Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan has indicated he instructed the investigative unit of ICE, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), to potentially quadruple worksite enforcement actions next year while speaking at an event focused on enforcing immigration laws and strengthening border security, according a video recording of the event available on C-SPAN.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. on October 17, 2017, Homan – the Trump administration’s top immigration enforcement official – said he ordered the time spent by HSI on work site enforcement to increase “by four to five times” after an audit. He said ICE “already increased the number of inspections in work site operations” and would “significantly increase this next fiscal year.”
Homan also said ICE would approach immigration enforcement “a little different” than in the past. “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers,” he said. The complete recording of the event is available on C-SPAN at www.c-span.org/video/?435827-1/acting-ice-director-discusses-immigration-enforcement (01:27:06).
The current Worksite Enforcement Fact Sheet on the ICE website – dated April 1, 2013 – indicates the agency employs a strategy that “prioritizes the use of criminal prosecutions against employers.” According to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report, ICE arrested 541 individuals on immigration charges and 362 individuals on criminal charges in work site actions in 2014, down from a peak in 2011.
In October 2017, ESR News reported that ICE and HIS helped the Department of Justice (DOJ) during a lengthy audit and investigation spanning 6 years that resulted in a tree trimming company – one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States – pleading guilty to unlawfully employing illegal workers and agreeing to pay $95,000,000, the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 makes it “unlawful for a person or other entity… to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.” Employers that hire illegal workers may be subjected to federal civil and criminal sanctions. The IRCA also requires employers to verify an employee’s eligibility for employment.
ICE enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety. ICE was created in 2003 through a merger of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. ICE now has more than 20,000 employees in more than 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries. To learn more, visit www.ice.gov.
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