HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Firing Illegal Immigrants

Earlier this month I attended a meeting of my local chapter of Infragard. Coincidentally, the presentation covered the IMAGE Program, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers. IMAGE is a program of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm of DHS. The goal of the program is to assist employers in targeted sectors to develop a more secure and stable workforce and to enhance fraudulent document awareness through education and training.

Despite the fact that a 1986 law prohibited businesses from knowingly employing illegal aliens, the problem of determining whether an applicant for a job was legal or not has continued to plague businesses, especially in industries like construction and hotels. I asked the question, “if someone makes an application for a job and the employer receives a no-match notification, why is the applicant given the option of challenging the ruling (and supplying supporting documentation) or simply withdrawing. Why wouldn’t that person be arrested and deported?” The question was answered with the simple, “we don’t have the manpower to arrest and deport” people who receive no-match letters.

It appears that the ICE agents making this presentation weren’t talking about the revisions to the rule. While this does not directly address my point about directly deporting job applicants for whom employers receive a “no match” letter, this revised rule would threaten employers with prosecution if they didn’t fire an employee where there is a “no match” situation.

There is clear opposition from immigration proponents.

Opponents said the new plan, which like the old one would be based on discrepancies in Social Security records, would harm large numbers of legal workers, foster discrimination against the foreign-born and drive up business costs. "This misguided attempt to fit the square peg of immigration enforcement into the round hole of Social Security benefits is a guarantee of increased discrimination and erroneous terminations," said Kathleen Campbell Walker, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The new rule is intended to clarify the required actions by employers.

Employers who get no-match letters would have 90 days to resolve the discrepancy and an additional three days for an employee to submit a new, valid Social Security number. After that, an employer who failed to fire the worker would be subject to civil fines or criminal prosecution.

These proposed changes and the new rule still do not address the question of what will happen to the illegal immigrants who are fired because of a “no match” finding. We’ll see what happens following the public comment period.