Thursday, February 7, 2013

2012 ICE Worksite Enforcement Statistics for San Diego Employers

The $138 million U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite enforcement effort in 2012 resulted in over 3,000 employers audited, more than 200 company managers arrested and nearly $13 million in employment-related violations.  ICE recently issued a news release detailing their worksite enforcement efforts of San Diego and Imperial County businesses during the past year, resulting in $173,800 in worksite fines implemented by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  HSI identified potential hiring violations of the employers by auditing their Form I-9s to determine any discrepancies in the employers’ hiring process and how employment eligibility was determined.  Special agent in charge for HSI San Diego, Derek Benner, was quoted saying, “Employers who build their business model upon an illegal workforce will be held accountable,” and continued by highlighting the importance of proper employment practices with, “Employers must understand that the integrity of their employment records is just as important to the federal government as the integrity of their tax files or banking records.”

ICE’s enforcement effort throughout San Diego and Imperial County is a reinforcing example of the shift in focus from the illegal individuals being hired to the employers and management staff participating in unlawful hiring procedures.  HSI conducted 151 worksite audits in 2012, a 43% increase from 86 audits in 2011, resulting in ten companies receiving final notices from ICE and receiving the following fines:

  •     Stanford Sign and Awning, Inc. - $9,600
  •     El Sol Meat Market - $24,050
  •     International Consolidated Cargo - $7,480
  •     Mexicali Chicken and Salad - $21,500
  •     Old Town Buffet - $15,000
  •     Rocha Trucking & Parking, Inc. - $8,000
  •     TDG Aerospace - $15,427.50
  •     Aquarius Yacht Services - $13,744
  •     Balboa Ambulance Incorporated - $50,000
  •     Harmony Egg Ranch - $9,000

The total amount of fines imposed on the ten San Diego-area companies was $173,800 for fiscal year 2012, representing an 18% increase from fiscal year 2011 when HSI conducted 86 worksite audits resulting in $146,577 in civil fines.  HSI will continue to pursue criminal cases against non-compliant employers by utilizing all available civil and administrative tools including Form I-9 inspections, civil fines and debarments.  Contact Us today or call 1 (949) 640-4949 to speak with one of our subject-matter experts to ensure your organization is fully compliant with current employment verification processes.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Houston Community College Reaches Settlement with DOJ on Work Authorization Discrimination

Houston Community College (HCC) currently enrolls more than 60,000 students and employs approximately 6,000 employees across 20 campuses, making it one of the largest community countries in the United States.  As of January 31, 2013, HCC reached an agreement with the Justice Department (DOJ) based on allegations that the college was using a discriminatory hiring process requiring non-U.S. citizens to provide specific documents to establish their work authorization.  The investigation began after an individual filed charges alleging that HCC discriminated against her based on national origin and citizenship status.  The case that followed was led by Trial Attorney Liza Zamd, who reached a settlement prior to the Justice Department filing an official complaint with Houston Community College.
The Justice Department’s investigation uncovered a pattern of discriminatory practices in Houston Community College’s hiring process over the past two years, which required non-U.S. citizens to provide additional documentation during the application process, while U.S. citizen applicants weren't required to provide any additional documents.  Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, spoke about discriminatory hiring processes in the Justice Department’s official statement saying, “Employers cannot create higher hurdles for non-U.S. citizens in the employment process, including the employment eligibility verification process, than those required of U.S. citizens or those required by law.” 
Under the terms of the agreement, Houston Community College will comply with the following requirements set forth by the Justice Department:

  • $83,600 in civil penalties due to their discriminatory hiring practices.
  • A $20,000 back pay fund for compensation of potential victims who lost wages as a result of those practices.
  • Training on the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • A two year monitoring period enforced by the Justice Department overseeing their employment eligibility verification practices.
To ensure your company is in compliance with current Federal law, call 1(949)640-4949 or Contact Us to speak with our subject-matter experts on how our solutions will provide your organization with the best practices needed to stay compliant.

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