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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    HSI Conducting I-9 Audits at Increased Rate

    HSI Conducting I-9 Audits at Increased Rate

    Posted: May 08, 2018 7:52 PM PDTUpdated: May 08, 2018 7:52 PM PDTReported by Carolina Cruz, Reporter CONNECT


    MISSION – Homeland Security Investigations is conducting audits and inspections of I-9 forms on big businesses and local shops at a higher rate this year.

    An I-9 form is the verification of employment for anyone working in the U.S.

    Everyone who has a job should have filled out this form and provided it to their employer.

    The employer then verifies the legitimacy of the information provided on the form.

    Agents with HSI tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS that's not always the case.

    They are finding local businesses are out of compliance as more businesses in the Rio Grande Valley respond to HSI I-9 audit requests.

    The increase in audits by the federal agency is part of a push from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting director.

    In December of last year, Tom Homan said, "I want to see, at least, a 400 percent increase in worksite operations. We're not just talking about arresting the aliens at these work sites and putting them in front of a judge and having their cases heard in court. We're talking about employers who knowingly hire these people who are not authorized to work."

    Victor Hugas with HSI says the agency wants employers to comply with the law. He added some businesses knowingly avoid the I-9 verification process.

    "We've also seen businesses who are blatant violators that staff is all illegal or they're U.S. citizens that aren't being reported for other fraudulent reasons," he says.

    Those reasons range, but often they’re so the employee receives government or unemployment benefits.

    Not all employers fall into the violator category.

    Marco Cavazos heads human resources at a local franchisee. He routinely verifies I-9's before he hires someone.

    "We look at the documents and we make sure there's no misspelling, make sure that it matches up. That's basically how we can tell if it's fake or not. Also, we don't use anything that that's expired," says Cavazos.

    Hugas is pushing for businesses to complete the quick process of online I-9 verification or face thousands of dollars in fines.

    This is the case for some local shops right now. Recent inspections revealed restaurants in our area conducting business under the table.

    "They were smuggled into the U.S. They were working there. They were being exploited. They were living inside the restaurants, sleeping on the counter," Hugas explained.

    This practice creates an unfair advantage for competitors who are paying their employees' proper wage and benefits.

    At Cavazos' workplace, all their applicants have been approved through the verification system.

    The business hasn't been served an audit, but it is ready if the day comes.


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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Go after DMV, voter registration, Medicaid, welfare, food stamp, IRS, all school offices!

    Stop awarding illegal aliens our taxpayer funded benefits!



  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Good!!!! Go get 'em!!
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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  4. #4
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Workplace Inspections Increase in Pursuit of Illegal Hirings

    There were 3,510 site investigations between Oct. 1 and May 4, more than all of fiscal year 2017

    By Laura Meckler
    May 14, 2018 6:24 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON—U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ramped up workplace inspections, increasing audits and arrests as part of an effort to find illegal workers and deter businesses from hiring them, data released Monday showed.

    For most of President Donald Trump’s administration, immigration enforcement has focused on preventing people from crossing into the U.S. and then arresting and deporting those who do. The administration said Monday it is more aggressively going after employers.

    During the first seven months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the agency opened far more workplace investigations, initiated more audits and made more arrests, compared with the entire previous fiscal year, according to ICE data.

    The agency said its Homeland Security Investigations division, known as HSI, opened 3,510 workplace investigations between Oct. 1 and May 4, up from 1,716 during all of fiscal year 2017.

    Officials expect that number to reach about 5,500 by the end of the current fiscal year, more than triple the previous year, said Derek Benner, the acting executive associate director for HSI.

    ICE also said it initiated 2,282 employer audits between Oct. 1 and May 4, up from 1,360 in all of fiscal 2017. Audits involve asking employers to produce the I-9 forms that employees fill out, testifying that they are legal to work in the U.S.

    The Democratic administration of former President Barack Obama also expanded the use of audits to look for employer violations, with the number of audits peaking in 2013, at 3,127. Mr. Benner said that ICE would ultimately like to open as many as 15,000 audits a year, depending on funding and other factors.

    “Let’s create a culture of compliance through the administrative audit process,” he said. “In order to do that you have to have a higher number of audits conducted in a centralized way.”

    Mr. Benner said he hopes to create a centralized office to oversee employer audits, rather than the existing scattershot approach via regional offices.

    The agency also said it has made 1,204 arrests during the first part of fiscal 2018, up from 311 during all of fiscal 2017.

    That includes administrative arrests, which are of people unlawfully present in the U.S., and involve referring the person to immigration court for possible deportation. It also includes criminal arrests, which could involve matters such as identity theft or violations of labor law. The agency didn’t say how many of the criminal arrests were of business owners or managers, and how many were workers.

    ICE typically faces less criticism when it targets employers, though some have said the raids are another way of going after illegal workers. The state of California has barred employers from allowing federal immigration agents into private workspaces without a judicial warrant and requires employers to notify employees before they turn over records to federal agents.

    Since 1986, employers have been required to verify the identity and work eligibility of all people they hire. Businesses found to be violating the country’s immigration laws by hiring undocumented workers could face criminal and civil penalties, including fines.

    Mr. Trump’s administration advanced its tougher line against employers in January, with raids at nearly 100 7-Eleven convenience stores in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Agents interviewed employees and managers and announced that employment records were being audited.

    In that case, agents arrested at least 21 employees suspected of being in the country illegally. An ICE spokeswoman said the investigation against the company is still ongoing and no charges have been filed.
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