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U.S. Targets 1,000 More Companies in Pursuit of Illegal Workers

U.S. government authorities are expanding their search for illegal immigrants by examining the records of another 1,000 companies, a federal official said.

No one industry is being targeted by the audits, said Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who declined to name the companies involved. The unnamed employers are in addition to more than 3,580 companies that have been audited since January 2009, resulting in $54 million in fines, Nantel said. ICE says it targets companies based on tips and not by industry.

“The inspections touch on employers of all sizes and in every state in the nation,” she said in an e-mail today.

Under President Barack Obama, ICE has moved away from the Bush administration’s high-profile workplace raids that detained employees. The new effort is geared more to holding companies accountable by auditing employee-immigration status forms, which employers are required to keep on file.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the new audits today.

Those fined last year included waste-removal, food, furniture, agricultural and construction companies and even health spas, according to the agency. ICE said it arrested 187 employers on criminal charges last year compared with 114 employers in 2009.

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