DOJ increasing penalty for hiring illegal immigrants

The Justice Department on Thursday boosted the penalty for hiring illegal immigrants and engaging in immigration-related unfair employment practices.

Under the interim final rule published Thursday in the Federal Register, the minimum penalty imposed by the DOJ for the unlawful employment of immigrants would rise from $375 to $539, while the maximum fine would go from $3,200 to $4,313.

The changes stemmed from amendments in a 2015 budget bill that overhauled the formula for increasing such civil penalties.

Violators facing multiple charges also would be subject to a new maximum penalty of $21,563 for hiring illegal immigrants.

The proposed rule was welcomed by some in the small business community, where members often lose business to larger corporations that hire illegal immigrants to work as laborers or farmers.

“Our members would be in favor of the increased penalties, just as they support mandatory e-verify and more rigorous enforcement of our immigrations laws,” said Jack Mozloom, media director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

This rule is effective Aug. 1.