On the heals of a new government push to reduce the hiring of illegal immigrants, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up investigations into business practices in Georgia. Since hiring an illegal immigrant frequently results in falsifying some tax or identification paperwork, the practice results in a federal crime.
The trend now is that ICE is performing more audits of businesses rather than going after the illegal immigrants themselves. This results in heftier charges and heavier fines, typically. ICE reports that last year 105 Atlanta business were audited, resulting in $900,000 in fines and many arrests. One study showed that 325,000 illegal immigrants were employed in Georgia in 2010.
Though ICE seems to be focusing more on cracking down on employers rather than illegal immigrants, nearly 100 illegally-employed immigrants were arrested in the Atlanta area last year.
During the hiring process, an employer must sign off on a form that states that they have examined the identification or employment eligibility of the new employee, thus making it important for employers to carefully examine documents presented to them. An employer can save a lot of fines and legal trouble if they ensure that their employment records are complete.
Working to control the country's immigration system is a hot topic in the federal government, and ICE is looking to tighten up national hiring practices to further that interest. Investigation into illegal hiring practices is on the rise, and the knowledge and experience of a skilled attorney is the best way to stay protected.