The Obama Administration has notified more than 650 employers across the nation that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin auditing employee files in an effort to find businesses employing illegal aliens. The move is part of the administration's immigration strategy to focus the attention of enforcement on employers who hire illegal aliens rather than the illegal aliens themselves.
"Part of the strategy is to let businesses know we mean business," ICE spokeswoman Pat Reilly said in a Los Angeles Times story.
ICE also notified 80 businesses believed to have hired illegal aliens because of discrepancies with Social Security numbers. An issue that could have been avoided if the businesses were using E-Verify, which checks the validity of Social Security numbers during the hiring process. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has called E-Verify an "essential tool" for businesses, although the program is still voluntary in most states. (see a map of states with mandatory E-Verify laws)
Open borders advocates expressed concern over the notices. Some believe the new strategy will lead to employers discriminating against anyone who could be an illegal alien. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is concerned that by targeting employers it could have a negative impact on the business community. The Chambers Chief Executive Gary Toebben said that ICE should concentrate efforts on companies that have a "clear history of worker exploitation" of wage-and-hour and health-and-safety laws.
"Mass enforcement actions against employers who are complying with their I-9 obligations can be devastating to these businesses and our overall economy," he said.
For more information on this story, see the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and the Arizona Republic.
Updated: Thu, Jun 15th 2017 @ 4:28pm EDT