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Defending Employers When ICE Puts the Heat On
By Matthew F. Leitman and Paul D. Hudson
The Department of Homeland Security, through its Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (“ICE”), has begun aggressively pursuing employers suspected of hiring and harboring illegal aliens. ICE recently proclaimed that it has “fundamentally reformed immigration enforcement” and that its reforms specifically target “employers who knowingly break the law.”1 ICE’s press releases regularly trumpet the indictment and sentencing of employers convicted of violating immigration laws. For example, ICE recently announced that the owner of a Virginia salon was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for conspiring to harbor illegal aliens;2 that three Arizona restaurant chain executives were indicted for harboring and hiring illegal aliens;3 and that a Miami subcontractor was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for hiring and harboring illegal aliens.4 The statistics support ICE’s claim of increased criminal enforcement against employers. Between 2008 and 2010, the number
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