By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

Although Immigration & Customs Enforcement has talked tough on criminal prosecution of certain immigration violations, i.e., knowingly hiring/employing 10 or more undocumented workers, there were only 11 individual criminal prosecutions and 0 companies from April 2018 through March 2019.

On the other hand, in April 2018 through March 2019, there were 85,727 individuals prosecuted for illegal entry, 34,617 prosecuted for illegal re-entry, and 4,733 prosecuted for illegally bringing in or harboring immigrants.

These results are based upon case-by-case information, obtained from the Justice Department under the FOIA and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

Since criminal penalties for employers were first enacted under Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) by Congress in 1986, few employers have ever been prosecuted under these provisions. Prosecutions have rarely climbed above 15 annually and have never exceeded 20 individuals a year except for brief periods during 2005 under President Bush, and in the first year of the Obama Administration.

To find out more about employer immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, available at