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Some Business Owners Say ICE Audits on Illegal Hiring Are ‘Money Grab’ With Paperwork Fines

Associated Press (02/20/12)

An analysis of about 800 audits completed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October 2010 by the Houston Chronicle found that the agency imposed $1.8 million in fines. Around 50% of the 117 companies were penalized for errors in employment verification paperwork, not for hiring illegal immigrants. These paperwork errors account for about 33% of fines.

Small businesses complain that the audits are a “money grab,” but ICE says the bookkeeping fines are part of a strategy to ensure compliance with the law and deter companies from hiring illegal workers. According to ICE, many businesses do not complete I-9 Forms or retain copies of Social Security cards and other documents, making it hard to prove whether illegal immigrants were hired.