A new report claims U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has mostly ceased efforts to enforce laws pertaining to hiring illegal workers in the United States.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies,
the number of workplace audits dropped from 3,127 in 2013 to 181 in the first five months of the current fiscal year. Twenty-seven employers have been charged with hiring illegal workers during the current fiscal year, well off pace of the overall 2013 figure of 179.
The final 2014 figures included audits on 1,320 employers, which resulted in 172 arrests.
The data is telling, particularly after President Barack Obama
took executive actions on immigration last fall that could grant amnesty to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. The legislation is on hold now as it's sorted out in the court system.
The policy shift in enforcing workplace laws, according to the Center for Immigration Studies report, was mentioned in a 2009 ICE memo. Instead of conducting raids on businesses suspected of employing illegal workers, the agency was instructed to instead focus on select businesses and examine their personnel records.
The change has resulted in a drastic reduction in fines collected by the government, from $9.4 million in 2013 to a projected 2015 figure of $4.6 million.
"Robust worksite enforcement programs produce numerous public benefits, including deterring illegal hiring, exposing exploitative workplace conditions and tax violations, punishing unscrupulous employers, uncovering document fraud rings and other criminal activity, and, most importantly, restoring job opportunities for legal workers," the Center for Immigration Studies report reads.
"When considering the allocation of funding for ICE programs, Congress should take care that this critical form of enforcement, which addresses both land crossers and overstayers, is restored to a higher priority."
Earlier this month, the IRS said
illegal workers living in the U.S. will be allowed to file for back tax refunds under Obama's immigration orders.
Texas, plagued with immigration problems as migrants cross into the state from Mexico, announced this week it will spend $800 million
for border security over the next two years. The Lone Star State will put the money toward a new surveillance airplane, a new crime data center, a training facility, and hiring new law enforcement personnel to keep watch on the border.
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