E-Verify: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Federal law mandates employers require proof of citizenship - fines company $200k for following rules.

Punish employers who hire illegal immigrants.

*This article is a repost from one year ago.

How many times have you heard someone say that?  “Well, if they just punish the employers for hiring illegals, there wouldn’t be any jobs for them and they wouldn’t be here.”  That’s the logic behind the big fines employers face for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants:

This does not include “harboring” illegal immigrants, or employing ten or more illegal immigrants in one year. Harboring an illegal immigrant can lead to ten years of prison time.

Additionally, employers should be aware of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Employers can be sued under the act for hiring illegal immigrants, and can face large settlement deals.

Hiring illegal immigrants can lead to many severe penalties, such as:

  • Criminal and civil fines
  • Loss of business licenses

Most fines are broken down to the following:

  • First offenders can be fined $250-$2,000 per illegal employee.
  • For a second offense, the fine is $2,000-$5,000 per illegal employee.
  • Three or more offenses can cost an employer $3000-$10,000 per illegal employee. A pattern of knowingly employing illegal immigrants can mean extra fines and up to six months in jail for an employer.

The law prohibiting the employment of illegal immigrants is 8 U.S. Code § 1324a. You can read it here if you are suffering from insomnia.

Check this part out though:

(b) Employment verification system  The requirements referred to in paragraphs (1)(B) and (3) of subsection (a) of this section are, in the case of a person or other entity hiring, recruiting, or referring an individual for employment in the United States, the requirements specified in the following three paragraphs:

  • (1) Attestation after examination of documentation

      (A) In general  The person or entity must attest, under penalty of perjury and on a form designated or established by the Attorney General by regulation, that it has verified that the individual is not an unauthorized alien by examining—

      (i)  a document described in subparagraph (B), or
      (ii)  a document described in subparagraph (C) and a document described in subparagraph (D).

Indeed, this graphic is displayed prominently on the federal government’s website.


It appears the law says the person hiring must examine documents described in future parts of the law.  When you look at the law, subparagraph (B) lists United States passport, resident alien card, alien registration card, or other documents designated by the Attorney General.

The law says examine documents.

So what’s up with this?

The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with Nebraska Beef Ltd., a meat packing company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.  The settlement resolves an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) into whether the company was engaging in employment discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  In particular, OSC investigated whether the company was requiring non-U.S. citizen employees, because of their citizenship status, to present proof of their immigration status for the employment eligibility verification process.

The department’s investigation found that the company required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify their employment eligibility.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying an employee’s authorization to work.

But, it looks like they were doing what they were supposed to do, doesn’t it?

Judicial Watch was even confused, writing, “You know the nation is in trouble when a U.S. business gets investigated by its own government for following the law.”

In settling the suit, Nebraska Beef Ltd agreed to a $200,000 fine.  They will also have to set up an uncapped back pay fund to pay people who lost wages to the company’s alleged discriminatory practices.  And they’ll have to alter how they hire people.  So now, they will have to ask both citizens and non-citizens the same questions.

Because that makes sense, or something.

Is there any wonder why we are seeing a decline in entrepreneurship?  Would you want to try to navigate this system?


Photo Credit: House Judiciary Press/flikr
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