Largest Worksite Raid in 10 Years Signals More Aggressive Immigration Enforcement

 

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer April 9, 2018
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​Federal officials made 97 arrests at a Tennessee meat-processing plant April 5 in the largest single immigration-enforcement workplace raid in a decade, providing more evidence of the Trump administration's plans to crack down on employers who hire immigrants who don't have work authorization.

The raid on the cattle-slaughter facility outside Knoxville resulted in 10 people arrested on federal immigration charges for defying deportation orders, one person arrested on state charges and 86 others being detained for being in the country illegally. Thirty-two were later released.

The owners of the plant have not yet been charged, but agents seized records as part of a federal probe investigating whether they hired undocumented workers to evade filing payroll taxes. Court records show that the employer failed to report $8.4 million in wages and to pay at least $2.5 million in payroll taxes for dozens of undocumented workers.

(The Washington Post)

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

Workplace Raids Are Back

The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told SHRM Online in 2017 that the agency will increase by "four or five times" in 2018 the number of Form I-9 audits and worksite raids it conducts. The agency also encouraged employers to take part in the government's voluntary compliance program in which organizations can be certified for complying with the law. The Tennessee raid follows arrests at nearly 100 7-Eleven stores nationwide in January.

(SHRM Online)

Mandatory E-Verify

The Trump administration has also urged employers nationwide to use the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system to better deter unauthorized workers from finding jobs in the United States. The president's fiscal year 2019 budget would require all employers to use the system. Tennessee is one of the few states that currently requires nearly all employers to screen new hires through E-Verify.

(SHRM Online)

How to Prepare for Workplace Raids

Employers can avoid big fines by developing a comprehensive I-9 compliance program, which should include training, self-audits and an investigation-day action plan.

(SHRM Online)

All Employers Are Responsible for I-9 Compliance

This e-learning course is a comprehensive overview of employment eligibility laws and regulations, Form I-9 requirements and the E-Verify system, including how to handle typical case results. It includes real-life scenarios and activities, which will prepare users to effectively manage the employment verification process.

(SHRM Online)

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