Audits, not raids mark US immigration crackdown-NYT

* 2,900-plus companies audited for illegals this year

* Businesses fined $3 million

CHICAGO, July 10 (BestGrowthStock) – The U.S. government is taking
a new approach in its effort to crack down on illegal workers
by quietly auditing the employment records of thousands of
companies suspected of hiring undocumented immigrants rather
than staging high-profile worksite raids, the New York Times
reported on Saturday.

The Times said the Obama administration had conducted such
audits at more than 2,900 companies so far — a number it said
dwarfed the number of companies affected by the immigration
raids at factories and farms during the eight-year
administration of Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W.
Bush.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as
ICE, has imposed $3 million in fines on businesses found to be
in violation.

The Times said the government forces the businesses to fire
every suspected illegal immigrant discovered on their payrolls
— not just those who are working during the audit — and makes
it much harder for the companies to hire other unauthorized
workers as replacements.

But the Times said most of the workers discovered by the
audits were not being deported once they lost their jobs and
that the government had moved away from the practice of
bringing criminal charges against immigrants who lack legal
status but have otherwise clean records.

ICE chief John Morton told the Times, said the purpose of
the audits was to create “a culture of compliance” in which
employers would routinely verify the immigration status of
their workers. He said ICE was most interested in finding
“egregious employers.”

With congressional elections ahead in November, illegal
immigration has become a growing concern. Hispanic have
traditionally tended to vote for Democrats but the Republican
Party has been recruiting them.

The U.S. Justice Department filed suit this week against
Arizona because of the state’s new law requiring police to
investigate the immigration status of anyone reasonably
suspected of being an illegal immigrant.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Bill Trott)

Audits, not raids mark US immigration crackdown-NYT