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Latino Daily News

Friday January 21, 2011

Obama Administration Creates New Office to Audit Employers I-9 Records

Obama Administration Creates New Office to Audit Employers I-9 Records

Photo: Audit Compliance

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The Obama administration has announced plans to crackdown on employers who hire illegal immigrants by creating a new audit office that is responsible for the verification of company hiring records.

In an interview, John Morton, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, said the Employment Compliance Inspection Center would “address a need to conduct audits even of the largest employers with a very large number of employees.” The office would be announced Thursday, he said.

Morton said that the center would be staffed with specialists who will pore over the I-9 employee files collected from companies targeted for audits.

Since ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006, only 115 companies have signed on, with many reluctant to open their books to government scrutiny and to invest in training and new systems to bolster their employer-verification process, experts say.

During the Bush administration, immigration enforcement was based primarily in raids on facilities, with the illegal workers being deported. Very few companies and their executives were prosecuted.

In contrast, the Obama administration has put the focus the employers with “silent raids.”

About 11 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S., according to government estimates.