ICE and U.S. Attorneys are actively enforcing immigration compliance requirements against employers in Kansas. Since the 2009 ICE Worksite Enforcement memo was issued, ICE and U.S. Attorneys have been imprisoning and fining Kansas employers for immigration-related violations. In February 2016, a manager of a rural Kansas restaurant, who was under ICE investigation since 2011, was finally sentenced to jail and fined for employing unauthorized workers.
The investigation into El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant in Ottawa, Kansas started several years before any charges were brought, but as soon as indictments were handed down, the restaurant was paralyzed and the manager caught off guard. The restaurant was eventually forfeited in 2013 and restaurant manager, Alex Sanchez, was charged with harboring for employing unauthorized workers and fined more than $20,000. Eventually, in February 2016, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison for the harboring charges.
ICE is staying true to the promises laid out in its Worksite Enforcement Memo from 2009, which say ICE is on criminal prosecution of employers for employing undocumented workers. The term “employers” means anyone in the hiring chain, not just CEOs and company owners.
To avoid any liability, employers should be proactive in handling immigration compliance matters. Any person in your company’s hiring structure or in charge of filling out I-9s should receive training. Many employers believe that if their I-9s are “good”, then they are shielded from liability if ICE comes to audit or investigate the company. Sadly, this is not the case, since many of the employers who have lost their businesses and/or are in jail had I-9s on their workforce, but lacked compliance.
Compliance requirements include: using E-Verify, maintaining copies of documents, annual I-9 audits, annual training, and others on the list of ICE Best Employment Practices.
Danielle Atchison, Business Immigration Attorney MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM 7007 College Blvd., # 460, Overland Park, KS 66211 USA Phone :: 913.317.6200 Email :: DAtchison@uslegalimmigration.com