Immigration Customs Enforcement Seminar in Pasco - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Immigration Customs Enforcement Seminar in Pasco

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PASCO, Wash.-- The Department of Homeland Security is cracking down on employers who could be hiring illegal immigrants.

A concern that hits close to home.

"They have a lot of seasonal workers in the Ag industry, so they're going to see a lot more people needing that documentation for moving purposes," said Candice Bluechel, with WorkSource Columbia Basin in Kennewick.

WorkSource Columbia Basin is one of four agencies putting together a seminar this week to make sure employers in Tri-Cities stay alert.

"They'll come away with some booklets, phone numbers, web sites, to make sure they're doing the right thing," said Bluechel.

One of these web sites is E-Verify. A way for employers to check valid social security numbers online. Most of the companies on the RSVP list are in the agriculture field, but no employer is safe.

"There have been some cases where they've taken heads of construction companies away in hand cuffs and off to jail for hiring illegal immigrants knowingly," said Brenda Smith, a Human Resource expert leading the seminar.

Brenda Smith is leading the seminar. She says employers should always double check documents including passports, visas, and social security cards. But she says checking records for people who already work in your company is also important.

"Encourage them to conduct an audit of their existing employee files, because that's where a lot of people just don't realize that they've missed signatures, they don't have copies of the documentation," said Smith.

Any employer hiring illegal immigrants can face human smuggling charges, and thousands of dollars in fines. But a simple mistake on an I-9 form can also cost you.

"The average amount of fine could be over $50,000," said Smith.

To learn how to register for this seminar head to the On-Air Links Section of our web site.