ATLANTA (AP) -- Records show that federal immigration authorities based in Atlanta audited 105 businesses for illegal hiring practices during the last fiscal year.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's analysis of records associated with the audits also shows that authorities arrested several workers and issued nearly $900,000 in fines to employers -- the third-highest total in the nation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say dozens more such audits are under way in Georgia.
The newspaper reports that the enforcement is happening amid a sharp increase nationwide in such audits, fines and arrests of managers stemming from employers hiring illegal immigrants.
At the same time, records show the government has been arresting fewer lower-level workers during work-site investigations. Critics say that practice allows illegal immigrants to freely move on to other jobs nationwide.