Employers Beware

March 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Worksite Enforcement to Increase, Reiterates Top ICE Official

ICE Also Announces Alternatives to Detention

At a recent public leadership forum held in Washington, DC, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, outlined his priorities and vision for the United States’ second largest enforcement agency.

Those priorities, he said, include:

(1) preventing terrorism and protecting our national security;

(2) securing the borders and protecting against transnational crime;

(3) ensuring that our immigration laws are enforced by removing criminal aliens, executing final orders of removal, and continuing worksite enforcement with a focus on employers.

Morton also discussed his plans for detention reform.

Worksite Enforcement. ICE already has stepped up its campaign of targeting employers who fail to comply with the hiring and paperwork requirements of federal law, abandoning the previous Administration’s enforcement efforts aimed at undocumented workers.

In November alone, ICE announced that 1,000 companies had been served with a Notice of Inspection and an Administrative Subpoena and that more would follow.

Mr. Morton stated that the agency will be increasing worksite visits and aggressively pursuing civil and criminal prosecutions against employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

Given ICE’s overall goal of creating a culture of employer compliance, Morton all but guaranteed an increase in the imposition of fines.

Detention Reform. Mr. Morton expressed commitment to an aggressive overhaul of the current detention system to reflect the diversity of those detained. He mapped out a plan to change the administration of detention facilities, improve conditions at facilities (including access to medical care), and modify the facilities themselves.

Make no mistake. ICE is committed to continue grand-scale detention. But, ICE also is exploring alternatives to detention where it has discretion. A pilot alternative detention program is expected to be launched later this month, which may include ankle bracelets and intensive supervision for individuals who might otherwise be detained.

Stay tuned.

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