US Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to crack down on the structural roots of illegal immigration, with a spokeswoman saying Sunday that they are prepared to prosecute the employers who hire illegals.
“While we focus on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, under the current administration’s enforcement priorities, workers encountered during these investigations who are unauthorized to remain in the United States are also subject to administrative arrest and removal from the country,” ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett said.
ICE director Thomas Homan said this week that the agency plans to increase workplace immigration enforcement effort four to five times the current level.
According to Bennett, that includes pursing more investigations and “conducting more I-9 audits.”
An I-9 form is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization for someone to be hired to work in the U.S.
Data provided to the Washington Examiner shows that from Feb. 9, 2016, to June 24, 2017, ICE arrested 42 people in management and 55 people in non-management for criminal immigration violations, and all but 15 were indicted and convicted. The highest amount in the past few years was in fiscal 2011 under former President Barack Obama, when ICE arrested 221 people in management and 492 in non-management, for a total of 713 — there has been a relative steady decline in the years following.
The announcement is an important recognition that tackling the issue of illegal immigration doesn’t involve simply deporting illegals individually, it involves prosecuting those who make illegally immigrating to the US attractive to migrants seeking work.
“All businesses, regardless of size, industry or geographic location, are expected to comply with the law,” Bennett said.
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