US immigration authorities have stepped up enforcement activities in New Jersey. 13 employers were fined a total of nearly $640,000 last month for employing undocumented workers. That's a dramatic increase from the fines levied in 2009. Last year, four employers in New Jersey were fined approximately $44,000 for hiring undocumented employees.
According to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Newark, the penalties are part of the agency's crackdown on enforcing immigration law in the state. It's not just New Jersey that was targeted during these increased crackdowns. Across the country, the Obama administration is coming down harder on businesses that fail to ensure that their employees are qualified to work in the country.
If you own a New Jersey business, it's important for you to be aware of these increased crackdowns. The current volatile and anti-immigrant political climate has meant that federal agencies are under more pressure than ever to seem to like they are doing a great job. One way they can do this is by conducting secret silent raids, like the one that these employers in New Jersey were likely subjected to.
You can expect Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to raid your offices and go through your forms, to see if your employees have their papers in order. Employers and New Jersey immigration lawyers are likely to see more such raids conducted as the national immigration debate continues. There is little point in penalizing places that employ undocumented workers, as long as we continue to see so much indecision and inaction on dealing with immigration reform.