From Fox 5:
The Obama administration has extended its crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants, notifying 500 companies across the nation in recent weeks that the government will inspect their hiring records.
The surge in so-called silent raids is the first to occur in the government's new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. In the year ended Sept. 30, the US audited 2,496 companies, topping the previous year's tally of 2,196.
The audits of employee records by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, can lead firms to lose large numbers of employees and face lower productivity and steep legal fees.
The audits can result in civil and criminal penalties. Companies can be fined, barred from competing for government contracts and be hit with criminal charges of knowingly employing illegal workers and evading taxes.
An ICE spokeswoman confirmed that employers across the US had been asked to turn over their I-9 employment eligibility forms and other documents to the agency.
ICE did not name the businesses being investigated.