When President Donald Trump issued his first immigration executive orders in January, enforcement was a primary focus. With the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order, it was clear that the Administration plans to increase worksite enforcement. This was confirmed by Acting Director of ICE Thomas Homan in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. Homan reported:
- ICE has already increased the number of inspections and worksite operations
- A further significant increase in these activities is plan for the next fiscal year
- The time spent on enforcement will rise by four or five times
- ICE will not only prosecute employers who hire illegal workers, but also detain and remove illegal workers
A video of the Director’s speech can be found at: http://www.heritage.org/immigration/event/enforcing-us-immigration-laws-top-priority-the-trump-administration.
This is yet another example of the Administration’s ongoing enforcement culture aimed at protecting the jobs of U.S. workers through worksite investigations and strict scrutiny of visa petitions and applications. Fines for I-9 paperwork violations were almost doubled last year – so that paperwork violations are now $216 – $2,156 per form. Employers should be prepared for greater scrutiny of their compliance programs and higher fines if their worksites are investigated.
Please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney for information about I-9 and E-Verify audit and compliance services and how to strategize and prepare for the next ICE enforcement action.