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U.S. Immigration and Working Under The Table

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"Working under the table" is a phrase familiar to many people as it has become a big political issue, especially with employers in the Southern United States who like to hire cheap labor. This has been very necessary to do things like rebuild the Gulf Coast after the ravaging of several states by Hurricane Katrina two years ago.

Technically working under the table means being paid wages for work that is not reported to the government. Mostly illegal immigrants to the United States are the ones who make a living this way.

Working under the table is illegal in the United States. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed. This bill marked the beginning of criminal charges and penalties for employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. However these penalties are very seldom enforced wide spread illegal immigrant employment is very common in the United States. Documents such as EIN, SIN and passports are often forged to enable this to happen.

This 1986 bill known as the IRCA was also a forgiving one and provided amnesty for about three million illegal immigrants that were already working illegally in the United States. Currently it is estimated that over one million people are working illegally in the United States.

The administration of matters to do with immigration is managed by the United States Border Patrol, which in turn is administrated by the Department of Homeland Security (also known as the DHS.)

In 1990 the Immigration ACT also known as IMMACT modified and expanded the 1965 act by significantly increasing the availability of work visas by forty percent.

Several pieces of legislation signed into law in 1996 marked a turn towards harsher policies for both legal and illegal immigrants. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) vastly increased the categories of criminal activity for which immigrants, including green card holders, can be deported and imposed mandatory detention for certain types of deportation cases. As a result, well over one million individuals have been deported from the United States for reasons other than working under the table since 1996. Working illegally in the United States is quite a common reason for deportation.

Before you are deported you usually have an audience in with an immigration judge. Cancellation of removal is a form of relief that is available for certain long-time residents of the United States. It allows a person being faced with the threat of removal from the United States to obtain permanent residence if that person: (1) has been physically present in the U.S. for at least ten years, (2) has had good moral character during that period, (3) has not been convicted of certain crimes, and (4) can show that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his or her US citizen/permanent resident spouse, children, or parent. After this type of review many illegal aliens or immigrants are usually granted some kind of work visa.
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