Heather Ginsberg

According to an audit released yesterday, it appears the Obama administration has regularly given breaks to businesses that hire illegal immigrants. I guess President Obama missed the whole illegal part.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that the Obama administration has been reducing these businesses’ fines by an average of 40 percent. In one case in particular, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cut one business’s fine from $4.9 million to slightly more than $1 million. This was a 78 percent cut.

The report explains that these reductions are legal, but that they may be undercutting the administration’s goal of being tougher on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

“The knowledge that fines can be significantly reduced may diminish the effectiveness of fines as a deterrent to hiring unauthorized workers,” the inspector general said.

May be? Well yeah, that’s exactly what those actions do!

According to analysts, the illegal immigration problem would be reduced if businesses would abide by employment laws. The focus should not only be on the illegal immigrants, but also their employers.

The inspector general’s report said ICE submitted notices totaling fines of more than $52.7 million from 2009 through 2012, but ended up charging only $31.2 million — for a 40 percent break for businesses.

Basically ICE has shown little consistency in how it applies sanctions on these businesses. Some field offices give out more warnings and fewer fines than other offices. ICE didn’t address the issue of reduced fines in their reply to the report. Instead the agency claims it tries to be consistent with how they go after employers, but various factors can change the outcome.

Clearly we need to remember that it is not only the illegal immigrants that we need to address in immigration reform, but it’s the businesses that hire them too. With this new report, we have found more money that should have been used to fund the government, but instead is going to waste. It seems there is money out there to be collected, but instead the Obama administration is taking the side of businesses over the taxpayers.


Heather Ginsberg

Heather Ginsberg is Townhall's web editor and community manager. Follow her on Twitter

@HeatherGinsberg

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography