July 1st, 2009
06:49 PM ET
9 years ago

Administration targeting businesses who hire illegal immigrants

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a signal that the Obama administration is changing tactics in dealing with illegal immigration, hundreds of businesses were notified Wednesday that federal authorities will be taking a closer look at their employment records to determine if they are hiring illegal aliens.

Kelly Nantel, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said businesses in every state and industry are being audited, "from agriculture-related businesses, to service businesses, to high-tech industry and everything in between." The companies were selected based on leads from ICE offices around the country.

On Wednesday, 652 audit notices were issued. By comparison, only 503 such notices were issued in all of fiscal year 2008, according to an agency statement.

The audits are a way to remind businesses that "the integrity of their employment records is an important as the integrity of their tax files or their banking records," Nantel said. They are also a means of identifying employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Former President George W. Bush's administration favored another tactic - conducting workplace raids on companies suspected of employing illegals. But the raids were controversial, with critics charging they separated families and disrupted communities.

President Barack Obama has said his strategy will focus on employers, but Nantel said the raids have not been put on hold, although she was not able to provide information on the number of raids or number of illegal immigrants arrested.

Businesses who Wednesday received notice of an audit will have three days to produce I-9 forms for every employee. The form requires employers to review and record each individual's identity documents and determine whether the documents appear to be genuine. ICE agents and auditors will inspect the forms looking for missing and suspect documents, and cases of identity theft. Violations could lead to criminal or administrative penalties against employers or employees, or a full-blown ICE investigation.

"This is one of the more powerful tools we have to help push a culture of compliance," said Nantel.

Filed under: Immigration • Obama administration
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Harley

    Illegals are costing us allot of money and you should reword them !!! It will save us money if we don't pay for there heath care, and schooling let them go back !!! Now if there dieing save there life but send them BACK. Hell they should not be here let them make there country better. Don't let them take our JOBS !!!

    July 1, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. Amy

    It's about time.

    July 1, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. avahome

    It's about time..........

    July 1, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. ed

    that oughta give everyone a heart attack givem 3 days to verify status
    you need to do what eisenhower did in operation wetback and sweep the united states with border patrol and military personnel gathering up all illegals and shipping the mexicans to the middle of mexico and then letting them off and sending other illegals home on a one way ticket
    i think that this whole thing is just for show anyway
    obama wants to let everybody and there brother in regardless of them carrying disesase such as tb that spread rampant thru the denver school system because of all the illegal aliens carrying it to school
    no big deal tho i guess kids lives get ruined by getting tb and then being re exposed because the source is still in the classroom infecting people

    July 1, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. ed

    return to workplace raids sneak attacks work better anyway

    July 1, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. ib

    This is the only thing King Obama has done right so far. Now if only he will follow through and not wimp out.

    July 1, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. johnnie

    good the time has come

    July 1, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. Citizen

    Good. Very good. It is about time that the law is going after the criminals that hire the illegal immigrants. They need to also go after individuals that hire them for stuff like lawn care and home repair.

    July 1, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. Dave-in-Georgia

    Kudos to the Obama team. If WE are TRULY SINCERE and want to stop illegal immigration, this is the one tactic which should accomplish it or cut it down drastically.

    The Republicans have cried for our government to stop illegal immigration and they will get their wish with this new tactic. All Republicans should, now, be most happy. Oh-oh. What do I hear? Back-peddling by Republican owned businesses?

    Can't have it both ways. Prepare for higher costs in agriculture, construction, and other areas.

    July 1, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. DL

    When i see people with Bachelor's degrees lined up begging for a 5 dollar dish washing job, I'm glad they are doing this, time to prosecute these companies, especially now with so many American's out of work.

    July 1, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  11. independent

    It's about time.

    July 1, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. IL

    ILLEGAL Immigrants. ILLEGAL is the key point!

    July 1, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. j

    about time, now maybe us real Americans can find jobs and deport all the illegal immigrants living here.

    July 1, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. RealityKing

    Finally!..., some positive CHANGE from Obama!!

    July 1, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. lovable liberal

    Amazing, enforcing the law! Wonder why Duhbya never tried this...

    July 1, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. mk

    It's about time!!

    July 1, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  17. Justin -NC

    Yes Barack,

    Go after the REAL CULPRITS, THE CORPORATION THAT HIRE THEM. Not the illegal aliens because they wouldn't come if there were no jobs. The come because Business need slave laborers to do their bidding and shut up less they be deported. The whole illegal alien business is Republicans unwilling to pay a laborer a decent salary, or put up with unions, so they outsource if they can or hire illegals if they must. At least Obama is going about it the smart way unlike SHOCK AND AWE Bush who preferred raids. However, Obama is not all clean, and I'm a fervent supporter. He must stop the raids too and sign comprehensive immigration reform so that illegals must pay taxes like everyone else and stop eating up our free resources for the REAL POOR.

    Barack Obama/Joseph Biden 2012

    July 1, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. Gary

    Illegal immigrants come here to work and they work hard, sometimes harder than Americans. They come here to do jobs that Americans won't do, that spoiled Americans think that they are too good for. Americans would rather sit on their butts and take welfare or unemployment compensation rather than earn a living doing the jobs that the immigrants are doing. Sometimes, immigrants are willing to work for a salary that is comenserate with their level of education and experience whereas Americans think that they should get a high pay for doing a mediocore job that is easy....Frankly, lets keep the 10 million immigrants and get rid of 10 million lazy Americans.

    July 1, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    Without Raids, the businesses are going to ignore the audits. We need the raids which Bush toward the end of his term along with the punishing employers by hitting their pocketbooks. Requiring all companies to use E-Verify to check legal status to work on all future employees and current employees would stop illegal immigration.. All the proposals in immigration reform looks like what we had in 1986 which did not stop us from going throught the same thing again. I guess in a few years we will be doing more reform and amnesty unless the American people make the government enforce the laws.

    July 1, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  20. Really!?

    Who will they register to vote in 2012?

    July 1, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. sandy

    Well it's about time!! I have nothing against people working to make an honest living, but these people are breaking the law by being in this country illegally. If we went to their country and tried to do what they do here, we would be sent home immediately. Also, these companies use these people in the most terrible ways. They do not pay them fairly, they abuse them and I could go on an on. These companies need to be fined or shut down if it is found they knowingly hired illegals. Thank you Mr. President.

    July 1, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  22. this country is very dependant

    we need to get rid of some of the economic cruches we depend on

    illegal labor is among them, protected industries like farming, sugar, steel as well

    we are so far from a healthy society economically

    July 1, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. J.C.

    Finally, employers have to take responsibility for hiring illegal labor. They are the magnets, which attract these people to the US. Simply going after illegal employees doesn't work.

    July 1, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  24. Jon from: S.Carolina

    This will help keep American identies safe and forces illegals to come over legaly.

    July 1, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. RUTY

    It's about time.

    July 1, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
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