It is against the law to knowingly employ undocumented foreign workers in the U.S. The consequences includes legal actions brought by U.S. Customs Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) with civil and criminal punishments of large fines and possibly jail.
If you are an employer, it is vital that you understand your rights and duties regarding hiring foreign workers. One simple mistake or oversight can lead to devastating consequences. On this page, our Las Vegas NV immigration attorneys discuss an employer’s rights and duties regarding illegal aliens. Click on a topic below for more information:
- What is “unlawful employment of aliens” in Las Vegas, NV?
- What happens if I am accused of “unlawful employment of aliens” in Las Vegas, NV?
- What are the penalties for “unlawful employment of aliens” in Las Vegas, NV?
It is unlawful for employers to hire, recruit, or refer for a fee unauthorized aliens. “Unauthorized aliens” means foreign workers who at the time of employment are not either:
- lawfully admitted for permanent residence in Nevada; or
- otherwise authorized to be employed, such as through an employment visa in Nevada.
Note that if employers learn of their workers’ undocumented status only after hiring them, it is illegal to continue employing them.
Also note that it is illegal for employers to compel an unauthorized alien to post a bond, to pay or agree to pay an amount, or otherwise to provide a financial guarantee or indemnity against any potential liability the employers may face for hiring him/her.1
When the U.S. Attorney General brings a legal action against an employer for hiring foreign workers, the U.S. Attorney General is mandated to provide due process. “Due process” consists of two steps:
- The employer will receive “notice” that he/she is facing legal action.
- The employer may then request a hearing with an administrative law judge to contest the charges.
Administrative hearings take place at the nearest practicable venue to the location where the employer resides or at the venue where the hiring violation allegedly occurred. Note that if the employer does not request a hearing, the employer will get a final and unappealable order against him/her.
In some situations, an employer may offer the defense that he/she acted in good faith with the hiring, recruiting, or referral for employment of an alien in the U.S. If an employer honestly did not realize or had reason to know that he/she hired an unauthorized alien, then the judge might relieve the employer of liability.2
Employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens in Nevada face both civil and criminal penalties:
ICE will execute a “cease and desist order” mandating that the employer no longer hire, recruit, or refer illegal aliens. Depending on the nature of the employer’s violation in Nevada, the civil fine will range from $250 to $10,000. The employer may also have to pay for any other remedial action that ICE orders.
Depending on the case, employers who hire unauthorized aliens face criminal sentences of:
- up to $3,000 in fines, and/or
- up to 6 months in Federal Prison
Note that employers face separate criminal charges for each illegal alien he/she hires.3
Are you an employer? You may need an attorney…
Are you an employer accused of hiring a non-citizen who is unlawfully in the U.S.? For a consultation, call our Las Vegas immigration lawyers.
18 U.S. Code § 1324a(h)(3) -- Unlawful Employment of Aliens.
28 U.S. Code § 1324a -- Unlawful Employment of Aliens.