• Per the emerging statistics, under the Obama administration, immigration audits of U.S. employers are up 50 percent with fines resulting from these investigations reaching approximately $3 million. Importantly, the current trend of the increased I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification audits also appears to indicate a tendency towards more detailed inspections as, in some instances, government auditors have demanded employers' records including lists of current and prior employees, corporate tax statements, copies of wage and hour reports, and listings of all recruiters, contractors, and employment agencies utilized by the audited employer. However, the number of illegal worker arrests and deportations has decreased by more than 80 percent. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently confirmed its policy of prioritizing the removal of foreign nationals with criminal convictions and stated that 150,000 of convicted criminals have been removed from the U.S. in 2010.
  • Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently announced a number of federal grand jury indictments on charges of conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude. The defendants in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Thailand have, allegedly, conspired to coerce the labor and services of nearly 400 Thai nationals brought to the U.S. from Thailand between May 2004 and September 2005 to work on farms across the United States. Thai nationals were lured to the U.S. by false promises of well-paid employment and were subsequently coerced to work on farms via threats and deprivation of identification and travel documents. If convicted, defendants will face maximum sentences of 10 to 70 years in prison, depending on each individual's role in the alleged scheme.