US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has audited record numbers of firms for having illegal immigrants on their payrolls in the course of the last fiscal year.
The number of audited employer I-9 forms rose from 250 in the fiscal year of 2007 to over 3000 this year. From the fiscal years 2009 to 2012, fines increased from $1 million to nearly $13 million, while the number of company managers who have been placed under arrest has also risen to 238, data provided by ICE shows. The investigation of businesses has been one of the pillars of the immigration policy of US President Barack Obama.
When he recently spoke about addressing immigration reform during his second term in office, Obama noted that any measures needed to incorporate penalties for firms that deliberately employ illegal immigrants. While this by no means is a new stand, it is almost certainly one that will be highlighted when his administration attempts revamp the immigration system in the United States.
Although his administration has made use of the numbers to bolster its record on immigration enforcement, critics argue that the enforcements have simply served to push workers even further underground and have resulted in disrupted business practices and caused mass layoffs. Immigration policy analyst Daniel Costa points out that these audits “don’t make any sense before a legalization program.”