Feds to Put Screws to Employers of Illegals

New ICE branch will pour over I-9s looking for illegals
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2011 2:11 PM CST
Celestino Galindo Dominguez, 34, of Veracruz, Mexico, works at a citrus farm owned by Sorrells Brothers Inc. in the Central Florida town of Arcadia, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration plans to intensify its crackdown on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, creating a new office within Immigration and Customs Enforcement dedicated to auditing company employment records. Dubbed the Employment Compliance Inspection Center, this new branch will “address a need to conduct audits even of the largest employers with a very large number of employees,” ICE’s chief tells the Wall Street Journal.

ICE has been aggressively going after employers lately; last year it audited more than 2,740 companies, almost twice what it had the previous year, doling out a record $7 million in fines. And that compares with $700,000 the year before. But critics say its methods have disproportionately targeted small companies, which say they lack the resources to police their workers. The new agency’s “express purpose” would be to change that, the ICE chief said. “We wouldn’t be limited by the size of a company.”

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