Aug 15, 2011

Immigration Crackdown: Audits Drive Illegal Workers Underground

Here is another unintended, negative consequence of the Obama administration's crackdown on unauthorized immigration. 

Immigration Audits Drive Illegal Workers Underground - "The journey from prosperity to the economic margins ... is an increasingly common path for thousands of undocumented workers pushed out of their jobs by the federal government's audits of U.S. businesses, according to immigration experts, business owners and unions. (These are known as I-9 audits from the number of the document employers are required to keep on file for each employee, in which the employee states that he/she is a citizen or legally eligible to work in the U.S.)

The audits, started by the Obama administration in 2009, put the onus on business to police workers, requiring companies to turn over employee (I-9) records to federal agents. If the papers aren't in order, the workers are quietly let go without penalty while the companies are punished.

The audits, conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, were initially hailed by some immigrant advocates as more humane because they eliminate deportation raids, the norm during the Bush administration.

But it has become increasingly clear that the policy is pushing undocumented workers deeper underground, delivering them to the hands of unscrupulous employers, depressing wages and depriving federal, state and local coffers of taxes, according to unions, companies and immigrant advocates."

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