We mentioned a few weeks back that the Obama administration was sending signals that it would focus on employers, not employees, in its immigration enforcement under Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Today came further confirmation of that in the form of an article in The New York Times. The newspaper reported that new guidelines are being issued today to Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices, and they read, in part:
“Enforcement efforts focused on employers better target the root causes of illegal immigration. ICE must prioritize the criminal prosecution of actual employers who knowingly hire illegal workers because such employers are not sufficiently punished or deterred by the arrest of their illegal work force.”
The article goes on to point out, “The rules could draw a storm of complaints from employers, who argue that they are easily duped by workers with bogus documents and that the government has not established a reliable system for verifying immigration status.” Given these difficulties, this is an area where employers will want to educate themselves.