In December 2023 Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 4. This law makes it a state crime to cross the border illegally and it stiffens the penalties for anyone who employs undocumented migrants. Under SB4 business owners who employ undocumented migrants can face charges of human smuggling and prison time. Texas Senate Bill 4 can lead to fines for businesses in several ways, though its full implementation and legal challenges continue to unfold. Here are the key points:
Knowingly employing undocumented workers: This is the most significant financial risk under SB4. Starting February 6, 2024, businesses can face felony charges with possible fines of $10,000 to $500,000 per violation for knowingly employing undocumented individuals.
Failure to verify employment eligibility: Businesses are already required to use the federal E-Verify system to verify employee eligibility. SB4 strengthens this requirement and imposes potential fines of $250 to $2,000 per violation for non-compliance.
Harbor Law violations
SB4 allows state and local law enforcement to detain individuals suspected of being undocumented. If a business knowingly harbors or conceals an undocumented individual, it could face misdemeanor charges and potential fines. Fines generally require showing the business "knowingly" violated the law. Courts might consider factors like due diligence in using E-Verify or the level of suspicion for harboring someone.
Should you have any questions or concerns about how the Texas Senate Bill 4 applies to your business, please reach out to Derek Saunders, Keith Strahan, or Richard Armstrong of our firm, shown here: https://lfbrown.law/our-team
Remember, the situation remains fluid, and it's crucial for businesses to stay informed and seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of SB4 and minimize potential financial risks.