Immigration Audits on Employers’ Surge

The number of audits carried out by immigration officials on businesses to prove that their employees have the legal right to work in the US has increased. This increase signals the desire of the Trump administration to move their illegal immigration crackdown into the workplace to ensure that firms reliant on immigrant labor are complying with immigration laws.

The government has drafted extensive plans to scrutinize the hiring practices of employers even more closely on a long-term basis. A federal law enacted more than 30 years ago, back in 1986, means that businesses have to verify that their workers can legally work in the country and verify their identity, as well as their work authorization to the government. Any employers who turn out to have hired someone who lacks the proper documentation could face administrative fines or even criminal prosecution.

The focus on employers has deepened of late, following a surge in the arrest and deportation of immigrant workers that began after Donald Trump assumed the Presidency, in January last year. Although the crackdown may please immigration hawks, the move could alienate companies and industries that are reliant on immigrant labor.

Between 1 October 2017 and 4 May 2018, 2,282 employer audits were opened, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday. This is an almost 60% increase from the period between October 2016 and September 2017, when 1,360 audits were opened.