U.S. plans crackdown on employers of illegal workers

By Associated Press
Posted Jan. 20 at 5:58 a.m.

The Obama administration plans to intensify a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants with the establishment of an audit office designed to bolster verification of company hiring records.

In an interview, John Morton, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, said the Employment Compliance Inspection Center would “address a need to conduct audits even of the largest employers with a very large number of employees.” The office would be announced Thursday, he said.

Morton said that the center would be staffed with specialists who will pore over the I-9 employee files collected from companies targeted for audits.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010, ICE conducted audits of more than 2,740 companies, nearly twice as many as the previous year. The agency levied a record $7 million in civil fines on businesses that employed illegal workers.

Enforcement activity during the Bush administration focused on high-profile raids in which thousands of illegal immigrants were arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. Relatively few companies and their executives were prosecuted.

In contrast, the Obama administration has made employers the center of its immigration policy with “silent raids.” Critics say the policy has penalized small employers while failing to target larger employers.

Morton said the new center would have the “express purpose” of providing support to regional immigration offices conducting large audits. “We wouldn’t be limited by the size of a company,” he said.

The audits, which have affected garment makers, fruit growers and meat packers, result in the firing of every illegal immigrant on a company’s payroll. Companies say this has hurt them, especially as they can’t attract American workers even during an economic downturn.

“Ultimately, it is in a company’s best financial interest to proactively comply with the law now rather than to face potential fines or criminal prosecution for noncompliance in the future,” an ICE spokeswoman said.

Morton said ICE was also seeking to expand a program enabling businesses to work with the federal government to ensure they are employing people authorized to work in the U.S. Called IMAGE, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, the voluntary program includes training and assessments to help a company guard against hiring illegal employees.

Morton will also announce Thursday that Tyson Foods Inc., which employs 100,000 people and has had immigration troubles in the past, has joined the program, agreeing to an audit of “a certain portion of existing records.” The poultry processor, which says it has already taken steps to maintain a legal work force, also agreed to establish an internal auditing process, Mr. Morton said.

Morton suggested Tyson could pave the way for other big companies to join the program. Tyson faced federal human-smuggling charges in a high-profile trial that resulted in acquittal in 2003.

“We believe this partnership will enhance our ability to collaborate with government officials on immigration-related matters,” said Tyson Chief Human Resources Officer Ken Kimbro.

Since ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006, only 115 companies have signed on, with many reluctant to open their books to government scrutiny and to invest in training and new systems to bolster their employer-verification process, experts say.

About 11 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S., according to government estimates.

-By Miriam Jordan, The Wall Street Journal



  1. Dave Jan. 20 at 7:26 a.m.

    About time we went after these corporations who hire illegals.

  2. bob Jan. 20 at 7:39 a.m.

    If you can”t stop them at the boarded ,I guess you have to do it this way,It will take to long for them to get citizenship to re=elect obama.
    Unless Durban has his way with that wet dream act which was shot down once

  3. Jean SC Jan. 20 at 8:10 a.m.

    It’s disingenuous for employers who’ve relied on illegal aliens to whine that they have trouble attracting legal workers even in this downturn. The fact is, these employers have structured their task distribution, scheduling, and pay/benefits packages to take advantage of the fact that they can exploit illegal aliens. To be forced to employ only legal workers of whatever citizenship status, means they’ll have to restructure all these elements. It’s doable. The thing about garment-making, fruit-growing, and meat-packing, is that these are all things that U.S. citizens have done for themselves for centuries; some still do sew some of their own clothes, grow fruit, and pack meat (mostly in the form of hunters butchering their own game). But when we do these things for ourselves, we control the schedule and the working conditions. Employers who claim they can’t restructure their workplaces and pay/benefits packages to attract legal workers are nothing but lying sociopaths.

  4. janine Jan. 20 at 8:26 a.m.

    It’s all about the profit Jean, in the name of shareholder. Unfortunately for you and me, it’s ONLY about BONUSES. That’s the only worry about having to restructure wages and benefits-their BONUS would be cut down.

    It so entirely too sickening for me to continue this comment.

  5. roundlaketom Jan. 20 at 8:47 a.m.

    About time we round these criminals up and send them back before they squirt out more babies and suck more life out of the American economy. Obama,Durbin want the Dream act so they can make them legal and get their sorry a$$es reelected.

  6. roundlaketom Jan. 20 at 8:48 a.m.

    Maybe they should Obama back where he came from while they are at it!

  7. John Jan. 20 at 8:51 a.m.

    Only 7 million in fines? That is like 50 cents per illegal. Not much of a determent.
    Make this really sting. Better yet, make it draw blood. At 50 cents per illegal in fines, do you thing you are going to get an employers attention.

    Then you need to drag some of the HR departments and head executives into court…criminal court…not civil court. That will get more attention than a fine.

  8. gocubsgo2010 Jan. 20 at 10:01 a.m.

    I am wondering what will happen to product pricing if the Fed is successful at eliminating the illegal workforce. I agree that only legal workers should be employed in the US but wage pressures related to this approach coupled with free trade agreements with foreign countries may cause a net loss in consumer purchasing power as well as a net loss in employment. The macroeconomic impact of the crackdown should be reported alongside this news report.

  9. Jim Jan. 20 at 10:14 a.m.

    Codify by statute, the use of “E-Verify” for ALL employers!!! New Employees within 3 days; Existing Employees within 30 days. Fines for employer NON-compliance should be $10,000 for every employee not screened through “E-Verify” and $100,000 if they are found to be “illegal aliens.” Criminal prosecution should be filed against “employer repeat offenders.” The use of “E-Verify” can serve as a sort of ‘insurance policy’ with a paper trail to protect employers should “illegals” with false documents be uncovered in their workplace.

  10. Kats Jan. 20 at 10:58 a.m.

    Well it’s about time. When are they going to go after them and send them back where they came from now. No Amensty for these lawbreakers! Us tax payers are tired of paying their housing, schooling, food, healthcare etc. I’ll help any “Citizen” of America, but not a dime should go on these lawbreakers. Obozo and Durbin better leave any dream act alone. They broke our laws and should be sent back and not able to apply for any citizenship for 3 years. Those that do work get paid cash, live in an apartment with 5 other familes and don’t have to claim any income. Actually, an illegals asked me if I wanted some dependants to claim on my taxes. He said that they have 3 children born here with SS numbers and if I want to claim them and split the money with them I could. Boy, these illegals really know how to screw this country and the government trying to save them. Try saving a “citizen” and maybe a real american can have a dream of their own.

  11. bystander2 Jan. 20 at 11:12 a.m.

    Start with the Biggest fast food corporations,All of them have illegals working.

  12. Jim Jan. 20 at 11:20 a.m.

    I have no problem with the government cracking on down on the hiring of illegals, if:

    a) The illegals are deported rather than just being processed and released to return for trial on their own recognizance, which you know they will never do.

    b) Ensure that the companies are given the tools necessary to verify citizenship efficiently and then what steps they need to take to report the illegal.

    In addition to this crackdown, the government needs to secure our borders NOW!

  13. Mick Jan. 20 at 12:45 pm

    Brace yourself. Now you’re going to have to hear a bunch of crap from civil rights activists.

  14. knowsbetter Jan. 20 at 12:59 pm

    Job market should open up very nicely after all the illegals get put off the books.
    Start in Chicago, San Fran, LA and all the other cities that harbor fugitives from the law.
    You can put the Mayors of those cities in jail also for allowing this crap to continue.

  15. Wayne Jan. 20 at 12:59 pm

    The concerns about prices going up due to wage increases may be overblown, considering that the vast majority of the jobs already are subject to prevailing wage issues, its not like we are talking people getting paid under the table.

  16. WILSON Jan. 20 at 3:10 pm

    We do not need any immigration reform, we just need the proper enforcement of existing laws! This includes checking the legal status before someone gets hired. With no jobs illegals will go home on their own. I think checking the status should also apply to all levels of government – I was told by someone who works for LA County that 1/3 of their employees have questionable status.

  17. Francis Jan. 20 at 5:28 pm


    Like it or not, the only way to completely halt illegal immigration is the issuance of a National ID card, with a main database of every single citizen and legal permanent resident? It’s a terrible situation our nation is suffering through, but the costs appropriated to subsidize foreign nationals and their families would disappear if you has to possess a federal Identification card like many other industrialized countries. Losing a little of our privacy, would save perhaps hundreds of billions of taxpayers money, as foreign illegal workers and their extended families would no longer be able to fool federal, state and local law enforcement. Businesses would have no excuse for hiring illegal labor and the “not knowingly hiring” law would become moot, as every worker would have to show the ID card.

    America is sinking under a massive fiscal support burden for not addressing the illegal alien invasion. If you cannot imagine the expenditure in just the health care system alone, then you should read the report by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, spring 2005 http://www.jpands.org/vol10no1/cosman.pdf After reading this numbing revelation, you probably will need a good dose of Milk of Magnesia. You can ignore the massive issue that illegal alien settlement has become. Or you can make your vote known and add your wrath to millions by contacting Washington Congressional leaders at 202-224-3121. You can also address this disgusting situation to your local state Congressman as well, even start a conversation on your local radio or TV station. INCREASINGLY A VOLUME OF AMERICAN STATES ARE PASSING THEIR OWN BILLS, BECAUSE OF THIS ADMINISTRATION OR PAST GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO STOP THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ONSLAUGHT.

    Stopping illegal immigration in the interior is of urgent importance, and the magnet from less than honest business must be held accountable. The attitude of businesses is indifferent, specially local contractors and sub-contractors who should be painfully fined with confiscation of business assets, with a prison sentence held over their head for a second offense .Some of this money paid in fines could be awarded to Whistle blowers, who are convinced that the company owner is hiring illegal aliens and not using a permanent E-Verify verification programs. Once the border barrier can be seen to hold back the deluge of the impoverished migrants, then a Guest Worker program could be introduced to relieve the labor shortage in agriculture. However it must be overseen for fraud, as viewed after the 1986 Immigration Reform. Every contract signed must indicate that the said person cannot change jobs, cannot bring in any family members as they are classed as a temporary labor.

    Even when the majority of Americans have expressed they are against any amnesty, legal importation of non-citizens there have been quietly ushered into this country in seven small amnesties, outside of the roughly 1.5 million medium-skilled workers who enter the workforce yearly. Much of the fraudulent import of immigrants is perpetrated on the labor department by unscrupulous lawyers. Each visa program has its erroneous applications for entry, from countries with high populations of moderate technical workers, instead of training large pools of US citizens and green card possessors. Companies that are involved in these hiring travesties are not obligated to furnish any benefits including health care. If the businesses downsizes the first to go are the newcomers, who then are limited to resources and must depend on federal entitlements.

    Join a local chapter of the Tea Party, who have their own candidates in Congress and give them the support they need. There are hundreds of reliable reports on the foreign occupation of our country and you should become part of the battle lines or you can remain indifferent to the whole whole thing? You can take the Liberal extremists at their word that the poor and desperate are a good money maker for our economy, or you can swallow the ugly truth that for every dollar spent, they are reimbursed 3 dollars of your money.You can take Senator Harry Reid at his word about immigration reform or say no to any form of Amnesty including the birthright baby citizenship law. Taxpayers can remain being a philanthropist for every illegal alien who slips over the border or drops in by jet plane, or join the growing discontent of millions of unemployed Americans.

    We must build the real, original double layer fence (2006 Secure Fence Act), then station the armed military to ward off the unceasing rush of illegal invaders or you can sit back and watch as our bleeding United States GDP escalates past 14 Trillion dollars. If you are Interested where your taxes are going, then read about the immigration corruption articles at NumbersUSA and JudicialWatch.

    No copyright. Distribute freely.

  18. ok Jan. 22 at 12:32 a.m.
  19. Johannes Jan. 23 at 9:36 a.m.

    I guess Obama with his liberal “audit-idea” is going to tell us more than what we already know about illegal aliens in: Chicago-Land ?? Half of Chicago is Illegal, Obama is probably an illegal himself with false birth documents, and was an ILL. Kenyan born Senator and ILL. Alien Resident, an ACORN, Community Organizer ( illegals included of course ). Open your eyes America ! Vote in 2012 !

  20. Pete Jan. 26 at 9:37 pm

    Sure they will. Democrats LOVE illegal immigration. So do Republicans for that matter, but for different reasons. The illegal immigration problem will never be solved, as it is to politicians’ maximum benefit to keep things exactly as they are now.