More than Meets the Eye: Navigating Immigration Compliance for the Prudent Employer

Posted: 13 Feb 2012

See all articles by R. Powell

R. Powell

affiliation not provided to SSRN; University of Maryland School of Law

Date Written: May 5, 2011


Under George W. Bush’s administration, ICE conducted high-profile worksite raids to deport illegal aliens en masse. The Obama administration has directed ICE to shift the focus of worksite enforcement to squeezing employers that violate immigration laws. The sheer number of audits and investigations is also rising. In this regard, 8 USC 1324a is the low-hanging fruit. Under the convoluted statute, it is unlawful to hire an alien, to recruit an alien, or to refer an illegal alien for a fee, knowing the illegal alien is unauthorized to work in the United States. It is also unlawful to continue to employ an illegal alien knowing that the illegal alien is, or has become, unauthorized to work. Furthermore, it is unlawful to hire any individual for employment in the United States without complying with employment eligibility verification requirements. In partnership with the Offices of the United States Attorneys, ICE is aggressively pursuing prosecution of businesses and managers for violations of 8 USC 1324a as well as a multitude of other immigration and related crimes.

Compliance with the law is not as straightforward as it may seem, and the consequences of violating the statute are severe. This paper discusses the statute, Form I-9, USCIS's E-Verify system, and strategies for immigration compliance.

Keywords: immigration, 8 USC 1324, i-9, e-verify, ice, uscis, business, employer, compliance, raid, illegal, unauthorized, alien, criminal, crime, audit, investigation

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K19, K20, K29, K39, K42

Suggested Citation

Powell, R., More than Meets the Eye: Navigating Immigration Compliance for the Prudent Employer (May 5, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

R. Powell (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

University of Maryland School of Law

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

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