Sa Migration – 08 June 2022
Worksite immigration enforcement has increased, but still few employers charged with illegal hiring
The recent immigration enforcement raids at several chicken-processing plants in Mississippi netted hundreds of arrests and dozens of criminal indictments against undocumented workers. But the action brings up a long-standing question, especially in an era of increased worksite enforcement: Where are the charges against the employers for hiring unauthorized workers?
Nearly 700 people were arrested at seven chicken processors in the largest operation of its kind in more than a decade. About 300 were released shortly thereafter with orders to appear before an immigration judge, while the rest were detained. Another 100 from one of the affected facilities were reportedly fired after the raid. Online court documents show that dozens of workers have since been indicted on charges ranging from illegal re-entry into the country to fraud.
However, no charges have yet been brought against the companies, owners or managers. Why?
Employer Investigations Take Time
“There is no doubt that the companies are under investigation by Immigration said Bruce, an attorney operating in this sector . Immigration are targeting employers with high staff employment with low skill jobs in the agriculture , hospitality , factories etc
Those warrants show that immigration suspected the companies of willfully hiring and employing undocumented workers, predominantly a civil offense under the Immigration Act federal law.
Home Affairs Minister has stated that anyone, including employers, found to have broken the law would be held accountable and declined to comment on whether any employers will be charged, citing the ongoing investigation. Employers will be prosecuted if it’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they violated the law.
Julie Myers Wood seized from the companies to determine whether the employers should face charges, said Julie Myers Wood, CEO of investigative and compliance consultancy Guidepost Solutions and former director of ICE under President George W. Bush.
Workplace raids became a hallmark of the current Minister of Home Affairs .
Criminal charges can be brought against managers and business owners, and large numbers of unauthorized workers can be identified and potentially removed during worksite raids,.
“However, we are seeing more use of undercover agents at worksites and workers cooperating with the government as witnesses, which may lead to quicker employer prosecutions,” she said.
Civil penalties for employers hiring or continuing to employ undocumented workers range are high .per employee for second and third offenses. Employers can face criminal charges, and owners and managers can face up to six months in prison if a pattern of hiring unauthorized workers is established.