- According to the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, it is is unlawful to offer for employment to any individual in the United States without checking her employment eligibility. This applies to all applicants, whether they are U.S. citizens or holders of a working visa or a permanent residence card (green card). Verification includes the examination of identity documents and completion of Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) for every employee hired. Employers in the state of Arizona are also responsible to use E-Verify, a federal database to check the documentation of current and prospective employees, in accordance with the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007.
Continuing Employment and Contract Work
- It is also illegal for a person (individual employer) or entity (company or other type of organization) to continue to employ illegal workers after they have established they are not eligible to work. This can happen either if the employers discovered false documents after hiring the applicants or when the new administration notices employment of illegal immigrants. In addition, any person knowingly hiring contract workers (for instance, carpenters to fix a closet) also commits a violation. with the exception of sporadic domestic service by an individual in a private home. Casual workers engaged in any compensated activity (with the exception of sporadic service by an individual in a private home) are regarded as employees.
Penalties Upon Conviction
- According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, "Aliens and employers violating immigration laws are subject to arrest, detention, and seizure of their vehicles or property used to commit the crime." Specifically on fines and incarceration, paragraph (f)(1) (Criminal penalty) of Section 8 of the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act mentions that individuals or entities shall be fined not more than $3,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom such a violation occurs and/or imprisoned for not more than six months for the entire practice, "notwithstanding the provisions of any other Federal law relating to fine levels."
- The aforementioned penalties apply to employers that "knowingly" hire or continue to employ illegal immigrants -- as the Act explicitly states -- and constitute federal felonies. However, employers are also held responsible for cases of hiring illegal workers unknowingly, as a result of not following the necessary work eligibility verification procedure. On this occasion, individuals or entities are guilty of a misdemeanor. This does not apply to cases in which the illegal worker provided forged eligibility documents or assumed another's identity.