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in secure document technology since IRCA have been readily matched by counterfeiting operations. And several reports have concluded that it is relatively easy to obtain genuine documents, such as birth certificates or drivers licenses, by fraudulent means.

The success of any worksite enforcement strategy turns on DHS enforcing employer compliance with verification procedures. Since IRCA, policymakers have viewed worksite enforcement of illegal hiring and employment as a low priority focusing on education and notifications of intent to fine. Following the events of September 11, 2001, resources for interior enforcement were redirected towards national security-related investigations. Prosecuting criminal employer cases became a subordinate priority to protecting critical infrastructure such as airports, military bases, and nuclear plants and criminal prosecutions plummeted. In fact, in 2003 ICE headquarters required field officers to obtain permission before initiating a workplace investigation.

A new strategy began to emerge in 2005 because “employers came to view [administrative] fines as simply the ‘cost of doing business’;” and ICE was establishing three priorities—the removal of unauthorized workers from critical infrastructure facilities, an employer outreach program including self-policing; and a focus on egregious and criminal violators targeting companies such as WalMart or Swift and Co. While the I-9 process remains the mechanism used to verify authorized work status by most all compliant employers, there are additional services that employers may use to verify work authorization although these electronic systems suffer severe problems with accuracy and timeliness. Additionally, the Administration is attempting to control workplace hires through the policing of name and social security number mismatches, although thus far the courts have barred this approach.

Part of the reason for the repeated failure to achieve comprehensive immigration reform is the controversial nature of the immigration issue. Different groups are equally committed to ensuring that unauthorized migrants, on the one hand, are kept out of the country and do not receive amnesty if they have entered illegally, or on the other that these essential workers finally gain access to legal employment opportunities and,

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Profile for School of Foreign Service - Georgetown University

International Labor Mobility in the United States  

B. Lindsay Lowell and Susan F. Martin (March 2008)

International Labor Mobility in the United States  

B. Lindsay Lowell and Susan F. Martin (March 2008)

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