Immigration Audits Shift To Employers
Continuing with the Trump Administration’s heightened focus on curtailing illegal immigration, responsibility has shifted to employers to ensure employees are authorized to work in the U.S. Deportation arrests increased significantly after President Trump took office in January of 2017.
According to an Associated Press article, there were 2,282 employer audits opened between October 1, 2017 and May 4, 2018 as reported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. That’s nearly a 60% jump from the 1,360 audits opened between October 2017 and September 2017. There were 594 employers arrested on criminal immigration charges from October 1, 2017 to May 4, 2018, up from just 139 arrests during the previous fiscal year. Civil immigration charges numbered 610 during the same time period, compared to 172 in the preceding 12 months.
And the numbers could go higher. Derek Benner, head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, told the Associated Press that another nationwide wave of audits is planned for this summer that would push the audit total well over 5,000 by September 30. ICE has a plan to open as many as 15,000 audits a year, Benner says.
The proposal to reach that many audits is designed to create a “reasonable expectation” among employers that they will be audited, Benner says. “This is kind of our vision of creating this culture of compliance. I think it’s a game-changer.”
For decades, the dairy industry has relied heavily on the use of a significant immigrant labor force, and dairies have often been targets of ICE audits. With increased scrutiny on companies that employ immigrant labor, producers would be well-served to make sure documentation is in order and up to date.