I.C.E. crackdown on Garcia Labor Company, Ohio

Cross Posted From the Border Pundit

Here’s an encouraging New York Times story about an I.C.E. crackdown in Ohio.

Immigration agents had prepared a nasty surprise for the Garcia Labor Company, a temporary worker contractor, when they moved against it on charges of hiring illegal immigrants. They brought a 40-count federal indictment, part of a new nationwide strategy by immigration officials to clamp down on employers of illegal immigrant laborers.

Maximino Garcia, the president of the company, which provides low-wage laborers to businesses from Pennsylvania to Texas, stood before a federal judge here on Tuesday to answer conspiracy charges of aiding illegal immigrants and money laundering. If convicted, Mr. Garcia, who pleaded not guilty, could serve 20 years in jail and forfeit his headquarters building and $12 million.

The illegals are “uneasy,” as they should be.

It also created a new environment of fear in Ohio’s immigrant communities.

“It’s a very uneasy feeling,” said Sister Teresa Ann Wolf, a Roman Catholic nun who works with immigrant workers in Canton, Ohio. “People are afraid to leave the house to go to the store. They are afraid to come to church.”

Perhaps you would be more at ease in your own countries, where you can live and work legally. The words from I.C.E. seem to promise more of the same in the future.

Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which was created in 2003 and is known as I.C.E., acknowledge that past efforts were lackluster.

“We found that the fines were not an effective deterrent,” said Julie L. Myers, the Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary who heads I.C.E. “Employers treated them as part of the cost of doing business.”

While the old immigration agency brought 25 criminal charges against employers in 2002, this year Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already made 445 criminal arrests of employers, officials said. Some 2,700 immigrant workers were caught up in those operations, and most were deported, the officials said.

Hiring illegal immigrants “has been a low-risk, high-reward enterprise,” said Brian M. Moskowitz, the agency’s special agent in charge for Ohio and Michigan. “We want to send the message that your cost of business just went up because you risk your livelihood, your corporate reputation and your personal freedom.”

Garcia Labor was blatant about they way the flaunted US immigration law. And it’s a good thing none of the illegals were terrorists. Or were they?

According to the indictment, in a single month, May 2003, the Social Security Administration informed Mr. Garcia that 186 of his employees who were working at ABX Air had invalid Social Security numbers. Garcia Labor continued to send laborers to ABX Air even after they answered no when asked on applications if they were eligible to work in the United States, the indictment says.

“This was a huge, gaping vulnerability,” Mr. Moskowitz said. “You had people who you really don’t know who they are having access to the underbelly of an airplane.”

And here’s the bottom line from I.C.E.

Mr. Moskowitz, the special agent, said the agency’s priority was not to deport immigrant workers, but to stop employers who built their businesses on cheap immigrant labor.

“These are not crimes of passion,” he said. “Nobody wakes up in the middle of the night and says, `I’m going to hire illegal aliens.’ These are people who have made a conscious decision that they can profit from this.”

Good for I.C.E. Now let’s see more of the same!

Other CAII Posts:

Take Back Georgia with Violent Illegal Alien Indicted

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let me know at what level you would like to participate.

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