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Corruption Chronicles

ICE Ignores Cos That Hire Illegal Workers

An Obama Administration program launched with great fanfare last summer to punish businesses that exploit illegal workers has given hundreds of flagrant offenders a free pass after Homeland Security audits determined they employed large numbers of undocumented immigrants. 

It’s the one area of immigration enforcement that President Obama vows to pursue, penalizing companies that benefit from cheap illegal alien labor rather than workplace raids that lead to mass deportations. To fulfill the mission, the commander-in-chief launched a “bold, new audit initiative” last July to inspect businesses suspected of hiring large numbers of illegal workers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents scrutinize hiring records to determine if companies are complying with employment eligibility laws.

The inspections have determined that hundreds of companies throughout the U.S. have significant numbers of illegal immigrants on their payroll yet none have been punished, according to a Houston newspaper that obtained internal ICE records through the Freedom of Information Act. At least 430 audit cases listed as “closed” by the agency had high percentages of workers with “questionable” documents yet they faced no consequences.

The records show federal inspectors specifically identified more than 110 companies with suspect documents for multiple workers yet none of them were fined or criminally charged. They include a California business with suspicious documents for 93% of its employees, an Illinois firm with dubious paperwork for nearly all of its 200 employees and a Texas manufacturer with bogus files for more than half of its 107-member workforce.

Additionally, ICE agents in Atlanta reached a secret agreement with a manufacturing firm that had questionable records on file for 574 of its 1,187 employees. The undisclosed agreement allowed the company to avoid criminal prosecution on the condition that it complies with certain agency requirements, though ICE would not provide additional details.

So much for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s promise that, under her leadership, the agency will focus on “renewing a priority on employers who are making money off of these illegal immigrants and giving them jobs that should be going to American workers.”


 


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