A recent ICE arrest shows more than fines as potential liabilities from hiring illegal workers
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents recently arrested 24 day laborers at a Baltimore convenience store accused of being in the US illegally. The suspected illegal immigrants apparently approached ICE agents asking for work. The ICE agents were at the convenience store on an unrelated immigration investigation.
Of the 24 arrested, ICE says six had criminal records in the US, eight had been previously removed and three had final orders of removal from an immigration judge. One of the arrested had been caught entering the country illegally six times previously.
Regardless of what the personal and political beliefs are of employers, there are significant liabilities from hiring illegal immigrants. Fines from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) include a maximum of $10,000 per illegal worker with mandatory jail time. A recent statement from a former DHS employee stated that DHS was putting more focus on the mandatory jail time for guilty employers. Beyond the fines, the above situation shows that 25% of those arrested had criminal records in this country. If one of those 25% had been working and any accidents or crimes occurred harming other employees, clients or by-standers; a very sizable lawsuit could be filed (and won) against the employer for negligent hiring. The illegal immigration issue is very divisive, but employers need to take the emotions out of the issue and focus on the potential liabilities.