Osama Bin Laden Dead – Does That Mean Trouble’s on the Way?
The Whitehouse just reported that Osama Bin Laden is dead (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/01/national/main20058777.shtml). Crowds gathered outside the Whitehouse and cheered. President Obama made a statement that reiterated the U.S. commitment to fighting terror, searching for al Qaeda and strengthening our borders. The President stated that he had made Osama Bin Laden the primary target of the military and that finally, 10 years later, he had been killed by U.S. forces.
The President stated that this does not mean that the war on terror is over and that it could lead to reprisals by terrorists. So, what does this mean to us? Indeed, it would not be surprising at all if there were reprisals against U.S. targets, especially in our own land. According to the President, the cause of protecting our borders is not yet complete.
The government has been and will continue to be dedicated to protecting its citizens. Since November 6, 1986 employers have been required to verify that all employees had a right to work in the U.S. via the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, otherwise known as the Form I-9. In more recent years, employers have been required to verify that new employees had a right to work in the U.S. through the government’s E-Verify program. The federal government has required that Federal Contractors and Subcontractors also use E-Verify to ensure they are hiring only employees that are eligible to work in the U.S.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its “mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration.” ICE has been investigating U.S. employers in order to reduce the employment of workers that do not have a right to work in the U.S. According to ICE, the reason for trying to prevent the employment of illegal workers is because the represent an increased criminal and security risk. ICE has stated that “An effective worksite enforcement strategy must address both employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, as well as the workers themselves.”
Last year, they began targeting the hiring practices of U.S. employers with devastating results.
- $36,000,000 in employer fines and sanctions were issued.
- 58% more owners, managers and supervisors faced criminal charges.
- 57% employers were audited.
- 223% more businesses were debarred – losing their right to work on federal contracts.
- 2,746 businesses were investigated by ICE.
With the heightened security level as a result of this news, it is likely that the Whitehouse will continue to emphasize the securing of our borders and ensuring that employers are hiring a legal workforce. One of the main reasons for the stronger focus on worksite enforcement will be because of the likelihood of “sleeper cells” that may be called into action with Bin Laden’s death. Therefore, it will continue to be important for employers to ensure that they are ready for an ICE I-9 Audit. That’s why many of our clients elect to have Form I-9 Compliance review their I-9s, so they know where any problems may be and can plan accordingly and take appropriate action.