DoJ Announces Higher Civil Fines for Employer Immigration Violations

March 3, 2008 ( - Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on February 22 announced higher civil fines against employers who violate federal immigration laws.

A Department of Justice press release said under the new rule civil fines will increase by as much as $5,000. The new rule will take effect on March 27, 2008, and will be published in the Federal Register  this week.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers may be fined 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. For each of these violations, the employer has the right to a hearing before an administrative law judge in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, according to the press release.

Under the new rule and applicable law, civil penalties for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act are adjusted for inflation, and because these penalties were last adjusted in 1999, the average adjustment is approximately 25%. The minimum penalty for knowing employment of an unauthorized alien increases by $100, from $275 to $375.

Some of the higher civil penalties are increased by $1,000, the Department said. The maximum penalty for a first violation increases from $2,200 to $3,200, and the maximum civil penalty for multiple violations increases from $11,000 to $16,000. The penalties are assessed on a per-worker basis.