Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. Fined For Hiring Foreign Workers Not Authorized For Employment

Tuesday ICE stated that last Friday Krispy Kreme reached a $40,000 fine settlement with the government for violating U.S. immigration laws by hiring illegal worker. ICE stated that an inspection at a Krispy Kreme factory in Cincinnati  revealed that the company employed many foreign workers who were not authorized for employment. The inspection also showed that the company did not have the required paperwork for all workers at the factory. As part of the settlement, Krispy Kreme has taken measures to revise its immigration compliance program, and has agreed to begin implementing new procedures to prevent future violations of federal immigration laws, ICE said.

Immigration Enforcement Under Napolitano: A 180 Degree Shift To Employers

One of my articles,  Immigration Enforcement Under Napolitano: A 180 Degree Shift To Employers, was recently published by ILW.  I am reproducing it here in its entirety for your perusal: 

"President Obama made it clear that his immigration plan, among other things, was to "remove incentives to enter illegally." However, the Obama administration has not provided any details as to how is going to accomplish this portion of its plan. This has not only created a good amount of speculation, but also a good deal of frustration among U.S. employers. Yet, in spite of lacking details, the Obama administration has sent out "immigration signals" and U.S. employers should be prepared.

The most important of these immigration signals, perhaps, was Secretary Napolitano's appointment as head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The appointment reveals some of the most basic immigration strategies of the administration's plan. This is not only part of a well calculated move, but, as it would appear, the foundational step necessary to set President Obama's immigration plan in motion.

Secretary Napolitano is considered a smart and demanding attorney with an intense work habit and a quick grasp for bureaucratic detail. A twice elected Governor of Arizona and a former Attorney General and U.S. attorney, she is not only a pragmatist who signed the toughest state immigration law in the nation, but also a politician with clear enforcement views. She is one of the most experienced state executives in the nation in the immigration arena and one of the very few high ranking democrats qualified, should one be enacted, to handle a comprehensive immigration reform loaded with compliance and enforcement requirements.

She has repeatedly called for a "technology-driven border control" and the penalizing of employers hiring undocumented workers.

Secretary Napolitano has indicated that her approach, in terms of immigration raids, will be to closely watch the design of the operations and that the focus will be on "unscrupulous employers" rather than on undocumented workers. She has also stated that raids will continue where undocumented workers are present and that she expects to increase the focus on ensuring that employers "of unlawful workers are prosecuted for their violations."

Moreover, Napolitano has pledged to increase the focus on criminal punishment for employer violators and to encourage them to work with federal immigration agents to "establish sound compliance programs that prevent unlawful hiring." She also aims to continue boosting manpower on the borders and the use of technology. At the same time, she has stated that her full intention is to enforce these methods in a fair manner across borders, ensuring that the law is applied. This, of course, represents a 180 degree shift from the Bush administration's approach to immigration enforcement, which sought to penalize undocumented workers, rather than prosecute employers.

In short, comprehensive immigration reform, whether in piece-meal or in one whole act, will be enacted. Employers will continue to be raided, but enforcement actions are likely to conform to those prescribed under immigration law rather than the "DEA-type" actions with all their inefficiencies and social negative effects seen under the Bush administration. Under Secretary Napolitano, possibly in association with other governmental agencies (i.e. IRS, USDOL, SSA, etc.), the number of government audits and the so called ICE "inspections" will continue and, possibly, increase. Investigations conducted by the FDNS (Office of Fraud Detection and National Security) to detect, deter, and combat immigration benefit fraud to strengthen USCIS' goals and efforts will also increase. Technology based programs such as E-verify will rule and many could become mandatory for all U.S. employers. Immigration attorneys will be well served by advising their corporate clients to put their immigration compliance (i.e. I-9, public access and audit files, etc.) houses in order."

Obama Administration's Immigration Approach with Napolitano will Point to Employers

President Obama made it clear that his immigration plan was to “bring people out of the shadows, improve our immigration system, create secure borders, remove incentives to enter illegally and honor our immigrant troops.” However, the Obama administration has not provided any details as to how it is going to accomplish this plan. This has not only created a good amount of speculation, but also a good deal of frustration among U.S. employers. Yet, in spite of lacking details, the Obama has sent out “immigration signals” and employers should be prepared to feel the effects.

The most important of these immigration signals was Secretary Napolitano’s appointment as head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The appointment reveals some of the most basic immigration strategies of the administration’s plan. This is not only part of a well calculated move, but the foundational step necessary to set President Obama’s immigration plan in motion.

Secretary Napolitano is considered a smart and demanding attorney with an intense work habit and a quick grasp for bureaucratic detail. A twice elected Governor of Arizona and a former Attorney General and U.S. attorney, she is not only a pragmatist who signed the toughest state immigration law in the nation, but also a politician with strong enforcement views. She is one of the most experienced state executives in the nation with immigration and one of the very few qualified to handle a massive immigration reform loaded with compliance and enforcement requirements.

She has repeatedly called for a “technology-driven border control” and the penalizing of employers hiring undocumented workers.

Secretary Napolitano indicated that her approach, in terms of immigration raids, will be to closely watch the design of the operations and that the focus will be on “unscrupulous employers” rather than on undocumented workers. She also stated that raids will continue where undocumented workers are present and that she expects to increase the focus on ensuring that employers “of unlawful workers are prosecuted for their violations.” Moreover, Napolitano pledged to increase the focus on criminal punishment for employer violators and to encourage them to work with federal immigration agents to “establish sound compliance programs that prevent unlawful hiring.” She also aims to continue boosting manpower on the borders and focusing on technology, such as ground sensors. At the same time, it is her full intention to enforce these methods in a fair manner across borders, ensuring that the law is applied.

This represents a 180 degree shift from the Bush administration’s approach to immigration enforcement, which sought to penalize undocumented workers, rather than prosecuting employers under the theory that actual convictions were hard to get.

In short, immigration reform, whether in piece-meal or in one whole swap, will be enacted in 2009 or 2010. Employers will continue to be raided, but enforcement actions are likely to conform to those prescribed under immigration law rather than the “hyper-criminalized” actions conducted under the Bush administration with their inefficiencies and social negative effects.

Under Secretary Napolitano, DHS, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and possibly in association with other governmental agencies (i.e. IRS, USDOL, SSA, etc.), the number of government audits and the so called “inspections” will escalate. Technology based programs such as E-verify will rule and could become mandatory for every employer in the U.S. Wise employers will be served well by putting their immigration compliance (i.e. I-9, public access and audit files, etc.) houses in order.
 

ALTA APPOINTS HECTOR CHICHONI AS NATIONAL IMMIGRATION COUNSEL

MIAMI (February 4, 2009) – Nationally known immigration attorney, Hector A. Chichoni, a member of Epstein Becker & Green’s (EBG) Miami office, has been appointed National Immigration Counsel by ALTA, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association.

In his new national role, Chichoni will advise ALTA on U.S. immigration and nationality law issues and legal trends affecting the aviation industry.

Chichoni’s practice focuses on U.S. and global immigration law, and strategic human resource transfers with a wide range of clients that include multinational corporations, health care organizations and universities.

“Mr. Chichoni is a distinguished expert in the area of U.S. and global immigration law with a unique perspective on U.S. aviation-related immigration issues, said ALTA’s Executive Director Alex de Gunten. “Our organization and members will benefit greatly from his extensive knowledge and experience in this fast changing and demanding immigration environment.”

“With his unique combination of extensive legal knowledge and counseling experience, Hector Chichoni is a natural choice for this prestigious aviation industry position,” said Michael W. Casey III, Managing Shareholder of EBG’s Miami office.

“I am pleased to accept this appointment and I am of course delighted to work with ALTA” said Hector Chichoni. “ALTA is a great organization and well known for the caliber of its members. Both EBG and ALTA share emphasis on quality as an essential element of each organization’s culture. I look forward to not only serving and assisting ALTA and its members as National Immigration Counsel, but also to achieving great things together.”

About ALTA:

ALTA, www.alta.aero, was founded in 1980 as a non-profit airline association. Its member carriers have total revenue of more than $19 billion, operate more than 800 aircraft and employ more than 70,000 workers in Antigua, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and in other nations the airlines serve.

Member Airlines: Aerogal, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Aeroméxico Connect, Aeropostal, AeroRepública, AeroSur, Aires, Air Jamaica, Aserca Airlines, Avianca, Bahamas Air, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Airways, Cielos Airlines, Click, Copa Airlines, Cubana, GOL, Icaro, LAB, LAN Airlines, LAN Ecuador, LAN Peru, Liat, Mexicana, Nature Air, Pluna, Santa Barbara Airlines, Sky Airline, TACA, TACA Peru, TAM, TAM Mercosur, Tame, VARIG LOG, Volaris, VRG Linhas Aereas. Associate Airlines: Air Canada, Continental Airlines, Iberia and UPS. Affiliate Members: Accenture, Airbus, Amadeus, AON, Arinc, AvGroup, Boeing, CFM, Chevron, Embraer, Lufthansa Systems, Marsh Aviation, NCR, OAG, Petrobras Aviation, Routes, Sabre Airline Solutions, SH&E, Shell Aviation, SITA, Spencer Stuart, Travelport, UATP, Unisys, Wencor, White & Case, Willis.
 

ICE Arrests 59 Unauthorized Foreign Nationals Employed by Asheville, North Carolina, Department of Defense Contractor

On August 12, 2008, fifty-nine (59) foreign nationals illegally working at   Mills Manufacturing Corporation (“MMC”) were arrested in North Carolina by U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)'s agents. The arrests were based on a “critical infrastructure” investigation carried out by ICE which revealed that illegal aliens had used fraudulent social security numbers to obtain employment.

According to ICE, the company is cooperating fully and is not, at present, a target of its investigation. MMC is a Department of Defense contractor responsible for the manufacturing of parachutes for the U.S. military and therefore a “sensitive facility.” ICE stated that “it does not believe that arrested individuals at MMC had any ill intent against the US government or its people. However, and which appears to be a new development in ICE’s arsenal of security reasons to raid “sensitive facilities”, ICE stated that "their illegal status" could have made them "susceptible to blackmail by those with ill intent."

Delburt Richburg, assistant special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Charlotte, stated that "When individuals use fraudulent social security numbers to get jobs, they hide their true identity and history. We need to know who is working on our critical infrastructure sites." All of those arrested today were transferred to the Henderson County Sheriff's Office for immigration processing. All have been placed into removal proceedings for being in violation of U.S. immigration law. At this point, no criminal charges have been presented against the arrested foreign nationals.  The investigation, however, still continues. Among the arrested, were nationals of Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador and Honduras.

As of July 2008, ICE has made more than 3,800 administrative arrests for immigration violations during worksite enforcement operations. Interestingly enough, Orlando, Florida has a significant number of "sensitive" companies in the defense industry. I think immigration corporate compliance should be on their minds.   
 

New Employment Verification I-9 Form

Today we received the new employment verification From I-9, edition date 06/16/08. Be aware that no previous edition of the same form will be accepted. Please, also note there are several important changes made to the Form I-9 process:

  • Five documents have been removed from List A of the List of Acceptable Documents: Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561), Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570), Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151), Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327), Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571);
  • One document was added to List A of the List of Acceptable Documents: Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766);
  • All Employment Authorization Documents with photographs have been consolidated as one item on List A: I-688, I-688A, I-688B, I-766;
  • Instructions regarding Section 1 of the Form I-9 now indicate that the employee is not obliged to provide his or her Social Security number in Section 1 of the Form I-9, unless he or she is employed by an employer who participates in E-Verify;
  • Employers may now sign and retain Forms I-9 electronically. See instructions on page 2 of the Form I-9.

All employers in Florida should switch to the new form ASAP and used moving forward regardless of any time line provided by the government.  This Will avoid any confusion later on.  The new Form I-9 can be downloaded by clicking here.

U.S. District Judge States Social Security Card Might Not Be Legal ID In Pilgrims Pride Immigration Case

On July 7, 2008, the Chattanooga Times/Free, reported that “a federal judge has suggested that when two men used false Social Security cards to gain employment at the local Pilgrim's Pride plant, they might not have technically broken the law.” Further, the Chattanooga Times/Free goes on to state that “U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice’s revelation that Social Security cards are not necessarily valid forms of identification, however, sent the defense back to the drawing board with no complaints from the federal government. Judge Mattice recalled a 2003 case in which the government prosecuted Tyson Foods for hiring illegal immigrants. In that case, U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar dismissed certain charges with regard to the use of a Social Security card, ruling that a certain section of U.S. immigration law does not list the document as a valid form of I.D. ‘This is an issue that will have to be decided by a higher court,’ Judge Mattice said. ‘I'm not sure you can base this charge on a false Social Security card.’ ” Although it is too early to tell, if Federal District Judge Mattice’s conclusions were to be upheld in the end by a higher court, this could impose a significant roadblock for I-9 enforcement.

ICE Executes Search Warrant Targeting California Farm Labor Contractor

On June 5, 2008, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents executed a federal search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation targeting an Imperial Valley-area farm labor contractor, arresting two of the company’s foremen on criminal charges and another 32 employees on administrative immigration violations. The warrant was executed at the business office of the locally-owned Boss 4 Packing company, a packing business in Heber, California that provides contract workers to the farming industry in the Imperial Valley. The two arrested company foremen were charged with federal criminal charges for misusing Social Security numbers to employ illegal alien workers. The 32 illegal aliens employed by Boss 4 Packing include a group of seven women and 25 men from Mexico and Honduras. So far, 18 have been repatriated to Mexico and 12 are being held as material witnesses in the ongoing Investigation. One underage worker has been turned over to relatives. The search warrant remains under seal and the investigation is ongoing.

This could very well have happened in Florida. So far in fiscal year 2008, ICE has made more than 3,700 arrests in connection with worksite enforcement investigations, including 850 involving criminal violations. In fiscal year 2007, ICE made more than 4,900 arrests in connection with worksite enforcement investigations, including 863 involving criminal violations. That represents a 45-fold increase in criminal worksite arrests compared to fiscal year 2001. In addition, ICE obtained more than $31 million in criminal fines, restitutions and civil judgments in fiscal year 2007 as a result of worksite related enforcement actions.

Immigration Compliance for Florida Employers

Between February 21 and 22 of 2007 three executives of Rosenbaum-Cunningham International, Inc. (“RCI”), a Florida-based national cleaning contractor, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and to harbor illegal aliens for profit. They were also charged with evading payment of federal employment taxes.

The 23-count indictment charged that these individuals operated a cleaning and grounds-maintenance service that contracted with theme restaurant chains and hospitality venues throughout the United States and staffed the cleaning crews with undocumented foreign nationals. According to the indictment, the federal authorities charged the three janitorial company executives of embezzling more than $18.6 million by failing to collect and pay federal income, Social Security, Medicare and federal employment taxes on the wages paid to its workforce, hundreds of illegal immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and Haiti. RCI allegedly hired illegal immigrants, paid them in cash and never required them to provide identification or fill out job applications or tax forms.

RCI’s president, vice president and controller were arrested along with more than 200 of the Florida-based company’s employees at 64 locations in 18 states and the District of Columbia, in a sweep by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The employees were arrested as they were starting or leaving their shifts. According to ICE leadership, the sweep resulted from a 20-month investigation conducted by ICE agents sparked by the arrest of an illegal alien in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

One of the most interesting aspects of this case is that RCI clients (2001-2005) included House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, Dave and Busters, Yardhouse, ESPN Zone and China Grill. It appears there is no evidence that any of the companies were complicit. In the mean time, RCI has ceased operations as of February 22, 2007.

Until recently, employers who were targeted for a raid usually faced only civil fines and deportation of their illegal workers. However, since 2006, ICE has focused more and more on enforcing criminal penalties including felony charges that have lead to huge fines and asset seizures. Additionally, employers have been charged with criminal violations such as money laundering, alien harboring, illegal alien employment and wire fraud. The DHS has also stated that it hopes increasing the harshness of the penalties encourages employers to comply with laws against hiring illegal workers.

The years 2006 and 2007 have not only seen an increase in the scope of employer liability, but also an effort by the government to clarify employers’ duties when it comes to resolving discrepancies in an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Specifically, ICE proposed a rule in June 2006 that expanded the notion of constructive knowledge as it relates to an employer’s liability that is found to have hired illegal workers. It also described “safe-harbor” procedures for employers who receive a “no-match letter” from the SSA or DHS.

Related to the notion of constructive knowledge, there appears to be a trend towards seeking employer liability even where its contractors or sub-contractors hire illegal workers. Current regulations state that an employer who knowingly or with reckless disregard contracts to obtain the labor of an unauthorized alien will be considered to have hired the employee. Incredibly, in terms of raids already conducted by ICE, in spite of the many industries targeted by ICE existing in our state (i.e. construction, agriculture, hospitality, retail, etc.) Florida has not been an “active” place. We do not hear much about ICE in Florida. But, just as RCI, simply put, employers should not make the mistake of assuming that ICE will not come and raid them.  Employers should be prepared for when it comes. Our state has too many industries which are the focus of ICE’s interest. Given the focus on employer liability for hiring illegal workers, there are various ways employers can proactively protect themselves against not only government investigations and ensure compliance with potential new laws and regulations, but also from service providers who may be hiring undocumented workers. Employers cannot afford neglecting these important tasks.