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Immigration News

The Obama administration has extended its crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants, notifying 500 companies across the nation in recent weeks that the government will inspect their hiring records.The surge in so-called silent raids is the first to occur in the government's new fiscal year, which began October 1. In the year ended September 30, the U.S. audited 2,496 companies, topping the previous year's tally of 2,196.

The audits of employee records by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, can lead firms to lose large numbers of employees and face lower productivity and steep legal fees.

The audits can result in civil and criminal penalties. Companies can be fined, barred from competing for government contracts and be hit with criminal charges of knowingly employing illegal workers and evading taxes.

About 11 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S., with roughly two-thirds of them employed, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a research group. Workers often use a fake Social Security number or the identity of a legal resident or citizen to secure work.

Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 5,909 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor and imposed more than $72 million in sanctions. The Obama administration has made employers the focus of its efforts to curb illegal immigration.

In Other Immigration News . . .

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer urged a federal judge to throw out one of the three remaining legal challenges to Arizona's immigration enforcement law, arguing the state's attempt to fix its border problems isn't trumped by federal law.

The governor's lawyers said in a court filing that the group that filed the lawsuit in question was offering speculation about the law's effects and implications.

The lawsuit by the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, alleges that Arizona's law should be invalidated because it's superseded by federal immigration law and the state can't enact statutes to control the flow of immigrants.

The governor's response to the lawsuit came as the U.S. Supreme Court is mulling whether to hear her appeal of a July 2010 decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton that halted enforcement of elements of the law. The Supreme Court hasn't yet said whether it would accept Brewer's appeal.

Four of the seven challenges to Arizona's immigration law have been dismissed.

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December 10, 2019, 7:04 pm PDT

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