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DOJ and DOL have rushed to implement increases in civil money penalties for 2023 worksite immigration enforcement activity based on a 7.7% inflation rate.

Effective 1/31/23, the base civil money penalty for I-9 paperwork first offenses will range from $272 to $2701 @ violation while the base penalty for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ undocumented workers will range from $676 to $5404. Base assessments are made by ICE based on a fine matrix tied to the overall percentage of violations in the employer’s audit inventory, subject to aggravation and mitigation rates of 5% per statutory factor.
Civil money penalties for violations of the IRCA anti-discrimination provisions, enforced by the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the DOJ Civil Rights Division, also rose effective 1/31/2023. In first-offense cases, the CMPs for citizenship status and national origin discrimination violations in recruitment, hire, and termination will range from $517 to $4144 per victim. Fines for document abuse violations (frequently reported by E-Verify monitors) will range from $207 to $2072. Given the IER’s penchant for charging immigration-related discrimination violations under the pattern or practice theory, aggregate fines frequently surpass multiples of six figures. IER can also assess economic damages payable to the victims of discriminatory conduct.
The DOL Wage and Hour division is charged with enforcement of the employer attestations contained in the H-1B Labor Condition Application, in addition to the labor conditions mandated for Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers, and H-2A and H-2B Workers. Effective January 13, 2023, the maximum authorized penalties for violations of these employment-based immigration programs were increased by a factor of 7.7 percent over 2022 maximums. Willful violations of the labor protections afforded immigrant workers can also result in employer debarment from participation in immigrant labor sponsorships across the board and liability for unpaid wages and liquidated damages for FLSA violations discovered in the course of investigation.
Now is the time to plan corporate compliance initiatives in the immigrant labor space to prepare your business for potential investigation by federal regulators to avoid potential fines and penalties.