While the Trump administration concentrates on efforts to crack down on illegal immigration at the southern border, there has been little effort to pursue employers who hire unauthorized workers. Between March 2018 to March 2019, just eleven employers faced prosecution for the illegal hiring of unauthorized workers, according to a study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University and reported in The New York Times.
In a statement, TRAC, researchers summarized their findings, "Not only are few employers prosecuted, fewer who are convicted receive sentences that amount to more than token punishment." Only three of the eleven employers who faced charges for illegal hiring served prison time.
Low numbers of prosecutions of criminal employers are nothing new. Through the past three administrations, prosecutions for illegal hiring have rarely averaged more than fifteen in a single year, according to The New York Times.
John Sandweg, who served as acting ICE director during the Obama administration commented on the Trump administration's tactics:
This administration's focus has been on conducting worksite operations with an eye toward arresting and deporting workers and not necessarily prosecuting the employers.
Sandweg explained how difficult it is to prove that employers knowingly hire illegal workers as most employers do not question documents submitted to them, and very few states mandate E-Verify or similar programs to vet workers. Due to the lack of E-Verify mandates in many states, most employers, particularly in the agriculture, hospitality, and construction industries, accept documents which appear genuine and employ unauthorized workers just as they employ others.
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To learn more about E-Verify, visit our informational page.
Updated: Mon, Jun 17th 2019 @ 12:00pm EDT