Fourteen New England companies were fined a combined $285,000 this past year for not keeping track of workers who were in the US illegally, according to federal authorities.
The fines were issued following a series of audits by the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 forms, paperwork which is typically filled out by employees to demonstrate they have legal authority to work in the US. Eight of the companies that were fined are located in Massachusetts, The Boston Globe reports.
Commercial Cleaning Service in Allston, Massachusetts, was fined $100,000 and the masonry contractor D’Agostino Associates Inc, based in Newton, was fined $22,792. When questioned by the Globe, the owner of D’Agostino Associates, Romeo D’Agostino, told the newspaper he was fined for paperwork mistakes, and not for hiring undocumented workers.
In addition, the media outlet reports a Maine blueberry grower, Jasper Wyman & Son, received a hefty $118,000 fine for violations such as paperwork errors and hiring approximately 200 illegal immigrant workers over a two-year period.
Some communities believe that ICE’s increased practices of auditing businesses is negatively affecting immigrant families and local economies. In California, The Oakland Tribune reports that Bay Area Union leaders are demanding that the Obama administration cease the practice.