Under Trump administration’s ‘Buy American Hire American’ Executive Order, in 2017 we had seen a significant increase in arrests and deportation of workers illegally employed in the US and border enforcement. However, beginning FY 2018 (i.e., starting October 1, 2017), the focus is now on employers hiring illegal workers – there were 3510 site investigations from October 1, 2017 to May 4, 2018, which is more than all of FY 2017 combined. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up workplace inspections, audits and arrests to deter employers from hiring illegal workers.
ICE CONDUCTING MORE EMPLOYER RAIDS
ICE has conducted high-profile raids at 7-Eleven stores nationwide and also at a meatpacking plant in Bean Station, Tenn and has announced some large-scale audits in the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. As a work-site enforcement effort, ICE has started audits of employer’s I-9 employment verification forms.
ICE opened 2,282 employer audits between October 1, 2017 and May 4, 2018; which is nearly a 60 percent jump from the 1,360 audits that were opened between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 (FY 2017). ICE has also developed a plan to open as many as 15,000 audits a year, subject to funding and support for the plan from other areas of the Trump Administration. It has arrested 594 employers on criminal immigration charges from October 1, 2017 and May 4, 2018, and 610 civil immigration charges were also filed during the same period.
ICE has also come up with a proposal for creation of an Employer Compliance Inspection Center to perform employer audits at a single location instead of at regional offices around the country. Electronically documents would be scanned and all suspicious activities would be flagged and be forwarded to regional centers for further investigations.
GLF believes that Trump Administration’s actions will lead to labor shortages, at this time of improving economy and low unemployment, particularly in sectors of the economy that rely on immigrant labor (agriculture, hospitality, retail, construction etc.).
GLF fears that ICE will also target legitimate IT employers and H-1B workers, as an extension of DHS policies of crackdown on the H-1B program. We have seen some evidence of this in the form of increased site visits at IT companies, increase in issuance of NOIR (Notices of Intent to Revoke) and revocations of approved petitions.
GLF will continue to closely monitor this issue and bring periodic updates via our Newsletter.
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GLF will continue to follow further developments in this matter and we will provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available.
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