Is it Against the Law for an Employer to Hire an Illegal Alien?

Spanish employee

Yes, it is against the law for an employer to hire illegal aliens. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (See footnote 1) an employer is prohibited from “knowingly” employing “unauthorized aliens.” (See footnote 2.) An unauthorized alien means that the person is not either:

  1. lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or
  2. authorized to be employed by the Immigration Reform and Control Act or the Attorney General.

Employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of its employees by examining certain documents.

An employer must show good faith (See footnote 3), compliance with the I-9 requirement (See footnote 4), and any other documents that an employee presents to prove employment eligibility. (See footnote 5.) An employer may accept documents that reasonably appear to be genuine. (See footnote 6.) Employees who cannot present reasonably genuine documents must be terminated. (See footnote 7.) When an employee’s evidence of authorization has expired new documents must be presented to reverify eligibility. (See footnote 8.) Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement inspectors are entitled to see an employer’s I-9 forms without a subpoena or warrant. (See footnote 9.)

[1] 8 U.S.C.A. § 132a.

[2] 8 U.S.C.A. § 132a(a)(1)(A) (making it unlawful for a person or other entity to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment).

[3] 8 C.F.R. § 274a.4.

[4] 8 C.F.R. § 274a.2(a)(2).

[5] 8 C.F.R. § 274a.2(a)(3)(b)(A).

[6] 8 C.F.R. § 274a.1(l)(2).

[7] Id.

[8] 8 C.F.R. § 274a.2(b)(vii).

[9] 8 U.S.C.A. § 1324a(b)(3).

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