With an ambitious New Year’s resolution, U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement is turning up the heat on employers who hire illegal aliens, and deporting those workers.
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan vows to boost workplace enforcement efforts by “four to five times” with increased work site inspections. He said ICE will aggressively prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegals — and arrest the workers.
This is a welcome change from prior administrations that, for the most part, turned a blind eye to cheap labor exploitation in America.
According to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report, ICE arrested a mere 541 individuals on immigration charges and only 362 individuals on criminal charges in work site actions in 2014. That continued a downward trend in actions from a peak in 2011.
During the Obama administration, the number of employer audits peaked in 2013 with 3,127. By 2016, these fell to just 1,279 audits.
With some 12 million illegal aliens in the country, the Trump administration is taking a more robust and proactive approach.
A sign of things to come occurred in Tennessee last month when 20 illegal immigrant workers were arrested at a logistics company. Federal authorities made the case a priority because the workers had access to a sensitive air cargo area at Memphis International Airport.
Online, ICE still posts the Obama administration’s policy on work site enforcement, which targets employers that use undocumented labor as a business model, engage in human smuggling, mistreat employees, commit identity fraud, launder money or are otherwise involved in criminal activity.
But Homan assures that along with fining and prosecuting scofflaw employers, illegal workers will also be removed. “We’re always going to arrest a person who is here illegally. That is our job,” he said.
Now it’s time – past time, really — for Congress to pass mandatory E-Verify legislation and approve necessary personnel funding. As FAIR’s Ira Mehlman wrote in The Hill last week, ICE “will still need some help from Congress to maximize the effectiveness of workplace enforcement efforts.”