There are many people with strong feelings on both sides of the immigration issues facing this country. One thing, however, is certain: Employers are in a bad position if they've typically relied on undocumented workers without authorization to work here in the past and continue now to do so.
It's a violation of federal criminal laws for someone to:
- Knowingly refer undocumented workers to employers for "kickbacks"
- Knowingly recruit undocumented workers to work
- Knowingly hire undocumented workers
- Look the other way when an immigrant presents identifying information that is clearly forged, fraudulent or stolen
All employers -- regardless of the company's size -- have legal obligations to verify immigrants' legal rights to work in the United States. If an immigrant employee's work authorization isn't verified, the employers are subject to criminal punishment as well as civil penalties. In addition, companies could actually lose their licenses to transact business.
The current presidential administration has come down hard on both undocumented workers and those who employ them. Large raids in specific cities are constantly making the news. Plus, at least 11 employers have faced criminal charges in the last year for hiring undocumented employees.
In light of recent raids that have attracted intense media attention, more employers will likely face scrutiny and stiff penalties. Keep in mind that an employer who is a first-time offender can be fined $250-$2,000 per undocumented employee. A second offense can bring up to $5,000 per employee.
If your business has been targeted in a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), don't hesitate to get aggressive legal representation. Immigration offenses are serious. Our office welcomes your call.