In your editorial of 10/28 of Immigration Daily, you muse the following, "We are not clear as to the rationale for sparing the resources for this raid - BICE and DHS are supposed to be fighting terrorism as their first priority."
If one looks to the usual explanations for agency action, such as the IRS's selective enforcement of back-owed funds as well as high-profile SEC investigations of regulatory violators, the answer becomes apparent. There is a two-fold strategy of both PR for the enforcement agency and digging into the deep pockets of the violator. Of course the 250 or so who slaved for sub-minimum wages under substandard conditions are the victims less than the violators. BICE knows that each offense carries a penalty of up to $10,000 each, and that multiplied by 250 adds up to a hefty chunk of change. The PR strategy is admittedly more debatable, as noted in the editorial, although Wal-Mart is in fact the biggest private employer the government could possibly pursue, the biggest in the nation in fact, with 1.1 million workers.
Is it only a coincidence that enhanced guidelines on the I-9 recently promulgated now include language about 'constructive knowledge' to be imputed to the Employer hiring contractors who in turn employ those unlawfully present here? The raid on the Bentonville, Arkansas home office gives one every reason to believe BICE will seek to collect from Wal-Mart corporate directly, or at least some settlement in exchange for seeking a reduction in the maximum amount of the penalty.
Stephen Blower, Attorney at Law
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