There has been talk of immigration enforcement in the workplace since the 2016 election. Now, it has been announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will officially begin this enforcement.
Acting director of ICE, Thomas Holman announced on October 17 that ICE will quadruple its work site enforcement efforts throughout the country. This will mean a large increase in the number of Form I-9 compliance inspections. ICE officials will be looking to see if employers have properly verified the employment eligibility of its employees.
ICE officials will be issuing fines for mistakes and for knowingly employing undocumented workers. Their efforts could also lead to criminal prosecution of businesses, managers, owners and employers who hire and employ undocumented immigrants.
In addition to ICE workplace visits, USCIS will be increasing its work site visits to ensure compliance with the conditions for H-1B, O-1, and R-1. The most commonly targeted industries for ICE visits will be food service, hospitality, manufacturing, construction and the agricultural industries.
To be prepared for ICE visits, employers should implement an immigration compliance policy, step-by-step procedures for completing the I-9 and responding to “no-match” notices, as well as conduct regular internal audits. Employers should create an ICE audit or raid response plan and outline protocols for managing visits while implementing regular effective training.
Early this year, President Trump had pledged to hire 10,000 more ICE agents and 5,000 additional Customers and Border Protection agents. Gil Kerlikowske who led Customs and Border Protection under President Obama said, “It’s going to be a difficult task, and it’s going to take a number of years — particularly if you’re going to do it right.”
It will also be very costly to the American people. An entry level ICE agent makes $63,000 per year while an entry-level border patrol agent makes about $52,000 per year. For fiscal year 2017, ICE requested $6.6 million to hire just 100 new officers. Hiring is also a tedious process. It takes approximately 200 days to hire ICE and CBP personnel and the process involved extensive testing.
If the current administration wants a viable solution to undocumented immigration, they’ll have to devise policy which is economically feasible as well as humane. Raiding workplaces is a costly and inefficient method of addressing this problem.