In the midst of one of the biggest changes in immigration policy in nearly a century, the Employers Association of New Jersey (EANJ) has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide training to employers on how to comply with federal immigration laws and regulations.

The training comes at a time when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be accessing data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to find undocumented workers and to investigate employers that are violating immigration rules. SSA sent out 128,000 letters to employers in 2005 informing them of mismatched social security numbers.

It is estimated that there are 12 million unauthorized workers in the United States and about 1.3 million in New Jersey alone.

Both houses of Congress have passed versions of an immigration reform law and President Bush has indicated that he would sign a law that requires more enforcement but that grants some form of work authorization to undocumented workers who pass a reference check. Each version mandates that employers verify work authorization electronically. Currently employers are required to accept documentation from new hires but need not verify the authenticity of the documents that are presented. Reforms have taken aim at identity fraud and have increased penalties on workers and employers alike.

Under the federal grant, EANJ will provide three or four regional training sessions with live instruction. Employers will also be able to access online training from EANJ’s website, which will also provide a free database of best practices and frequently asked questions.

Employers from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware will be able to attend. The website will reach employers anywhere in the country.

The training will explain the complexities of the immigration law impractical ways and focus on voluntary compliance.

EANJ is the only employers group in the country to receive such a grant this year. It received a similar grant in 2001. For more information contact John Sarno at

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