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Employer Hiring Illegal Immigrant May Face Jail and Penalty

The responsibility to verify the legal status of workers employed in worksites is vested with the federal agency Immigration Customs and Enforcement called ICE.  It has a comprehensive worksite enforcement strategy. The focal areas are critical infrastructure worksites like airports, nuclear plants, seaports, chemical plants, and defence facilities. They also verify those employers who exploit undocumented workers.

The ICE can take action against even ordinary businesses such as hotels, restaurants, construction firms, food plants, SMEs etc in case they are hiring undocumented workers.

Prior to 1986, employers were risk-free with regard to hiring undocumented immigrants. At the most, they will lose a worker through deportation. From 1986, the worksite became an enforcement site for immigration law to check the work authorization of every worker. The employers were slapped penalties and criminal prosecution for hiring workers without appropriate documents.

So an employer will be in legal peril if known he employs undocumented immigrant workers in case business is not part of the critical infrastructure.

Employers have to confirm the work authorization of every new hire using Form I-9 for the purpose. Civil and criminal penalties for hiring undocumented immigrant workers range from a minimum of $375 per unauthorized worker for a first offence with a maximum of $1,600 per worker for a third or subsequent offence. But engaging hiring undocumented workers become a pattern and practice the fine can be $3,000 per employee or imprisonment for six months.

In President Obama’s view the businesses should only employ people legally authorized to work in the United States. Otherwise businesses are exploiting the system to gain an advantage over businesses that play by fair rules.

The new immigration reform Bill is part of the President’s proposal to stop unfair hiring practices and hold errant companies accountable. It is also an incentive to ethical employers who play by the rules to verify that their employees are perfectly legal and qualified.



There are dedicated agencies in the US state department who handle various aspects of immigration and related issues.  The United States Immigration and Naturalization services (INS) is such an old agency established way back in 1891 for handling legal as well as illegal immigration practices.

But the legacy INS ceased to exist on March 1, 2003, after a restructuring which saw most of its functions transferred from the Department of Justice to three new entities:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

All these agencies were put under the newly created Department of Homeland Security. The restructuring happened to annul all security lapses through faulty immigration after the terror attacks on September 11 of 2001.

In the restructuring, the INS investigative and enforcement functions were combined with related activities of U.S. Customs investigators, the Federal Protective Service, and Federal Air Marshal Service to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The border functions were combined with U.S. Customs Inspectors to create the U. S. Customs and Border Protection.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services took over the agency and launched the Federal Air Marshal Service as well as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The tasks of immigration services, permanent residence, naturalization and asylum became the responsibility USCIS.

In its heydays the INS was responsible for preventing unlawful immigrants from gaining benefits such as social security or unemployment benefits. The immigration and Naturalization Services keeps a tab on suspicious activities with immigrants. When alerted they will trace illegal immigrants and detain them before deporting back to the home country.

Since the immigration process is an overwhelming process it is advisable for an applicant to seek the guidance and consultancy of immigration firms for help in matters of immigration and naturalization processes.

Aspects Related With Immigration and Naturalization Service

One of purposes of the immigration and naturalization service is for prevention of illegal entrants into the United States of America. This service works in association with law of Naturalization. This term is used to give proper authentication to foreign born citizens of one country, and preparing them to be a citizen of another country. There is a set of procedures for the naturalization of a foreign born person in place. In a nutshell, this service prevents the illegal dwellers from illegally receiving benefits such as social security, healthcare services, education and employment.

Structure of this form of service

The INS is headed by a commissioner appointed by the president. The president must report the appointment to the attorney general in the department of justice. The INS works together with the United Nations health and Human Services and the State Department. It had four main divisions. These are Management, Policy and Planning, Field Operations, and Programs.

The programs and the field operations divisions include the operational functions of the INS. The enforcement of national policy including examinations, deportation and detaining of illegal migrants are performed by the program division. Those who are illegally living in the United States get investigated, and if determined to be illegally in country they are detained and deported by means of the Immigration and Naturalization Services. The control of legal and illegal entry is also performed by the program division.

Prerequisites of opting for this facility

There are certain procedures, immigrants face while going through this type of service. There is no alternative to following the law and rules that are in place. In this process, overseeing the many INS offices working throughout the country and the world is done by the Field Operations division. The field operations division oversees 33 districts and 21 border areas. It had three regional offices. Outside the country, there are 16 offices which are overseen by the international headquarters. The field operations division is responsible for the administration of the international headquarters. Thus international tasks are performed under the auspices of the field operations division.

The policy and planning and the managerial functions are included in the Management division. The office of policy and planning communicates with the public and other cooperating government agencies. The office of policy and planning also coordinates information for the INS.

The office was again divided into three sub divisions – the Evaluation and Research Center, Planning division and the Policy division. The Management division maintains the overall mission of the Immigration and Naturalization Service throughout its many offices and provides administrative services to these offices. These duties are managed by the offices of Equal Employment Opportunity, Human Resources and Administration, Finance and Information Resources Management.

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