President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly promised to crack down on immigration on the campaign trail, and now that he's mere months away from taking up residence in the White House, business owners are worried that crackdown could extend to them.
When Trump evoked imagery of illegal aliens hopping the border in search of American jobs, his immigration promises were more often associated with the immigrants themselves. But now that the real estate magnate is readying himself to take political office for the first time as president, employers are concerned about how the expected immigration crackdown will affect them, according to the Washington Examiner. The incoming president has stated he will "turn off the jobs magnet" to keep people from crossing over the border illegally.
Possible Trump immigration policies would affect businesses
Though the president-elect has indicated some flexibility on his most popular campaign promises, signs point toward a more restrictive approach to immigration during the Trump administration, Bloomberg explained. His website still states that he plans to undo President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration. The presidential transition website also references his campaign promises to erect a wall along the country's southern border, alter immigration policies and suspend new visas. A nationwide E-Verify mandate is also frequently floated as a possible Trump immigration policy.
"Trump has stated he will 'turn off the jobs magnet'"
The president-elect's intention to suspend new work visas and the idea that he may expand E-Verify requirements are primarily the two immigration issues that could affect employers. New visa policies could hurt the tech industry, in particular, Wired noted. The H-1B program is being targeted by the administration as a barrier to Americans getting American jobs.
"It's unfair for our workers, and we should end it," Trump said, according to the news outlet.
The president-elect's nominee for the attorney general job, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, is opposed to the H-1B visas used to give foreign-born skilled workers opportunities to work in the U.S. Each year 85,000 people use these documents to authorize their own employment in the U.S., often at tech companies. Similarly, under Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy, 700,000 individuals who came to the U.S. as children were granted work permits. Under Trump DACA's fate is uncertain. Thousands of workers who've been present in the job market for years could quickly drop out if Trump's immigration policy resembles his immigration promises.
Eliminating the 'jobs magnet'
The Washington Examiner noted that for Trump to remove the "jobs magnet" his administration would have to significantly expand E-Verify, as well as punishments for E-Verify and Form I-9 infractions.
"It would be appropriate to increase the civil fines dramatically and/or lower the bar for criminal prosecution as part of a mandatory E-Verify bill," Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Examiner. "Charges would be much easier to prove because the crime would be failure to verify a new hire, not the harder-to-prove offense currently of 'knowingly' hiring an illegal alien."
What Kriokorian failed to mention, though, is that improper verification of new hires, or failure to do so at all through either E-Verify or the Form I-9, is already punishable with large penalties. To avoid these fines, especially if Trump's immigration crackdown includes employers, it is important to educate staff on proper hiring policies. This can include appropriate Form I-9 completion, avoiding document abuse and how to open and close an E-Verify case.
With the right preparation and an electronic I-9 solution, you won't have to worry about the strict immigration policies possibly on the horizon.