WASHINGTON – A year-end analysis by the Department of Homeland Security found that despite an up tick in arrests relating to the hiring of illegal workers in 2007, only a small fraction of employers have been charged with criminal offenses.
In fiscal year 2007, nearly 4,900 arrests were made of illegal workers, phony document suppliers and others, but only 92 arrests were made of owners, human resources officials and supervisors.
Of the 4,940 arrests, 4077 were administrative and 863 were criminal in nature.
According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement report, the amount of criminal fines has gone up from $600,000 in 2003 to more than $30 million in 2007. Those fines are dominated by a few large payments. Only 17 firms faced criminal fines or other forfeitures this year, and one nationwide cleaning service owned by Richard Rosenbaum paid more than $17 million of the $30 million total.
The small fractions have given Democratic lawmakers a chance to wedge in on the volatile political issue and criticize the Bush administration for talking but not taking action.
"I know what it takes to get a criminal case," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a former state prosecutor and member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee told The Washington Post. "Why is it that hundreds of bar owners can be sanctioned in Missouri every year for letting somebody with a fake ID have a beer, but we can't manage to sanction hundreds of employers for letting people use fake identities to obtain a job?"