Tag Archives: illegal workers

Alabama E-Verify Law Requiring Businesses to Enroll in E-Verify by April 1 No April Fools Joke

All businesses in Alabama must enroll in the federal E-Verify employment eligibility verification system by April 1, 2012, and this is no April Fools’ Joke. According to ‘The Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act’ (H.B. 56), considered by many to be the toughest immigration enforcement measure in the country to date, every Alabama business – regardless of size – must enroll in E-Verify by the April 1 deadline to be in compliance with the law or else they could lose their licenses for failing to abide by the law. The full text of Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act is at: http://www.openbama.org/index.php/bill/fulltext/3154. Continue reading

E-Verify Requirement in Fremont NE Takes Effect March 5 with Grace Period until May 4

The Fremont, Nebraska city council recently voted to implement the E-Verify portions of an immigration petition – ‘Ordinance No. 5165’ – that requires businesses getting a business license in the city or performing work in the city to use the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system. The ordinance took effect March 5, 2012, and businesses have a grace period of until May 4, 2012 to comply. A copy of the Fremont, Nebraska Ordinance 5165 is available at: http://www.fremontne.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=770. Continue reading

New E-Verify Laws Create Complex Web of Federal and State Rules for Employers

While federal law mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors in all states must use the otherwise voluntary electronic employment eligibility verification system known as E-Verify, several U.S. states – including Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, and North Carolina – recently enacted laws mandating the use (or non-use) of E-verify, a free web-based system that allows employers to verify the legal work authorization status of newly hired employees, creating a complex and confusing web of laws and regulations. This is Trend Number 8 of the fifth annual  ‘Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Top 10 Trends in Background Checks’ for 2012. To view the list of trends, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ESR-Top-10-Trends-in-Background-Checks-for-2012.php. Continue reading

New Alabama Law Requires Employers to Use E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification System

A new law in Alabama signed by Republican Governor Robert Bentley would require employers to use the now-voluntary federal employment eligibility verification system known as E-Verify to ensure that newly hired employees are legally eligible to work in the United States and would also authorize the revocation of business licenses for companies that employ illegal workers. All Alabama employers, both public and private, must begin using E-Verify when hiring new employees no later than April 2012. Continue reading

Georgia Governor Signs Immigration Enforcement Law Requiring Use of E-Verify for Employment Eligibility Verification

Joining the growing list of states mandating the use of the government’s E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system for private companies, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed into law a stringent immigration bill – ‘HB 87 – The ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ – that requires private employers in the state with more than 10 employees to check the immigration status of new hires using E-Verify, according to a press release from the Governor’s office. Continue reading

Supporters Say E-Verify Helps Employers Check Immigration Status of Newly Hired Employees

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives responding to an editorial in the Washington Post wrote that the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system helps employers check the immigration status of workers and maintain a legal workforce, and also that E-Verify can only be used on new hires and not for screening job applicants.

The January 22 Washington Post editorial, ‘The limits of immigration enforcement,’ focused on one of the world’s largest food processing firms that recently received a federal seal of approval for its hiring practices from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after officials from the agency checked employment records for just about every one of the more than 100,000 workers employed by the company. Although roughly a quarter of a million companies have enrolled in E-Verify – which is described as “a federal program that screens potential new hires for employment eligibility” in the 1/22 editorial – most companies seem reluctant to have existing workforces checked since the U.S. labor force contains an estimated 6 to 7 million undocumented immigrants.

The following response appeared in the Washington Post on January 27, in part to support use of E-Verify but also to remind employers that E-Verify can only be used after a job applicant is hired and should not be used as a method of background screening:

Helping employers check workers’ immigration status

Contrary to the Jan. 22 editorial “The limits of immigration enforcement,” the E-Verify federal program is not used on potential hires, as the editorial stated. It can be used only for newly hired employees. In order to prevent discrimination, the Web-based E-Verify program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, prohibits employers from using E-Verify to screen potential hires. Rather, E-Verify is a tool to confirm that the information given on an I-9 form, which is required for every new employee, is correct.

As a former small-business owner in the restaurant industry, I found it frustrating that employers were expected to hire legal workers but were given no tools to do so. Since employers cannot be expected to be document experts, when I became a member of Congress I created E-Verify as a way to provide employers a simple, free and easy way to check the information provided on the I-9. Fifteen years later, E-Verify has exceeded expectations through the use of biometric data for non-citizens, is 99.6 percent accurate and continues to improve, expand and evolve.

Ken Calvert, Washington

The writer, a California Republican, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Recently, a story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ‘Crackdown on Illegal Workers Grow’ told how ICE had announced that it was cracking down on larger companies that may employ undocumented workers. ICE conducted audits of more than 2,740 companies in the fiscal year 2010, nearly twice as many as the previous fiscal year, and levied a record $7 million in civil fines on businesses employing illegal workers, according to the WSJ.

Because of this, U.S. businesses are getting their employment records, particularly the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (“I-9 form”), in order. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and maintain a legal workforce.

For more information on E-Verify Service from Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012706723.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012106497.html

http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1101/110120washingtondc.htm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703951704576092381196958362.html?mod=ITP_pageone_1

ESR Background Screening Trend 9 for 2011: E-Verify and I-9 Audits Help Government Find Employers with Illegal Workers

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011

Trend No. 9: E-Verify and I-9 Audits Help Government Find Employers with Illegal Workers

An October 2010 press release from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration, which included issuing more financial sanctions on employers who hired unauthorized workers than during the entire previous Bush administration. Since January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the principal investigative arm of DHS – has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring workers not legally eligible to work in the U.S., debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions, according to the DHS.

A summary of fines and penalties from ICE reveals that this surge in enforcement of a legal U.S. workforce included a 500 percent increase in penalties from worksite enforcement actions (over $5 million), a nearly two-fold increase in I-9 audits (2,200), a record-breaking 180 criminal prosecutions of employers, and the debarring of more than 97 businesses, compared to 30 last fiscal year, with average fines exceeding $110,000.

Due in large part to increased scrutiny on employers from ICE through I-9 audits – where employee information on Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (“I-9 forms”) is checked for accuracy by Government agents –  penalties from worksite enforcement inspections have increased recently. The following statistics from ICE compares Fiscal Year 2010 (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010) with Fiscal Year 2009 (October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009):

  • ICE penalties from worksite enforcement inspections increased to $5,300,000 in FY 2010, up from $1,033,291 in FY 2009.
  • ICE criminally charged a record-breaking 180 owners, employers, managers and/or supervisors in FY 2010, up from 135 in FY 2008 and 114 in FY 2009.
  • ICE conducted more than 2,200 I-9 audits in FY 2010, up from more than 1,400 in FY 2009.
  • ICE debarred 97 business and 49 individuals in FY 2010, up from 30 and 53, respectively, in FY 2009.

These record breaking statistics show that ICE is focusing more on targeting the employers that hire illegal workers through the use of I-9 audits and investigations of their hiring practices. Now more than ever, U.S. employers must regularly review their I-9 compliance practices.

One of the trends that emerged in 2010 and should continue in 2011 is that employers will take steps to ensure they hire a legal workforce by using E-Verify, a free, web-based electronic employment eligibility verification system operated by the U.S. government that enables employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees by comparing data from the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 against records in DHS and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. E-Verify is currently being used by more than 230,000 employers at more than 800,000 worksites, according to recent figures from DHS.

Currently, federal contractors and subcontractors in all states must use E-Verify. Many U.S. states have additional state or local E-Verify mandates for either all employers, state agencies, city employees, or have E-Verify legislation pending. A listing of E-Verify requirements can be found on the recently updated (November 22, 2010) online E-Verify State Legislation Map from Tracker Corp available at http://www.esrcheck.com/State-E-Verify-map.php.

Employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance with the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification process. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. To learn more about E-Verify, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is releasing the ESR Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011 throughout December. This is the Ninth of the Top Ten Trends ESR will be tracking in 2011. To see an updated list of ESR’s ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Trends-In-Background-Screening-2011.php.  

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was also the third background screening company to be ‘Safe Harbor’ certified. For more information, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations and Business Development, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

DHS and ICE Announce Record Figures for Fiscal Year 2010 Including 500 Percent Increase in Worksite Enforcement Penalties and Near Doubling of I-9 Audits

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Recently, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton announced that ICE worksite enforcement statistics climbed to historically high record numbers in Fiscal Year 2010 – from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010 – with more audits of businesses than ever before and increases in prosecutions of employers who hired illegal workers.

According to a news release from the DHS, ICE – the largest investigative arm of the DHS – also removed more illegal aliens than in any other period in U.S. history, removing more than 392,000 illegal aliens, and nearly half of them – more than 195,000 – were convicted of crimes, including murder, sex offenses, and drug violations.

A summary of fines and penalties from ICE reveals that this surge in enforcement of a legal U.S. workforce included a 500 percent increase in penalties from worksite enforcement actions (over $5 million), a nearly two-fold increase in I-9 audits (2,200), a record-breaking 180 criminal prosecutions of employers and the debarring of more than 97 businesses, compared to 30 last fiscal year, with average fines exceeding $110,000.

Due in large part to increased employer scrutiny and several waves of I-9 audits from the U.S. Government, penalties from worksite enforcement inspections have increased in recent months. Here are the latest statistics from ICE comparing Fiscal Year 2010 with Fiscal Year 2009:

  • ICE penalties from worksite enforcement inspections increased to $5,300,000 in FY 2010, up from $1,033,291 in FY 2009.
  • ICE criminally charged a record-breaking 180 owners, employers, managers and/or supervisors in FY 2010, up from 135 in FY 2008 and 114 in FY 2009.
  • ICE conducted more than 2,200 I-9 audits in FY 2010, up from more than 1,400 in FY 2009.
  • ICE debarred 97 business and 49 individuals in FY 2010, up from 30 and 53, respectively, in FY 2009.

Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions-more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration, according to the news release.

These statistics show that in the past year, ICE has been focusing less on rounding up illegal workers and more on targeting the employers that hire illegal workers through the use of Form I-9 audits and investigations of their hiring practices. In April 2009, the DHS even released a ‘Worksite Enforcement Strategy Fact Sheet’ detailing the most common reasons why a company might receive an audit, as well as who can be targeted.

Now more than ever, U.S. employers must regularly review their Employment Eligibility Verification Form – “Form I-9” – compliance practices. To help maintain Form I-9 compliance and avoid I-9 audits, employers may choose to use the Government’s E-Verify system, an online Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system that is used along with the Form I-9 to allow employers to check if an employee is legally eligible to work in the United States.

Employers may also choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance in the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification process. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce.

For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Sources:

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1286389936778.shtm
http://www.ice.gov/doclib/pi/news/factsheets/worksite_strategy.pdf

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Forwarding E-Verify Legislation to Stop Employment of Unauthorized Workers

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

In an effort to stop the employment of unauthorized workers, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have introduced legislation for E-Verify, the web-based Employment Eligibility Verification System run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

E-Verify lets employers electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by comparing information provided by employees on the Employment Eligibility Verification form – or Form I-9 – against records in the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed two pieces of legislation – HB 1502 and HB 1503 – that requires certain employers in the state to use E-Verify.

  • HB 1502 would require all state contractors and subcontractors to verify the status of new employees with E-Verify.
  • HB 1503 – the “Construction Industry Employment Verification Act” – would require all construction industry employers (regardless of whether there is any state contract or public funds) to confirm employment eligibility of new employees through E-Verify.
  • In addition, employers relying in good faith on E-Verify would be immune from sanctions under the both proposed Pennsylvania bills.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is forwarding E-Verify legislation by introducing bills – S1842 and A2600 – that prohibit employment of unauthorized workers and require employers with 100 or more employees to verify the employment eligibility of all new employees with E-Verify by December 31, 2010. Smaller employers have until December 31, 2011.

  • S1842 and A2600 call for statewide random auditing as well as complaint-driven investigations.
  • S1842 and A2600 require that employers terminate unauthorized workers and the attorney general or county prosecutor shall notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as local law enforcement of any unauthorized aliens.
  • Sanctions include penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation and loss of business licenses – possibly permanent revocation – depending upon the offense.

Along with the legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many other states require or will require employers to participate in E-Verify in some manner. Some states – such as Arizona, Mississippi, and Utah – require all employers in the state to participate in E-Verify, while other states require only public or state employers or those contracting with the state to use E-Verify.

For more information about the legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey – and the increased worksite enforcement through Form I-9 audits – read the article “Pa., N.J. Move Forward With E-Verify; Will Feds Follow?” on The Legal Intelligencer.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Sources:
Article: http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1202464369090&Pa_NJ_Move_Forward_With_EVerify_Will_Feds_Follow
PA Bill House Bill 1502: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2009&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1502
PA House Bill 1503: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2009&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1503
NJ SENATE, No. 1842: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S2000/1842_I1.PDF
NJ ASSEMBLY, No. 2600: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A3000/2600_I1.PDF

ICE Levies Record $3 Million in Civil Fines on Employers Hiring Unauthorized Workers So Far in 2010

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR news Staff Writer

According to a report in the New York Times, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has levied a record $3 million in civil fines so far in 2010 on employers that hired unauthorized workers not legally eligible to work in the country.

Unlike the immigration raids and work-site roundups popular during the previous administration, the Times reports the Obama administration favors a quieter enforcement strategy that involves federal agents auditing a company’s employee records for illegal immigrant workers, which usually result in the illegal workers being fired by employers.

Over the past year, ICE has conducted audits of employee files — called “silent raids” by some employers — at more than 2,900 companies, the Times reports, and thousands of those workers have been fired, immigrant groups estimate. Although ICE leaves it up to employers to fire workers whose documents cannot be validated, the audits still force businesses not wanting to risk prosecution to fire every suspected illegal worker on payrolls, and not just those working at the time of a raid, according to the Times report.

Due to the shift in the strategy used to uncover illegal workers in U.S., an immigration law consultant quoted in the Times story explained that instead of hundreds of agents going after one company, now one agent can go after hundreds of companies. In the story, ICE states that the goal of the audits is to create a culture of compliance among employers, so businesses need to avoid committing labor abuses and immigration violations — whether knowingly or unknowingly — or risk fines, penalties, and even jail.

Since ICE auditors may examine a company’s Employment Eligibility Verification forms — also known as I-9 forms, which all new hires in the country must fill out — employers need to make sure all employees on payroll are legally eligible to work in the country. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) — a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent — can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Source:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/us/10enforce.html?_r=2&emc=eta1