Immigration Reform:

Status of Employer Sanctions After Second Year and Plans for Third Year

T-GGD-89-24: Published: May 17, 1989. Publicly Released: May 17, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Immigration Reform and Control Act's employer sanctions provisions, intended to discourage employment of unauthorized aliens. GAO noted that: (1) the act required employers to complete employment eligibility verification forms for new employees, authorized the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to inspect the forms, and prohibited employers from discriminating on the basis of national origin or citizenship status; (2) INS encouraged voluntary compliance through employer education and enforced compliance through random inspections, warnings, and fines; (3) INS did not systematically review its information on aliens' use of fraudulent documents; (4) the INS practice of measuring employers' voluntary compliance at the conclusion of inspections gave them ample opportunity to comply but was not a valid measure of voluntary compliance; (5) INS did not always know whether employers completed verification forms for all new employees, since it did not always determine how many persons each employer had hired since the implementation date; (6) although various agencies received almost 700 various employment discrimination complaints related to the act, there was no evidence that employer sanctions caused a pattern of discrimination against authorized workers; and (7) there was not enough information to determine whether the employer sanctions provision caused an unnecessary regulatory burden on employers.

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