Local Businesses Checked for Illegal Workers

By Eric S. Page
|  Friday, Nov 20, 2009  |  Updated 8:15 PM PDT
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What Agents Found Under the Seats

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Sixty employers in San Diego will soon be inspected by federal officials to see if they are employing illegal immigrants.

The investigation is part of a nationwide inspection of 1,000 businesses. Officials are hoping to keep employers across the country accountable for their hiring practices.

The names and locations of the businesses being audited have not yet been released.
   
The businesses were targeted after leads were developed by investigators and are being inspected because of their connections to public safety and national security. The employers include airports, transportation businesses, contractors on military bases, and agriculture and food businesses, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative.

Illegal immigrants in the workplace has been an issue for years, according to former U.S. Attorney Peter Nunez. Now, though, the Obama administration is shifting the focus to the employer.

"Every single person who has looked at the illegal immigration issue agrees and admits and concurs that the workplace is the way you can deal with this effectively," Nunez said.

If the government determines that employers knowingly hired illegal immigrants, the employers can be fined or prosecuted. Nearly $2.5 million in fines have been issued nationwide so far.

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