U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached its highest number yet of companies audited for illegal immigrants on their payrolls this past fiscal year.
Audits of company I-9 forms increased from 250 in fiscal year 2007 to more than 3,000 in 2012. From fiscal years 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million. The number of company managers arrested has increased to 238.
The probing of employers is one of the pillars of President Barack Obama's immigration policy. He has also said that any plan Congress considers this year to reform the nation's immigration system should continue the audits.
Immigrant advocates say the audits have pushed workers further underground by causing mass layoffs and industry representatives say the audits disrupt business operations.