The issue of illegal immigration is exploding on employers’ doorsteps. We have all heard about Sheriff Arpaio’s immigration sweeps and the Arizona statutes dealing with hiring unauthorized aliens. Now both Maricopa County prosecutors and federal agencies are stepping up their own enforcement.
- On November 18, 2009, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed the first employer-sanction case under Arizona’s Legal Arizona Workers Act. Investigators reportedly employed undercover sting tactics against the accused Scottsdale business owner. An employer found guilty under this Act faces serious penalties, including suspended or revoked business licenses and/or monetary fines.
- On November 19, 2009, agents of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued Notices of Inspection to 1,000 companies nationwide, including 52 in Arizona, notifying employers that the federal government would immediately begin audits of employee records to confirm compliance with the federal employee-immigration laws. This announcement comes on the heels of a similar announcement on July 1, 2009, where ICE sent Notices of Inspection to 653 businesses nationwide, including more than 30 in Arizona. By comparison, only 503 Notices of Inspection were issued by ICE to businesses nationwide last year. ICE and the Obama administration have indicated that the federal government intends to continue pursuing these audits in an effort to aggressively crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants in the United States.
Titus Brueckner & Levine PLC continues to monitor both state and federal actions regarding employee-immigration laws. We stand ready to advise our employer clients of necessary precautions to avoid violating either state or federal hiring regulations. In light of this increased enforcement, compliance in hiring is more critical than ever. Just as important, employers must be prepared to respond properly when issues arise after the initial hiring decision.
The experienced employment law attorneys at Titus Brueckner & Levine PLC can assist employers with compliance procedures, responding to Notices of Inspection or defending against enforcement actions. Employers with questions regarding employee-immigration audits or who wish to ensure their businesses are in compliance with state and federal employee-immigration laws, should contact us at 480-483-9600 to be put in touch with one of our employment law attorneys.