more employer audits this year
October 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Employers increasingly are bearing the brunt of enforcement against illegal immigrant labor in the workplace because the federal government has shifted from select, high-profile raids to more widespread audits aimed at ousting unauthorized workers. Enforcement in San Diego County mirrors a national trend toward more scrutiny of employers’ I-9 forms, the universal tool for verifying permission to work in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, initiated 66 audits with local employers in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, reviewing 5,588 individual I-9s in the process. That was up from 44 audits in fiscal 2009 and just one audit in 2008. A company can be fined up to $1,100 for each illegal employee, and knowingly violating verification laws can lead to criminal charges and forfeited assets. Nationwide, the agency said it opened more than 2,200 cases in fiscal 2010, up from about half that number in fiscal 2008.