The Department of Justice, Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) recently assessed an I-9 related penalty of over $228,000 to M&D Masonry, a Georgia construction contractor, based on an audit conducted in May 2010. While the fine is one of the higher amounts we’ve seen from OCAHO during the past few years, it actually represents a considerable improvement over the assessment by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) of over $332,000.
Newspaper Article followed by NOI
The beginning of the case is quite interesting. The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an article, “Illegal Hiring for Airport Construction,” wherein a M&D foreman was quoted as saying M&D was employing undocumented workers. After ICE read the article, it served a Notice of Inspection (NOI) on M&D seeking the I-9 forms
The 2014 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) spring conference, “Government Agency Update,” presented many interesting revelations and discussions involving relevant agencies such as the Department of Labor, U.S.C.I.S., Customs and Border Protection, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of State. Some of the more interesting points to this writer are below:
1. The F-2A category for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of permanent residence will retrogress. According to the Department of State, there is a lot of demand here. The comments at the
Jessica M. Vaughan is the Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. She would like to thank Zack Nunez for research assistance.
A review of internal ICE metrics for 2013 reveals that hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens who were identified in the interior of the country were released instead of removed under the administration's sweeping "prosecutorial discretion" guidelines. In 2013, ICE reported 722,000 encounters with potentially deportable aliens, most of whom came to their attention after incarceration for a local arrest. Yet ICE officials followed through with immigration charges for only 195,000 of these aliens, only about one-fourth. According to ICE personnel, the vast majority of these releases occurred because of current policies that shield most illegal aliens from enforcement, not because the aliens turned out to have legal status or were qualified to stay in the United States.
Many of the aliens ignored by ICE were convicted criminals. In 2013, ICE agents released 68,000 aliens with criminal convictions, or 35 percent of all criminal aliens they reported encountering. The criminal alien releases typically occur without formal notice to local law enforcement agencies and victims.
These findings raise further alarm over the Obama administration's pending review of deportation practices, which reportedly may further expand the administration's abuse of "prosecutorial discretion". Interior enforcement activity has already declined 40 percent since the imposition of "prosecutorial discretion" policies in 2011.1 Rather than accelerating this decline, there is an urgent need to review and reverse the public safety and fiscal harm cause by the president's policies.
In 2013, ICE charged only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE's attention after incarceration for a local arrest.
ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration's prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.
ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.
Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity, with the largest decline in the Atlanta field office, which covers Georgia and the Carolinas.
ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.
Under current policies, an alien's family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.
Less than 2 percent of ICE's caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013.
About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute. This suggests the need for more detention capacity, so ICE can avoid releasing so many deportable criminal aliens.
Unless otherwise noted, the data for this report are from the 2013 fiscal year-end edition of ICE's "Weekly Departures and Detention Report" (WRD), which is prepared by the Information Resource Management Unit of ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).2 This report compiles a variety of ICE caseload statistics, including encounters, arrests, detention, and removal of aliens. The tables in this report use data taken directly from the WRD.
ICE Agents Catch and Release Aliens on a Massive Scale
Table 1 summarizes key metrics on ICE's caseload. Notably, only a fraction of the cases on ICE's docket are actually deported in any given year. The departures figure, about 387,000, includes all forms of deportation, including formal removal and voluntary return,3 and counts all cases that land in ICE custody for some reason, regardless of which agency made the arrest. In 2013, about two-thirds of the departures reported by ICE were the result of a Border Patrol arrest.4
The Obama administration and anti-enforcement activist groups have tried to portray the number of departures as "record-breaking" and indicative
The 4th Annual “Invest in America Summit and Exhibition” was held in Shanghai, China on March 22-23, 2014 with record-breaking attendance. This event showcased U.S. EB-5 investment opportunities and offered information sessions for prospective Chinese investors, Chinese Immigration Agents, and business executives. Over 60 exhibition booths and 24 breakout sessions were provided by a variety of stakeholders and providers, such as: U.S. EB-5 regional centers, project developers, real estate brokerage firms, franchises, private equity companies, venture capitalists, financial services, attorneys, CPAs, international trade agencies, government officials, and colleges. The large number of providers and investment projects that were available under one roof created an invaluable “one-stop shopping” experience for Summit attendees.
In order to effectively reach the Chinese market, many U.S. developers rely on professional marketing teams. like EB-5 Supermarket, a leading Chinese EB-5 online media and marketing consulting firm based in the Chicago area, has the know-how to position the strengths of EB-5 projects, as well as provide high-quality service with their team of dual-language, dual-culture marketing professionals. With their help, U.S. developers properly communicate the strength of their project and appropriately target
The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law is today is sending a letter to President Obama in response to his request to the Department of Homeland Security on how to slow deportations. We do not believe asking for "Deferred Action Status" is enough. Our letter explains how aside from granting Deferred Action Status (temporary status) to the largest possible group of immigrants, the President could also, with no change in federal laws, grant lawful permanent resident status possibly to as many as two million immigrants -- without requiring any action by Congress. The letter to Obama may be downloaded here and is also attached (if listserv allows attachments).
We urge all advocates to review the Center's letter and to send similar letters to the President, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Attorney General, with copies to all other principle aides and lawyers listed below. A complete list of names and addresses of officials who should receive letters from the community, unions, faith-based groups, city and county councils, CEOs, etc. is at the end of this email. With "comprehensive" immigration reform in Congress going nowhere, its imperative that as many concerned groups and individuals as possible send letters at this critical time urging that the types of changes suggested in our letter be adopted now.
As you know, in response to political pressure by immigrant advocates, President Obama recently ordered the Department of Homeland Security to come up with recommendations on how to slow deportations of immigrants with special equities through an expansion of the Deferred Action Status program, the same status the administration recently extended to several hundred thousand DACA immigrants who were brought here by their parents as children and attended school here.
In the Center's letter, we make clear that the administration has the authority to grant Deferred Action Status to as many as two million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. with approved visa petitions. The letter points out that these immigrants are already "in the system" as they are named in employment or family-based visa petitions that have been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The government therefore already knows their names, addresses, social security numbers, criminal histories, and other personal data. These immigrants very rarely self-deport and are highly unlikely to ever be apprehended or deported.
Despite the fact that approximately two million of these immigrants have approved visa petitions, they are unable to become lawful permanent residents because they entered the U.S. long ago without inspection and therefore cannot adjust their status here but must travel to a U.S. consulate abroad to seek lawful permanent resident status. However, very few do so because in 1996 Congress enacted a so-called 10-year bar which states that an immigrant required to leave the country to process his or her permanent resident visa abroad who has lived in the U.S. for more than one year in unauthorized status must remain outside the U.S. for 10 years before becoming eligible for permanent resident status. While some immigrants are eligible for waivers of the 10-year bar, these are not often granted as the immigrant must prove that denying the waiver would cause extreme hardship to a US citizen petitioner, something most immigrants cannot prove. The result, we argue, is that the vast majority of these immigrants with approved visa petitions, as many as two million, simply continue to live in the U.S. in undocumented status.
Our letter urges President Obama to grant this population Deferred Action Status (DAS), which then allows them to apply for "advance parole" (routinely granted to people on DAS) with which they can briefly travel to their home countries to visit relatives and then reenter the country lawfully on "parole" status. Once they reenter the US lawfully on parole status, they become eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. without having to leave to have their status adjusted by a US consulate abroad. The 10-year bar does not apply to immigrants who can adjust their status in the United States, only to those who must go abroad for processing at a US consulate.
We argue that "following this administrative approach, President Obama could legally and without the involvement of Congress promptly extend lawful permanent resident status to about two million currently undocumented immigrants who mostly are long term residents of the U.S. and have unique skills that allowed them to obtain employment-related approved visa petitions or immediate family members here that allowed them to obtain family-based approved visa petitions."
In addition, current regulations require that thousands of immigrants with outstanding deportation orders who have become eligible to adjust their status must "reopen" their deportation cases to have an Immigration Judge adjudicate their adjustment applications but the vast majority cannot reopen their cases because of strict time limits to do so. Amending this regulation to allow USCIS handle these applications would permit thousands of immigrants to now be granted lawful permanent resident status.
The letter charges that administrative policies over the past six years have "caused the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immediate relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents, resulted in tens of thousands of criminal convictions of persons for no more than entry without inspection (making it difficult to impossible for these migrants to ever legalize their status in the future), resulted in hundreds of thousands of migrants being fired from stable jobs (through “worksite enforcement” that largely misses sweatshops) forcing them to turn to sweatshops and unscrupulous employers to find work (less than 1% leave the US), discouraged thousands of immigrants from reporting serious crimes for fear of exposure to deportation, [and] incarcerated more immigrants than ever before at enormous cost to the public and for no sound public safety reasons ..." We argue that by now "it should be clear that these policies have done nothing to advance the goal of comprehensive immigration reform."
The letter recommends that the largest number of immigrants possible be granted Deferred Action Status even if they are not eligible for adjustment of status under existing law. We also identify about six sub-groups of immigrants with long-term residence and unique equities who should obviously qualify for DAS, including for example, the parents of US citizen children who are unable to petition for lawful permanent resident status until their children turn 21 years of age, unaccompanied abused and abandoned children, the parents of children and youth already granted Deferred Action Status by the administration, etc.. We point out that "granting immigrants Deferred Action Status and temporary employment authorization would immediately benefit US workers by removing the incentive of unscrupulous employers to hire undocumented migrants over equally or better qualified US citizens."
Regarding immigrants with closed deportation cases who are now eligible one way or the other for permanent resident status but cannot get their deportation cases reopened because of time limits on doing so, we point out that Obama could easily amend the regulations to allow the USCIS (instead of Immigration Judges) process these applications for LPR status and this would legalize thousands more people.
We explain why Operation Streamline is a reactionary program that has turned tens of thousands of immigrants into "criminals" merely based upon unauthorized entry, blocking them from legalizing their status in the future, and provide proposals that would reduce border violence and deaths, and reduce ICE involvement with local police which clearly discourages immigrants from reporting crimes.
We hope this letter helps spark a debate that goes beyond Deferred Action Status to include ways to get people lawful permanent resident status now without needing any involvement by the Congress. We have a range of separate ideas on what Congress could be doing that we'll circulated separately fairly soon. For the next few weeks we urge groups to focus on what President Obama and his team could accomplish if they have the political will to do so.
As mentioned above, the officials to write to are listed below with addresses. It is critically important that groups and individuals concerned with the abysmal failure of current immigration policy PROMPTLY communicate their views to the President that NOW is the time for the Administration to show leadership and put its political capital where its mouth has been on immigration reform. Letters can be short or long. But now is the time to act while the Administration has these issues under serious consideration and before they make decisions.
More Immigrants are being “Removed” from the United States than Ever Before
Despite some highly public claims to the contrary, there has been no waning of immigration enforcement in the United States. In fact, the U.S. deportation machine has grown larger in recent years, indiscriminately consuming criminals and non-criminals alike, be they unauthorized immigrants or long-time legal permanent residents (LPRs). Deportations under the Obama administration alone are now approaching the two-million mark. But the deportation frenzy began long before this milestone. The federal government has, for nearly two decades, been pursuing an enforcement-first approach to immigration control that favors mandatory detention and deportation over the traditional discretion of a judge to consider the unique circumstances of every case. The end result has been a relentless campaign of imprisonment and expulsion aimed at noncitizens—a campaign authorized by Congress and implemented by the executive branch. While this campaign precedes the Obama administration by many years, it has grown immensely during his tenure in the White House. In part, this is the result of laws which have put the expansion of deportations on automatic. But the continued growth of deportations also reflects the policy choices of the Obama administration. Rather than putting the brakes on this non-stop drive to deport more and more people, the administration chose to add fuel to the fire.
IRCA and the New Era of Deportations
The U.S. system of deportation (and immigration detention) has been growing for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations and congresses.The impetus for this growth was a small section of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) known as the MacKay amendment, which encouraged the initiation of deportation proceedings against any immigrant convicted of a deportable offense.Since that time, a stream of punitive legislation has eaten away at the traditional discretion of judges to grant relief from deportation in particular cases.The end result is that the number of “removals” (deportations) has trended upward since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, the number of apprehensions has fluctuated widely, primarily in response to changing economic conditions in the United States and Mexico, and nose-dived when the recession of late 2007 hit. The number of “voluntary returns” has tracked apprehensions closely. However, since 2005, voluntary return has been made available to fewer and fewer apprehended immigrants as deportation (with criminal consequences for re-entry into the country) becomes the preferred option of U.S. immigration authorities (Figure 1).
Most unauthorized immigrants (and deportees) have long been men. However, faced with intensified immigration enforcement, men who in the past might have returned to their home countries after a few years of work
Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals have rolled the dice on April 1 and submitted their applications for the limited pool of H-1B visas available each fiscal year. With only 65,000 visas available for new hires - and 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university - in recent years demand has far outstripped the supply and the cap has been quickly reached. Understanding the H-1B process is important to understanding the vital economic role that higher-skilled immigration plays in growing our economy and creating new opportunities for native and foreign-born workers alike. H-1B workers do not harm native-born workers’ job opportunities, are not poorly compensated, and are not “cheap foreign labor.” In fact, their presence often leads to higher wages and more job opportunities. Highly skilled immigrants complement their native-born peers; they do not substitute for them. This is true throughout high-skilled occupations, but is particularly true in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Arguments that foreign-born workers and immigrants are depressing wages or displacing native-born workers are contradicted by the available evidence. The following guide answers the questions most often asked and debunks the most prevalent myths about the H-1B program.
What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is a temporary non-immigrant employment visa for highly educated foreign professionals in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. The visa is for three years with the option to renew for an additional three years for a total of six years. H-1B visa holders may be sponsored for permanent visas by their employers.
As part of the application process, the employer must attest, on a labor condition application (LCA) certified by the Department of Labor, that employment of the H-1B worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The LCA must be posted at the worksite for ten days.
The H-1B visa is currently capped at 65,000 per year, with 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university (Figure 1). In recent years, the limit has been reached days after the visas are made available.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
What is the annual H-1B visa “lottery”?
Because the annual cap for H-1B visas is inadequate compared with the demand for high-skilled workers, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally receives a greater number of petitions than there are visas available, causing the cap to be met quickly in recent years. USCIS then uses a random selection process to choose from the pool of applications received.
When USCIS begins accepting H-1B petitions on April 1 each year, they typically end up receiving a greater number of applications than the cap allows. USCIS then stops accepting applications and puts the petitions it has already received into a lottery to randomly determine which will be selected to receive the remaining cap numbers.
A computer-generated random selection process is used to select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit.
In 5 of the last 9 years the H-1B visa cap has been reached in less than 90 days (Table 1).
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 was filled on April 5, 2013, only a few days after the first day that filing was permitted. At that time, USCIS had received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.
For the 124,000 petitions USCIS received in April 2013 for FY 2014, it “conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for
There are three potential “hot spots” for audits and investigations by the government, related to the immigration and nationality laws. Even a rudimentary understanding of the complex documentary requirements for each of these programs can help an employer to avoid potential liability.
The first hot spot has to do with the documentation that the employer is required to maintain in connection with the H-1B nonimmigrant professional and specialty and occupation worker visa. The second area of potential audit concerns the employer’s obligations under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) [Pub. L. No. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359] (known to HR Professionals as the “I-9 Process”). The third and most recent area of audit surrounds the new Labor Certification Application Program called “Permanent Electronic Review Management” (PERM). Each of the foregoing government programs anticipates compliance
NOW THAT THE CAP IS REACHED . . . DO I STILL HAVE A CHANCE OF GETTING AN H-1B VISA?
On Monday, April 7, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap, both regular and master’s, for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Because of the surge of petitions that were filed, USCIS conducted a lottery (technically referred as “random selection process”) on April 10, 2014, to determine which petitions received in the five-day submission period, the minimum time USCIS can accept petitions, will actually be considered. USCIS will soon start sending receipt notices for the petitions selected in the random selection process.
As expected, it is a very stressful time for thousands of potential H-1B workers. Until the prospective H-1B employers or their legal representatives start receiving receipt notices, and the dark clouds of uncertainty over prospective H-1B visa holders move past, the question worth asking and exploring is: “Do I still have a chance of getting an H-1B visa even if my H-1B petition does not make it to the H-1B cap?”
Unfortunately, the regular (bachelor’s) H-1B cap remains at 58,200[i] and the master’s cap cannot accommodate more than 20,000 specialty occupation workers. However, there are certain categories of cap-exempt H-1B visas. One such category is for beneficiaries of employment offers at: (1) institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities; or (2) nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations.[ii] Thus, to get a cap-exempt H-1B visa using this category the fundamental question to ask is: whether the offer of employment is from an institution of higher education, or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, or from nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization.
For the purposes of H-1B cap exemption, the H-1B regulations have adopted the definition of institution of higher education set forth in section 101(a)
The USCIS announced today, April 9, 2014, that it had received 172,500 H-1B visa petitions for the 65,000 H-1B regular cap and the 20,000 additional cap for graduates with advanced degrees from US universities. This is much more than the 124,000 H-1B visa petitions the USCIS received in 2014. The H-1B cap makes no sense, and here are 10 good reasons why we should all really be more upset about it this year for the simple reason is that we face the cap each year, and nothing ever changes. Enough is enough!
The first reason to be mad about the H-1B cap is that it forces employers to scramble way before the start of the 2015 fiscal year, which is October 1, to file for H-1B visas, only to get rejected by a randomized lottery. This is no way to treat US employers who pay thousands of dollars in legal and filing fees, along with all the steps they need to take in being in compliance. The whole concept of a nonsensical quota reminds us of Soviet era central planning, and then to inject a casino style of lottery into the process, just rubs salt into an oozing old wound.
Second, one can only feel for all the foreign national prospective employees, who all need to qualify to work in a specialty occupation, as defined under the H-1B visa
Today, the vast majority of potential clients will check out a lawyer's website before retaining the law firm. To turn this traffic into new files, smart lawyers are switching to the Eureka Method, which focuses on increasing “conversions” instead of generating more leads.
There are several methods to increase conversions, and they revolve around engaging visitors. I call this the Eureka Method, derived from the ancient Greek word for discovery. It is easy to use and consists of giving consumers the emotional hooks, specific information and convenience they are looking for.
A “conversion” is getting a visitor to take an action that you want them to take on your website. This can include completing an online form, chatting with a virtual representative, subscribing to a newsletter, requesting information -- and ultimately calling your office.
Tenets of the Eureka Method
Convenience. Did you know that half of our potential clients are not using a computer to see your website? A new analysis by LawLytics of 733,346 visits to a random selection of law firm websites discovered that 45% of traffic came from mobile devices. Furthermore, the majority of social media time is spent not on desktop computers, but on smartphones and tablets.
This is why a key tenet of the Eureka Method is that your law firm website must be easily viewed regardless of what device is used. It is especially important that a lawyer's website be easily readable on the three-inch screen of a smart phone. “Whether through a dedicated mobile site or responsive design, having a strong mobile presence is critical for law firms,” writes Brian Tedder of LawLytics. “That's 329,308 visits that would have gone elsewhere had these attorneys not offered such user-friendly designs.”
Israel uses a 15-foot-tall steel mesh barbed wire fence with sensors and cameras and incarcerates aliens who are caught entering Israel without inspection.
For approximately 30 years, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ruled the vast Sinai desert adjacent to Israel, and he respected the peace treaty that Israel and Egypt had signed in 1979.[i] In 2011, he was unseated in a coup.[ii] Without Mubarak’s control, the Sinai desert became a lawless expanse of land. This meant that Israel would have to protect itself against the threat of jihadist terror emanating from the Sinai desert in addition to dealing with immigrants crossing the desert to make an illegal entry into Israel. Israel built a 15-foot-tall steel mesh fence across the 165-mile border between Israel and Egypt. They armed the fence with sensors and cameras and topped it with barbed wire. According to estimates released in July of 2013 by the Israeli government, only 34 people were caught entering Israel illegally along that border in the first half of 2013, compared to nearly 10,000 people in the first six months of 2012. This was a decrease of more than 99 percent.[iii] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented with respect to this section of Israel’s border that, “The fence has completely stopped illegal migration to Israel.”[iv]
Other countries, including the United States, have recognized the effectiveness of Israel’s border security methods. U.S. Customs and Border Protection[v] recently contracted with the Israeli company Elbit Systems[vi] for the installation of fifty fixed towers equipped with cameras, radar, and sensors on the border between Arizona and Mexico.[vii] Elbit System’s work in Israel includes the border fence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which has resulted in a dramatic drop in terrorist acts against Israel. The company also provided multi-sensor surveillance systems on the border with Egypt.[viii]
The fence is only one of the deterrents that the Israeli government uses to discourage migrants from making illegal entries. In December of 2013, the Knesset (the legislative branch of the Israeli government) passed an amendment to the Law to Prevent Infiltration. The amendment permits detention without trial for up to a year for asylum-seekers who enter Israel illegally. This only applies to migrants who enter the country after the effective date of the amendment. Migrants who entered illegally before the effective date, however, can be placed in an open detention center run by the Israel Prison Service. These detainees will be banned from working in Israel, except for work they do at the facility. The Israeli government will provide them with an allowance, room and board, and health care.[ix] In the absence of this amendment, the Law to Prevent Infiltration would not have provisions that deal specifically with asylum seekers.[x]
Aliens who enter the United States without inspection are subject to criminal charges too. An alien who has made only one entry without inspection is subject to imprisonment for not more than six months; subsequent offenses are subject to imprisonment for up to two years.[xi] Aliens who face such criminal charges are entitled to a trial in Federal District Court, but the ones who have made more than one entry first have to decide whether to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, which can be part of a plea agreement to avoid a lengthy prison sentence, or to have a full trial on a felony charge and risk a large fine and/or a sentence of up to two years in prison. Describing the speed with which such cases are handled in his court, Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco said that one afternoon he conducted trials for 70 aliens who had been caught entering the United States without inspection. The defendants had roughly 25 seconds to hear their charges, enter a plea, and receive a sentence if they plead guilty.[xii]
South Africa uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),soldiers, and razor fences to protect its borders; and it subjects employers who are convicted of knowingly hiring undocumented foreigners to imprisonment for up to three years.
South Africa has a 3,022.4-mile land border that it shares with six other countries --Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. It also has a maritime border that is 2,236.9 miles long and approximately 1,200 airfields, airstrips, and airports. During its apartheid era, South African guarded its land border with electric razor fences that were patrolled by the South African National Defense Force[xiii] (SANDF) and auxiliary civilian commando units. In the post-apartheid era, South African President Thabo Mbeki’s ordered the South African Police Service (SAPS) to take over the border patrolling functions of SANDF. SAPS, however, was not able to keep the border secure, so the SANDF patrols were resumed. The government plans to have fifteen SANDF companies deployed along the country’s land, maritime, and air borders by 2015. Apartheid-era razor fences are being used again too.[xiv]
The South Africa government also has tried to eliminate the “job magnet” that draws undocumented foreigners to South Africa. Employers are prohibited from hiring foreigners who do not have work authorization. They are expected to check the status or citizenship of their employees to make sure that they do not employ undocumented foreigners. If a foreigner without work authorization is found on any business premises, the law presumes that he is employed by the business and the operator of the business has the burden of proving otherwise. If an employment relationship with an undocumented foreigner is proven by means other than the legal presumption, there is a presumption that the employer knew the foreigner’s status unless he can prove that he employed the person in good faith and made a good faith effort to ascertain the employee’s legal status. Employers who knowingly hire an undocumented immigrant have committed an offense, and, if convicted, are subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to one year. A second conviction is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to two years. A third conviction is subject to imprisonment for up to three years without the option of a fine.[xv]
South Africa has experienced an increase in illegal entry of political asylum seekers and economic refugees. The country also has to contend with the illegal entry of drug smugglers, human traffickers, rhino poachers, and dealers in unlawful firearms – among other cross border criminals. South Africa is a major hub for drug trafficking in southern Africa and for drugs that are shipped to other countries. The government has responded by increasing the number of soldiers at the border. Skeptics worry that the deployment of additional troops may not work. Such security forces tend to be prone to corruption. If soldiers take bribes to let people or contraband through, the additional troop deployments will not help. South Africa also has experienced a problem with fraudulent documents. The government has increased the security of South African passports by using tamper-proof high-tech security features, and it has enacted tough laws to discourage criminal organizations from trading in fraudulent documents.[xvi]
South Africa began using UAVs in the mid-1980s. According to South African arms manufacturer Denel Dynamics,[xvii]