Unlawful Employment of Illegal Aliens in New York
Although it is common knowledge that it is unlawful to employ illegal aliens, many individuals are unaware that this is actually a crime punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $3,000 per alien unlawfully employed. Worse, the payment of illegal aliens “off the books” frequently results in additional – and more serious – criminal charges, including the Willful Failure to Collect and Pay Over Taxes, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7202, and Tax Evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201, crimes punishable by up to five years imprisonment. See, e.g., United States v. Quiros, 417 F. App’x 37, 38 (2d Cir. 2011). For this reason, it is critical that one retains a skilled New York Federal crimes attorney as soon as he believes that he may be the target of an investigation into his employment practices.
Specifically, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(A), it is unlawful for any person or corporation to knowingly “hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee” any alien who is unauthorized to work in the United States. Further, pursuant to § 1324a(a)(1)(B), it is unlawful for any person – after hiring an alien – to continue to employ such individual upon learning that he is, or has become, unauthorized to work in the United States. This statute was enacted as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 – a “comprehensive framework for ‘combating the employment of illegal aliens'” which penalizes employers of illegal aliens much more harshly than the aliens themselves, and requires employers to verify the “employment authorization status of prospective employees” prior to hiring them. Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2492, 2504 (2012); United States v. Kim, 193 F.3d 567, 573-74 (2d Cir. 1999). Any person who engages in a “pattern or practice” of violations of either § 1324a(a)(1)(A) or (B) may be punished criminally – and fined by up to $3,000 for each unauthorized alien employed, imprisoned by up to six months, or both. 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(f)(1).
To be sure, 8 U.S.C. § 1324a does not criminalize “isolated, sporadic, or accidental acts” which involve the employment of illegal aliens. 8 C.F.R. § 274a.1(k); see United States v. Calhelha, 56 F. Supp.2d 350, 363 (D. Conn. 2006). Instead, the accused must engage in “regular, repeated, and intentional activities,” which result in a pattern or practice of violations of either § 1324a(a)(1)(A) or (B). However, even if the government fails to establish that the accused has engaged in a pattern of unlawful hiring, he may still be liable for large civil penalties – between $250 and $2,000 for each unauthorized alien for a first time offender; $2,000 to $5,000 for each unauthorized alien for a second time offender; and $3,000 to $10,000 for a defendant previously fined more than once under this statute. 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(e)(4).
Hiring a top criminal employment of illegal aliens defense attorney to defend you in any federal employment related prosecution is crucial and will ensure that every viable defense is explored and utilized on your behalf. Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have successfully handled countless federal cases, exploiting holes in the prosecution’s evidence to achieve the best possible result for our clients. Contact us today at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation.