The opportunity for employment is one of the most important magnets attracting illegal aliens to the United States. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 established an employment eligibility verification process and a sanctions program for fining employers for noncompliance. Few modifications have been made to the verification process and sanctions program since 1986, and immigration experts state that a more reliable verification process and a strengthened worksite enforcement capacity are needed to help deter illegal immigration. In this testimony, GAO provides preliminary observations from its ongoing assessment of (1) the current employment verification process and (2) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) priorities and resources for the worksite enforcement program and the challenges it faces in implementing that program.
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