Attorney General Michael Mukasey has announced that, effective March 27, employers who violate federal immigration laws will face higher fines. The new rule will increase fines by as much as $5,000.
Under the rule, the minimum penalty for knowingly employing an unauthorized alien increases from $275 to $375. Some penalties will increase by $1,000. The maximum penalty for a first violation increases from $2,200 to $3,200. The biggest increase raises the maximum civil penalty for multiple violations from the current $11,000 to $16,000. These penalties are assessed on a per-alien basis; thus, if an employer knowingly employed five unauthorized aliens, it could result in five separate fines.
Employers who violate employment eligibility requirements are subject to civil monetary penalties under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The employer may be fined under the Act for knowingly employing unauthorized aliens or for other violations, including failure to comply with the requirements relating to employment eligibility verification forms, wrongful discrimination against job applicants or employees on the basis of nationality or citizenship, and immigration-related document fraud.