News - April 2008

Fines Increase for Civil Employer Violations for Hiring Unauthorized Aliens

The Department of Justice published a final rule in the Federal Register which increased the monetary penalties for certain violations of the employment eligibility verification process effective March 27, 2008.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides civil penalties for a number of employer violations, including the knowing employment of unauthorized aliens and failure to comply with the employment verification requirements relating to completing Form I-9. These provisions also include penalties for discrimination against job applicants or employees on the basis of nationality, and for immigration-related document fraud.

The rule does not change the list of violations, but rather the amount in fines that may be imposed for violations. The final rule amends the immigration regulations to include a revised schedule of civil penalties.

According to a recent press release by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, this fee adjustment is part of a series of reforms, "made within the boundaries of the existing law to secure our borders." Because the penalties were last adjusted in 1999, the average adjustment is approximately 25 percent. Under the specific rounding mechanism of the law, the minimum penalty for knowing employment of an unauthorized alien increases by $100, from $275 to $375. Some of the higher civil penalties are increased by $1,000; for example, the maximum penalty for a first violation increases from $2,200 to $3,200. The largest increase is a change to the maximum civil penalty for multiple violations from the current $11,000 to the new level of $16,000.


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