Employers will be prohibited from hiring unauthorized aliens
beginning in 1987, under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of
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
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
In turn, the employer might have to raise prices for products or
services to the consumer in order to pay the higher wages, Schwartz
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