Worksite Enforcement investigations surge in FY18
Criminal investigations, business audits and arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and auditors surged in fiscal year 2018 compared to the previous year, following a commitment made by the agency in late 2017 to step up its worksite enforcement efforts across the country.
In fiscal year 2018, HSI opened 6,848 worksite investigations compared to 1,691 in FY17; initiated 5,981 I-9 audits compared to 1,360; and made 779 criminal and 1,525 administrative worksite-related arrests compared to 139 and 172, respectively; all of these categories surged by 300 to 750 percent over the previous fiscal year.
Criminal indictments and convictions remained at a steady level compared to previous years, but those numbers are also expected to rise due to many ongoing investigations, which can take months to years to fully develop, according to HSI. In fiscal year 2018, HSI saw 72 managers indicted compared to 71 in FY17, and 49 managers convicted in FY18 versus 55 in FY17.
Several high-profile enforcement actions also took place in 2018, including:
- In April, HSI executed a federal search warrant at a slaughterhouse in Bean Station, Tennessee, and arrested 104 aliens on immigration violations. In September, the owner of the company pleaded guilty in federal court to tax fraud, wire fraud and employing illegal aliens. He faces various prison time and fines when he is sentenced early next year, and he has also agreed to pay $1.4 million in restitution before his sentencing.
- In August, HSI executed a series of criminal arrest warrants for 17 individuals connected to an alleged criminal conspiracy to exploit illegal alien laborers for profit, fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, and served search warrants for worksite violations at agricultural firms in Nebraska, Minnesota and Nevada. The ongoing criminal investigation is being coordinated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska.