1. ICE launches immigration crackdown on 652 businesses
The Department of Homeland Security announced on July 1 that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has begun informing businesses of its intention to audit I-9 forms- employment eligibility documents that employers complete for all workers.
Employers must keep each I-9 form and review the authenticity of documents that have been supplied by the employee. Businesses have protested that pinpointing illegal workers is fraught with problems, such as distinguishing fake identity documents that have been made to appear legitimate and risking the violations of anti-discrimination laws.
Immigration officers have served "Notices of Inspection" to 652 businesses, a turn-around from the 503 issued in the last fiscal year.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has assured that the investigations will concentrate on businesses which knowingly employ immigrants incapable of working legally in the United States.
While the Bush administration had faced criticism for sending armed agents to arrest employees suspected of working illegally, the Obama administration has been attempting to build credibility in order to pass a bill for immigration reform.
This may be the beginning of the Obama administration's plan to crack down on unscrupulous employees, though it is difficult to assess as the names of the audited businesses have not been released.