With Congress set to approve sweeping immigration reform, employers are already taking actions to combat the growth
of illegal aliens in the United States. A major deterrent of illegal immigration is ensuring individuals who enter the United
States illegally or who overstay their lawful status will not be able to obtain employment. Part of the proposed legislation
includes enforcing sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants and requiring employers to verify the immigration
status of new employees. Employers are increasingly turning to background investigations to rule out illegal aliens from
their prospective workforce.
One of the primary reasons employers conduct background investigations is to ensure that criminals are not allowed to
work in positions where they could cause injury to clients, employees or the business. Improper entry into the United
States by an alien is a federal crime. Many times this improper entry is facilitated by the use of fraudulent documents.
Rose Miller, Managing Director of DR Human Resources, LLC, part of The DR Group, advises her clients to perform
background checks on all their hires. Rose states, “Employers know that they must acquire Form I-9 documentation
during the hiring process. They generally maintain copies of the new employee’s social security card and driver license
in a separate file, which is compliant with I-9 documentation requirements. However, there is no way for the employer to
know if these documents have been stolen or acquired illegally. One of the easiest ways of uncovering this kind of fraud
is to perform a background check as a part of the hiring process.”
President Bush, in his address to the nation concerning immigration on May 15, 2006, called for employer accountability
and proposed the use of a biometric tamper-proof ID card for legal foreign workers: “Comprehensive immigration reform
must include a tamper-resistant identification card for every legal foreign worker so businesses can verify the legal
status of their employees. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-
proof. This would leave employers with no excuse for violating the law, and it would help us enforce the law.”
Commercial Investigations LLC is a licensed private investigative agency and national background screening company
located in the Capital Region. Rose Miller utilizes Commercial Investigations services for all executive and employee
searches performed for both clients and The DR Group. Rose comments, “Commercial Investigations has helped me
provide the best recruiting services for my clients. We have uncovered a multitude of problems by use of the
background checks. We have uncovered non-existent education degrees, revoked licenses for candidates who will
drive a company vehicle and fraudulent social security numbers.”
Commercial Investigations LLC uncovered a fraudulent documentation ring through the routine pre-employment
background investigations process, which includes a Social Security Number inquiry validating the number and listing
the names and addresses associated with the number. When the job applicant was confronted with the results of his
background investigations, he eventually admitted that he was an illegal alien. Commercial Investigations uncovered
the fraudulent documentation ring in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia area. Since the year 2000 over 20
individuals obtained fraudulent Social Security cards through the ring. All 20 cards contained the same Social Security
Number. The Social Security Number used was a valid number issued by the Social Security Administration.
The growing public concern over illegal immigration has led federal law enforcement officials to tighten enforcement of
immigration laws by imposing criminal charges against those who employ illegal aliens. Employers are realizing that what
once resulted in a slap on the wrist can now lead to criminal convictions. When Immigration and Customs Enforcement
officials evaluate suspected illegal immigration activity they rely on employee background investigations. Employers can
eliminate such an evaluation by implementing their own background investigations policy which will alleviate any illegal
immigrations signals from being sent to government officials.
In addition to the use of pre-employment background investigations, employers are reviewing their current workforce.
Commercial Investigations LLC assists employers with the review of their workforce, including a review of their
employment processes and documentation. Documentation verification systems are important to control and eliminate
the abuse of the Social Security system and its documents. Currently there is no requirement for verification of the
Commercial Investigations LLC urges all employers to implement background investigations, review their hiring process
and ensure proper documentation. Employers are one of the most reasonable resources available to combat the
growing illegal alien problem in the United States. Employers are limited by discrimination laws as to what questions they
can ask a prospective employee. However, proper background investigations are a cost-effective and viable, legal way
to learn more about your prospective employees and avoid facing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
DATE: July 2006 - Vetting Illegal Aliens