US seeks fine from company in immigration case

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2009 8:32 PM

The government's immigration agency is seeking more than $40,000 from a Detroit-area company accused of failing to properly complete nearly 100 eligibility forms for workers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said an audit in March turned up problems at Applied Plastic Products in St. Clair County's Ira Township.

"These violations include failing to ... ensure that an employee attests to the fact that he is authorized to work in the U.S., and failure to review proper employee documents to ensure work eligibility," ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said Tuesday.

"There were no charges lodged for knowingly hiring" illegal immigrants, he said.

ICE proposed a $41,360 fine in April. The company didn't oppose the penalty within 30 days, and the federal government now wants the money.

A message seeking comment was left with Applied Plastic president Gerald Ruggles. The government filed a lawsuit last month in federal court in Detroit. The company has until Jan. 11 to respond.

Under immigration law, employers must verify the eligibility of workers on so-called I-9 forms.

"Applied Plastic was given the opportunity to correct these errors prior to being fined and failed to do so," Walls said.

Applied Plastic makes products for the auto industry.

(This version CORRECTS location of Ira Township to St. Clair County.)