One of the things that the Federal Government is supposed to do is control immigration and over the last couple of years a great deal of hot air (let’s hope it wasn’t greenhouse gases) has come out of Washington on the subject. However, aside from a mix of photo-op posturing, disingenuous calls for action and whining platitudes, very little was accomplished other than tweaking the vocabulary to turn “illegal alien” into the more PC-compatible “undocumented worker.” I am sorry to say this Nancy, Harry, Ted, Gavin; these people are not”undocumented workers” they are, in point of fact, “illegal aliens.” They came into the country illegally, they are working illegally; they are criminals and now, in an effort to keep Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) off their trail, they are making things worse by stealing the identities of American citizens!
Well, if the Congress won’t do anything about illegal immigration, border security, the resulting identity theft and so on, then ICE and the States will-and they have. The tactics, however, are not just the old catch-and-release policies of days gone by. For a while now, a prosecutorial eye has been fixing its baleful gaze on employers.
Operation Wagon Train
One case in point is the series of ICE raids against Swift & Company, the large meat packing company. The raids, which took place in 2006, were conducted against six of the company’s facilities: Greeley, Colorado; Grand Island, Nebraska; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minnesota. In a December, 2006 press conference held by Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, Secretary Chertoff made these remarks about the raids (The emphasis below is mine):
Of the 1,282 workers who were arrested on administrative immigration violations, approximately 65 were also charged with identity theft-related charges – those are criminal charges – or other similar criminal violations, including reentry. That number may change as the investigation continues and as more individuals get charged with criminal violations in addition to administrative violations.
The investigation began in February of this year. The evidence we uncovered indicates that hundreds of Swift workers illegally assumed the identities of U.S. citizens, using green card stolen or fraudulently acquired Social Security numbers and other identity documents which they used to get jobs at Swift facilities. I emphasize that the investigation is continuing, particularly with respect to those who facilitated or conspired with others to allow this use of identity theft to support illegal work. So some of the follow-on is going to continue as the investigation matures.
Now, this is not only a case about illegal immigration, which is bad enough. It’s a case about identity theft in violation of the privacy rights and the economic rights of innocent Americans. I will tell you that the people whose identities were stolen – and we believe, based on reporting we got at the federal Trade Commission (FTC) – that these number at least in the hundreds. These individuals suffered very real consequences in their lives. These were not victimless crimes.
“Those who facilitated”-the employers-are targets. In 2007, ICE made 863 criminal arrests; 59 were owners and 33 were lower-level managers. These people were primarily charged with knowingly hiring illegal workers. This is a huge rise from the 176 such arrests that ICE made in 2006. How are they doing it? With the threat of prison and deportation over their heads, it is not difficult for ICE agents to convince many illegal aliens to cut a deal and turn State’s evidence. Wearing wires and using false credentials provided to them by ICE, these illegals tape conversations, apply for and get new jobs and generally collect incriminating evidence of wrongdoing on the part of management and business owners. The evidence is turned over to ICE, arrests are made and prosecutions proceed.