While it looks like the chances of comprehensive immigration reform any time soon is just about zero, staffing firms and buyers need to be aware of the risks they are running by looking the other way regarding hiring illegal immigrants.
Witness the recent high profile federal government raid on a Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. factory in Oregon. According to the Oregonian, the feds claim that 9 out of 10 employees on the site hired by American Staffing Resources used social security numbers that were fictitious or belonged to other people. And that is only the latest in a string of immigration raids targeting staffing firms. See our research briefing on the topic.
While the American Staffing Resources case seems particularly egregious (employees of the company are accused of providing false social security numbers to applicants), for those staffing firms who think they can fly under the radar on this issue, it appears that the risk of being caught has just gone up. And for companies using their staffing suppliers to shield themselves from shoddy employment practices, it's worth noting that among those arrested in the Fresh Del Monte raid were both staffing company employees and a manager from Fresh Del Monte.
With staffing firms and their clients squarely in the immigration spotlight, it could be a long hot summer for those walking the edge of existing immigration laws. Stay tuned for more raids and more staffing firms making news that reinforces all the worst stigmas associated with contingent work.