Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano testified recently before the House Judiciary Committee regarding DHS’ efforts with respect to the enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws. Secretary Napolitano testified about criminal aliens, prosecutorial discretion, detention reform, enforcement along the borders, comprehensive immigration reform and of course, worksite enforcement, which in her written testimony has the header — “Deterring Employment of Aliens Not Authorized to Work”.
Highlights of Secretary Napolitano’s testimony regarding worksite enforcement:
- DHS has eliminated high-profile raids of employers regarding their compliance with forms I-9.
- DHS is instead promoting compliance with worksite-related laws through criminal prosecutions of egregious employer violators, form I-9 inspections, civil fines, and debarment, as well as education and compliance tools.
- Since January 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has audited more than 8,079 employers suspected of knowingly hiring workers unauthorized to work in the United States, debarred 726 companies and individuals, and imposed more than $87.9 million in financial sanctions.
- Employer enrollment in E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility verification program managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has more than doubled since January 2009, with more than 385,000 participating companies representing more than 1.1 million hiring sites.
- More than 17 million queries were processed in E-Verify in Fiscal Year 2011, allowing businesses to verify the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.