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Just the Facts: The Bush Administration's Strong Worksite Enforcement Efforts

June 19, 2006

FACT: ICE Has Adopted A Much More Aggressive Approach Toward Cracking Down On Employers Who Knowingly Hire Illegal Aliens. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has replaced the old system of administrative hearings and fines with a much tougher combination of criminal prosecutions and asset forfeitures. ICE is conducting far more criminal investigations than the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which tended to rely on administrative fines as a sanction.

FACT: Arrests For Criminal Violations Brought In Worksite Enforcement Actions – The Most Effective Means Of Enforcement And Best Measure Of ICE's New Approach – Have Increased Significantly. These criminal arrests have increased from 24 in FY99 to 160 in FY04 to 176 in FY05 and to a record 382 so far this fiscal year. The number of indictments and criminal convictions has also increased.

  • In April, ICE Carried Out The Largest Single Worksite Enforcement Action Ever Taken Against An Employer. Seven current and former managers of IFCO Systems North America were charged with harboring aliens and document fraud, and 1,187 unlawfully employed illegal aliens were arrested.

  • From October 2005 Through March 2006, ICE Arrested More Than 2,100 Unlawfully Employed Illegal Aliens As A Result Of Worksite Enforcement Investigations. ICE also seized millions of dollars in cash and assets from employers.

  • Last Year, Federal Agents Completed Operation Rollback, Which Resulted In The Largest Worksite Enforcement Penalty In U.S. History. Operation Rollback also resulted in the arrest of hundreds of illegal immigrants and criminal convictions against a dozen employers. The $15 million settlement and forfeiture resulting from Operation Rollback is greater than the combined sum of all administrative fines from the previous eight years.

FACT: Funding For Immigration Enforcement Inside Our Country Has Increased By 42 Percent Since The President Took Office.

  • Last Year, The President Signed A Bill Doubling Federal Resources For Worksite Enforcement. The Administration's FY07 budget request seeks $41.7 million in new funds and 171 additional agents to enhance ICE's worksite enforcement efforts.

FACT: The Basic Pilot Program Is Helping Businesses Comply With The Law. Basic Pilot is a voluntary, online verification system that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of new hires by checking the information they provide against Federal databases.

  • When President Bush Took Office, Basic Pilot Was Available In Only Six States, And Today It Is Available Nationwide. The President's FY 2007 budget requests $111 million to expand Basic Pilot.

  • President Bush Has Called On Congress To Make Basic Pilot Mandatory And Provide Homeland Security With The Funding And Authority To Make Sure It Is An Effective Tool To Prevent The Hiring of Illegal Workers. Basic Pilot is still optional, and most employers do not participate. Both the House and Senate immigration bills would require employers to use Basic Pilot.

FACT: DHS Recently Proposed Its "No-Match" Regulation To Make It Easier For Employers To Verify Employment Eligibility And Help The Government Identify And Crack Down On Those Employers Who Knowingly Hire Illegal Workers In Violation Of The Law. Millions of Social Security numbers provided by employers do not match the information in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) databases. In cases where an employer has ten or more employees with inaccurate information, the SSA sends the employer a "no-match" letter. DHS's proposed "no-match" regulation sets forth an employer's current obligations under the immigration laws when an employer receives a no-match letter and makes clear that employers who ignore the discrepancies between SSA databases and the information provided by their employees may be viewed under the law as knowing that the employees are illegal workers, making it easier for ICE to prosecute violators.

FACT: To Help Combat Document Fraud, President Bush Has Proposed The Creation Of A New Identification Card For Every Legal Foreign Worker. This card would use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to help make it tamper-proof. With a tamper-proof card, American employers would know that a foreign job applicant is who he says he is – and is in our country legally and is seeking to find work in accordance with the law.

  • The Administration Has Launched Law Enforcement Task Forces In 11 Major Cities To Dismantle Criminal Rings That Produce Fake Documents.

George W. Bush, Just the Facts: The Bush Administration's Strong Worksite Enforcement Efforts Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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