On April 20, 2006, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a nationwide enforcement program directed at worksite enforcement of the employer sanctions laws, which prohibit employment of unauthorized foreign workers. This announcement comes against the backdrop of raids conducted on April 19, 2006, against IFCO Systems, Inc., a German-owned palleting firm, at locations in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Indiana, Arizona, Virginia and Massachusetts.
The raids were carried out pursuant to criminal enforcement measures accusing the company and its executives of criminal conspiracy with the objective of harboring and transporting undocumented workers. Government officials reported that the case against IFCO began when DHS learned of the company’s failure to resolve ongoing notices from the Social Security Administration of large numbers of non-matching social security account numbers in their quarterly payroll tax reports. Many employers have received such reports in recent years.
The new "get tough" policy comes in the midst of congressional debate over immigration reform and whether the U.S. should grant legal status to approximately 11 million undocumented foreign nationals currently living here. It sends a message to the public that the Administration intends to fully enforce the immigration laws in the workplace.