By Jim Kouri
While proponents of immigration enforcement have been told that the federal government monitors the hiring of illegal aliens by the private sector, including adherence to the federal employment verification (I-9) program, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department appears to have made a decision to penalize organizations that zealously comply.
For example, on Thursday the Justice Department announced that it filed a civil lawsuit against the Tuscany Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, accusing the company of engaging in “a pattern or practice of discrimination in the employment eligibility verification and re-verification process.”
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to treat all authorized workers equally during the hiring, firing and employment eligibility verification process, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status. However, it is still a criminal offense to avoid the I-9 verification process in the hiring of job applicants.
The DOJ complaint alleges that Tuscany treated non-citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the employment eligibility verification and re-verification process by requesting non-citizen employees to provide more or different documents or information than required during the initial employment eligibility verification process, and demanded specific documents during the re-verification process.
The complaint further alleges that Tuscany subjected lawful permanent residents to unnecessary re- verification based on their citizenship status after requesting and entering into the payroll system the expiration date of their Permanent Resident Cards (green cards) for purposes of re verification.
Some believe this lawsuit is nothing more than payback by the Obama DOJ since earlier this year the Tuscany Hotel and Casino booked a special conference by a law enforcement group that was not favorable to the Obama administration. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) has stated their goal is to “take back America from the unlawful incursions and overreach of state and federal governments and their agencies.”
Speakers at the event included Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Sheriff Bradley D. Rodgers, Sheriff Richard Mack, and Larry Pratt, founder and executive director of Gun Owners of America, none of whom are popular in the Obama White House or DOJ.
According to a member of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the casino had an interest in verifying immigration status as part of its loss prevention program and may have exhibited over zealousness in its internal security program, but a casino environment requires more security than most workplaces due to the enormous amounts of cash involved in that industry.
The ICE agent, who requested anonymity, stated that Holder and his illegal alien-friendly department is more interested in protecting illegal aliens than “in protecting Americans from the crimes perpetrated including workplace crimes.”
“Employers must not treat authorized workers differently during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The department vigorously enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA so that authorized workers are treated fairly in the work place.”
According to several sources, Perez is a zealot for protecting illegal aliens as proven by his record of pursuing cases against entities that attempt to control or curtail illegal immigration.
Perez’s complaint, which seeks monetary and injunctive relief, was filed before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) of the Department of Justice and served on the company on May 29, 2012.
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which protects work authorized individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin, including discrimination in hiring, firing and the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.