Over the past few years, the Obama Administration has been heavily cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens, making it extremely risky for companies to employ undocumented workers.In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered numerous companies to provide them with their employment records for review and inspection. While these “silent raids” have not been publically announced, a spokesperson from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, an agency of the DHS) confirmed that as of the end of March 2012, more than 475 companies of all types have been asked to turn over their employment eligibility forms and other documents for audit purposes. Although the ICE does not publically identify businesses that are under investigation, they assert that no industry is immune from government scrutiny.
Ever since 2009, the Obama administration has issued hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and criminal fines to corporations that were caught hiring illegal aliens. For example, the ICE sentenced a Miami subcontractor to almost two years in federal prison for employing and concealing undocumented workers. Another business owner in Virginia received a 30-month sentence in federal prison for conspiring to harbor illegal aliens. Lastly, a furniture storeowner in California received hefty fines and criminal penalties for employing illegal workers and then rehiring them after the ICE completed its audit.
Despite the more recent crack-down on hiring undocumented workers, the Illegal Reform and Control Act (ICRA) has since 1986 made it illegal for an employer in the United States to knowingly employ and/or conceal illegal aliens or who fail to properly complete I-9 forms for employees. Under the ICRA, employers must act in good faith when hiring workers, but will not be subject to fines or criminal punishment if an employee provides convincing, but false documentation as to his or her citizenship status.