On July 1, state officials of South Carolina will focus their auditing investigation on 110,000 companies. With fewer than 100 employees each, the companies under investigation will be required to show that their employees are authorized to work in the United States and that they are complying with South Carolina’s Illegal Immigration Reform Act.
The majority of businesses under scrutiny are those most often guilty of employing foreign workers – landscaping companies, farms, restaurants, hotels, construction firms, and golf courses.
Larger companies of SC were audited last fall and the vast majority – 94% - were found to be in compliance. However, officials are not expecting a 94% rate this summer – “There may be some confusion,” said Jim Knight, communications director for the state Department of Labor, “We definitely don’t expect a 94% compliance rate.”
The owner of Pleasant Places landscaping in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was fined $11,500 and another $20,000 in attorney fees after the state cited his business not just once, but twice for violating the immigration law. The business owner said he was confused over the new requirements that go above and beyond the federal requirements.
Employers must use one of two methods to verify the legal status of new workers. The can require employees to provide a South Carolina driver’s license or identification card, or a motor vehicle license from one of 26 other states whose requirements are as strict as the Palmetto State’s. Companies also can use the Department of Homeland Security’s online database, E-Verify, to verify the status of their employees.