IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT INCREASING – ARE YOU READY FOR AN ICE VISIT?
Under the Trump Administration, immigration enforcement is increasing. This is apparent from the recent raid of nearly 100 7-Eleven stores around the country, including Nevada, resulting in at least 21 arrests. Are you ready for a visit from ICE?
Earlier this year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced a comprehensive workplace enforcement strategy that is targeted at employers who violate employment laws. The strategy includes a three-prong approach in conducting workplace enforcement:
- Compliance — through I-9 inspections, civil fines, and referrals for debarment
- Enforcement — through the arrest of employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers and the arrest of unauthorized workers
- Outreach — through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program to instill a culture of compliance and accountability
ICE enforcement has many triggers. Not all of them are due to any wrongdoing by the employer. Perhaps your organization is at higher risk because of the type of work performed or the workers typically hired to do such work. A disgruntled former employee or competitor may contact ICE in an effort to make doing business more difficult. Neither of these examples necessarily mean you have done anything wrong. ICE workplace enforcement is intended to address employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, not those who are complying with the law. Nevertheless, well-meaning employers get caught up with the bad actors.
To reduce any potential liability, employers should audit all I-9s, completing or correcting those that need it; training all hiring managers and staff involved in employment verification processes; and develop a response plan, if one is not already in place, for when ICE visits and train all staff to respond appropriately.
Don’t end up like Asplundh Tress Experts Co. A recent ICE visit to Asplundh, one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States, revealed a scheme to unlawfully employ aliens, in which the highest levels of management remained willfully blind while lower level managers hired and rehired employees they knew to be ineligible to work in the United States. The company pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a monetary judgement of $80 million, the largest judgment ever ordered in a workplace enforcement investigation. Additionally, Asplundh must pay an additional $15 million to satisfy civil claims related to their failure to comply with immigration law.
Do you have a spare $95 million lying around? Ensure that your company is in compliance with all immigration and employment laws to reduce any civil or criminal liability when ICE arrives.
The Nevada Association of Employers (NAE) is dedicated to ensuring that employers are able to compete lawfully, ethically, and efficiently in the state of Nevada. To that end, NAE provides employers guidance on issues like these.
Since 1938, NAE has been providing Nevada businesses with services and support that help them successfully operate and grow their business. We are very proud of our history and all that we’ve been able to provide to the business community over the years. NAE continues to offer the same great services and support that we always have as well as new services to keep member businesses at the forefront so they can succeed in an ever changing business climate.
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