The graphic above shows the staggering increase in arrests made in conjunction with the hiring of illegal workers by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Department (ICE – a part of the Homeland Security Department).
In fiscal year 2007, ICE secured more than $30 million in criminal fines, restitutions, and civil judgments in worksite enforcement cases. They arrested 863 people in criminal cases and made more than 4,000 administrative arrests. That is a tenfold increase over just five years before.
The number of criminal and administrative arrests has steadily increased over the past few years. Those arrested criminally include a variety of persons–corporate officers, employers, managers, contractors and facilitators. In criminal cases, ICE often pursues charges of harboring illegal aliens, money laundering and/or knowingly hiring illegal aliens. Harboring illegal aliens is a felony with a potential 10-year prison sentence. Money laundering is a felony with a potential 20-year prison sentence.
ICE has found these criminal sanctions to be a far greater deterrent to illegal employment schemes than administrative fines.
These arrests also include illegal aliens charged with criminal violations. Aliens have been charged with possession or sale of fraudulent documents, identity theft, Social Security fraud or re-entry after deportation.
And it gets more important in the fiscal year 2008 (which ends this October):
As of August, ICE made more than 1,000 criminal arrests tied to worksite enforcement investigations.
Of the 1,022 individuals criminally arrested, 116 are owners, managers, supervisors or human resources employees facing charges including harboring or knowingly hiring illegal aliens. The remaining workers criminally arrested are facing charges including aggravated identity theft and Social Security fraud.
ICE has also made more than 3,900 administrative arrests for immigration violations during worksite enforcement operations.
If that wasn’t sobering enough, the ICE website posts their most recent arrests and punishments -all types of businesses are being investigated – from donut shops, agriculture, manufacturing, retaurants and more.
They’re not kidding any more. Make sure all your employees are legally authorized to work in the United States; review your I-9’s for each employee – and when in doubt, follow the law.
When HR supervisors are getting arrested, you know it’s serious.