Pennsylvania Company to Pay Record Fine for Illegally Hiring Immigrants

Alicia A. Caldwell, Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2017

A Pennsylvania-based tree-trimming company was ordered to pay $95 million in the largest fine against a company for hiring thousands of immigrants who didn’t have permission to work in the U.S., according to federal officials.

Asplundh Tree Expert of Willow Grove, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday to illegally hiring the immigrants. Some of the immigrants were in the U.S. illegally, none had authorization to work in the country, according to court documents.

A federal judge ordered the family-owned company to pay $80 million and adhere to an Administrative Compliance Agreement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The details of the agreement weren’t made public.

In a separate civil settlement, ICE said, the company agreed to pay $15 million related to its violation of immigration law.

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Policy changes, Mr. Asplundh said in the statement, included reviewing the identity of every employee using a photo ID system based on the face-recognition software used by ICE.

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Since 1986, employers have been required by federal immigration law to verify an employee’s legal right to work in the U.S.

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