This past fiscal year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached its highest amount of companies that were audited for having illegal immigrants on payroll, according to The Associated Press. Though the issue was placed on the back burner during his first term, President Obama’s stance on immigration reform has not changed; however, he recently said any measure should include penalties for companies who hire illegal immigrants on purpose.
In the 2007 fiscal year, 250 employers were audited, but that number increased to more than 3,000 in 2012. Between 2009 and 2012, the total amount of fines given to companies increased to nearly $13 million from $1 million. Obama has made it a priority of his immigration reform policy that companies should be investigated for illegal employees. According to data from ICE, the number of company managers who were arrested for hiring illegal immigrant increased to 238.
However, employers currently only have to have employees fill out an I-9, which declares an individual capable of working in the country, but the employers are not required to verify the documents.
Daniel Costa, an immigration policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington D.C., think tank believes the audits “don’t make any sense before a legalization program. You’re leaving the whole thing up to an employer’s eyesight and subjective judgment, that’s the failure of the law. There’s no verification at all. Then you have the government making a subjective judgment about subjective judgment.”
A recent editorial published in The Detroit News discussed the issues with recent immigration laws that do not allow college-educated immigrants to stay in America. Not only are there jobs available that Americans do not want, there are many that Americans are not qualified for. Changing laws that would grant immigrants U.S. citizenship would decrease the amount of open jobs.