Immigration and Customs Enforcement has published a five-year strategic plan for FY 2010 through 2014. The document lays out the agency’s priorities on several Department of Homeland Security missions, including preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing U.S. borders, and enforcing and administering immigration laws. ICE 5 Year Strategic Plan
ICE’s mission over the next four years to prevent terrorism and enhance security will involve increased efforts overseas to prevent the entry of people and materials that pose a threat to national security. ICE will expand its Visa Security Program to additional U.S. embassies and consulates abroad which have been identified as having highest risk from a terrorism perspective. In addition, it will increase efforts to investigate, disrupt and dismantle criminal activities that facilitate terrorist travel to the United States.
Similarly, ICE’s mission to protect the borders also involves enhanced overseas activities. Specifically, the agency will focus its efforts on dismantling organized alien smuggling rings and drug trafficking organizations at their roots. It will also pursue international money laundering and cash smuggling operations as well as transnational weapons and human trafficking.
Removing the Undocumented
Domestic enforcement of the immigration laws will include increased enforcement efforts against newly arriving aliens who seek to enter the United States illegally. It will continue to prioritize the removal of convicted criminal aliens and gang members as well as stepped up efforts to remove those who have final orders of deportation.
Increased Worksite Enforcement
The ICE strategic plan also devotes a significant portion to discussing enhanced worksite enforcement efforts that will be undertaken in the next four years. The agency states that it would like to create a culture of employer compliance and states that this aspect is a critical component of border security because the opportunity to work in the United States motivates many to seek illegal entry.
ICE will be following a two-pronged strategy: one, it will seek aggressive criminal and civil enforcement against employers who knowingly violate the immigration laws and it will continue to implement programs such as E-Verify to help employers comply with the immigration laws. The agency states that “to support a meaningful civil audit program, ICE will hire additional auditors and centralize some auditing functions.”
In addition, ICE states that it will use the “I E-Verify” campaign to increase public support for companies that use compliance tools. The “I E-Verify” campaign is an attempt to brand companies who use the E Verify program as more conscientious and possibly patriotic than those who do not use the program. This campaign has yet to be fully implemented, so its full ramifications and parameters are not yet known.
All employers, whether using E Verify or simply following I-9 compliance rules, should take extreme care in updating their compliance policies and ensuring that they conduct regular self audits of their I-9 forms. The past year has seen a large rise in the number of I-9 audits for all types of employers, large and small. Based upon the strategic plan, it seems that this trend will only continue.