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On The Job--illegally

October 07, 1988|Clipboard researched by Dallas Jamison and Rick Vanderknyff / Los Angeles Times. Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

With the passage of the Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986, employers must now provide documentation (form I-9) for all employees hired after Nov. 6, 1986. If the forms are not completed or are not available for inspection by Immigration and Naturalization Service officials, the employer may be subject to fines. Employers who hire illegal aliens may face both fines and imprisonment. Following is a breakdown of the investigation and fine assessment procedures used by the INS, as well as a list of county violators:

THE INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE

The investigation of a company suspected of employing workers without the necessary documentation involves a five-step process:

1. INS officials visit a company to educate the employer as to the specifics of the law. A "Handbook for Employers" is provided.

2. Three to seven days later, the officials return and serve the employer with a three-day notice, advising that the INS will return to audit I-9 forms for all employees hired after Nov. 6, 1986, and that they will inspect these documents to determine authorization to work.

3. Three working days later, the officials return to the company and remove all I-9 forms for verification.

4. If the INS finds a document with an invalid registration number (non-U.S. citizens only), the employer is notified of the discrepancy and asked to take action to verify the employee's legal right to work in the United States. In most cases, if the employee's work authorization cannot be verified, the company will voluntarily fire the employee. When I-9 forms are incomplete or non-existent, the employer must produce completed forms promptly or face a fine.

5. Last, the INS inquires as to the type of action taken by the employer, whether it be proof of the employee's termination, more evidence of the worker's authorization to work or the completed I-9 form. If, in the case of a suspected illegal alien, the employer takes no action, INS officials may interview the employee on company premises and try to establish whether the employee has a right to work. If the employer denies access to the worker, a warrant may be issued by a federal court. INS officials will then return to the company, find the worker and conduct the interview. If the worker is found to be an illegal alien, the individual is arrested.

HOW FINES ARE DETERMINED

*Employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens (non-U.S. citizens) may face the following fines:

First violation: Not less than $250 and not more than $2,000 for each illegal alien employed. Second violation: Not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000 for each illegal alien employed. Third violation: Not less than $3,000 and not more than $10,000 for each illegal alien employed.

*Employers who continue to employ workers they know to be illegal aliens may be subject to criminal court prosecution. If found guilty, an employer could receive fines of at least $3,000 per illegal alien employed or six months in prison.

*Paper work violations: Employers who fail to complete, retain or present a form I-9 for all employees hired after Nov. 6, 1986, may be fined not less than $100, or not more than $1,000, for each employee without appropriate documentation.

WHO HAS BEEN FINED The INS began fining companies nationally in December, 1987. While the vast majority of employers have complied with the regulations contained in the Immigration Act, a few have not. At right is a list of county companies that have been assessed fines.

Source: Department of Justice; Immigration and Naturalization Service

Company: Travelodge

2450 Newport Blvd.

Costa Mesa

Fine Notification Date: 6/13/88 Fine Amount: $4,750 Type of Violation: 2 violations for continuing to employ illegal aliens; 13 paper-work violations

Company: Irvine Industries

3333 W. Warner Ave.

Santa Ana

Fine Notification Date: 6/13/88

Fine Amount: $8,000

Type of Violation: 4 violations for continuing to employ illegal aliens

Company: Crystal Laundry

12623 Hoover St.

Garden Grove

Fine Notification Date: 7/1/88

Fine Amount: $1,650

Type of Violation: 1 violation for continuing to employ illegal aliens; 2 paper-work violations

Company: Century Laminators

1225 Knollwood Circle

Anaheim

Fine Notification Date: 7/13/88

Fine Amount: $10,050

Type of Violation: 7 violations for continuing to employ illegal aliens; 23 paper-work violations

Company: Sunday Samples

1670 Sunflower Ave.

Costa Mesa

Fine Notification Date: 8/11/88

Fine Amount: $3,000

Type of Violation: 11 paper-work violations

Company: Extended Care Hospital Anaheim

501 S. Beach Blvd.

Anaheim

Fine Notification Date: 8/23/88

Fine Amount: $5,600

Type of Violation: 5 violations for continuing to employ illegal aliens; 26 paper work violations

Company: Brothers International Desserts

1201 E. 4th St.

Santa Ana

Fine Notification Date: 8/23/88

Fine Amount: $3,000

Type of Violation: 7 violations for continuing to employ illegal aliens

Company: O'Connell Landscape Maintenance

1921 Yale St.

Santa Ana

Fine Notification Date: 9/7/88

Fine Amount: $1,000

Type of Violation: 2 paper-work violations

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