Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
A bill that would amend section 274A(e)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to substantially increase employer penalties for violations was introduced last week by Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick (R-NC). The 10k Run for the Border Act (H.R. 588) would increase the fines for knowingly hiring or recruiting an undocumented worker, or continuing to employ an illegal alien when the employee’s legal status changes or becomes known.
Under this new bill, an employer could be fined between $10,000 and $80,000 for each violation, an increase from the current $250-$2,000 penalty range. For an employer with a prior violation, the penalties are increased to between $80,000 and $200,000, up from $2,000 to $5,000 per violation under current law. For a repeat offender, the fine skyrockets to a range of $120,000 to $1.6 million. The current fine for such a repeat offense is a minimum penalty of $3,000 and a maximum of $10,000.
If State or local law enforcement officials provide material assistance in investigating or prosecuting employers that are in violation of this law, they are entitled to 80 percent of the fines paid by those employers. It follows that such large financial incentives would increase enforcement.
The provisions of this amendment would take effect on the day of enactment. This bill has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Another immigration bill that would increase employer fines for hiring undocumented workers has already been introduced this year. The Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection act of 2009 (H.R. 98) would make more sweeping changes to how employers are required to verify employee work eligibility, and increase fines as well as jail time for employers in violation.