Immigration Law to Prohibit Hiring of Unauthorized Aliens

Article excerpt

Employers will be prohibited from hiring unauthorized aliens beginning in 1987, under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

The law is designed to be phased in with the first six months, which began on Dec. 1, designated as an educational period for employers to learn about the new provisions. Until June 1, 1987, no citations will be issued. But the first citation period will begin on June 1 and run through May 1988.

After June 1, 1988 sanctions will become effective, according to Mark Schwartz, an Oklahoma City attorney who specializes in immigration law and corporate law.

The intent of the law is to discourage citizens of foreign countries from migrating to the U.S. to find a job, said Schwartz.

Until the law was enacted, deportation was the government's only course of action against an immigrant who had not been authorized to work in the United States. Also, employers had not faced penalties for hiring unauthorized aliens.

Under the new law, Schwartz explained, employers who will be barred from hiring those individuals might have a hard time filling their open positions.

Some business segments, he noted, hire aliens in positions U.S. citizens will not take because they can make more income from the federal social service programs than working for wages offered to them.

Without being able to hire aliens, employers may have to increase their hourly rates on some shifts, specifically the graveyard shift, to fill the positions with a permanent resident or U.S. citizen.

In turn, the employer might have to raise prices for products or services to the consumer in order to pay the higher wages, Schwartz said.

Sanctions will not apply to employers who hired unauthorized aliens prior to enactment of the law, but those aliens will still be subject to deportation, Schwartz said.

Verification of all workers' identity, citizenship or naturalization will be required of all employers under the law.

"The employer will have to swear under penalty of perjury that the new employee is not an unauthorized alien," Schwartz said.

The employer will be responsible for obtaining proof by examining documents, including a passport, certificate of naturalization or citizenship, foreign passport or alien registration card. If those documents are unavailable, the employer may request a driver's license, social security card or birth certificate. …