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Attorney General Announces Higher Civil Fines Against Employers for Immigration Violations

Friday, February 22, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today announced higher civil fines against employers who violate federal immigration laws.  The new rule, which will be published in the Federal Register early next week, will take effect on March 27, 2008 and increase civil fines by as much as $5,000.

Under the rule, the minimum penalty for knowing employment of an unauthorized alien increases by $100, from $275 to $375. Some of the higher civil penalties will increase by $1,000; for example, the maximum penalty for a first violation increases from $2,200 to $3,200. The biggest increase raises the maximum civil penalty for multiple violations from the current $11,000 to $16,000. These penalties are assessed on a per-alien basis; thus, if an employer knowingly employed, or continued to employ, five unauthorized aliens, that could result in five separate fines.

Employers who violate employment eligibility requirements are subject to civil monetary penalties under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The employer may be fined under the Act for knowingly employing unauthorized aliens or for other violations, including failure to comply with the requirements relating to employment eligibility verification forms, wrongful discrimination against job applicants or employees on the basis of nationality or citizenship, and immigration-related document fraud. For each of these violations, the employer has the right to a hearing before an administrative law judge in the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

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