December 14, 2006

Calif. company faces immigration charges

From the AP via Yahoo! News:

A Southern California fence-building company and two executives pleaded guilty Thursday to knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and agreed to pay a combined penalty of $5 million. The executives could also go to prison.

The penalty is one of the biggest fines ever imposed in an immigration case, and the case represents a rare instance in which prosecutors brought criminal charges over the hiring of illegal immigrants.


The two men admitted hiring at least 10 illegal immigrants.


Hirsch said prosecutors plan to ask for six months behind bars for the two men at sentencing March 28. The maximum sentence is five years. Prison time is unusual in such cases.

Among Golden State Fence's projects in recent years was construction of part of a 14-mile border fence in San Diego in the late 1990s.

Last year, in one of the biggest cases of its kind, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to end a federal investigation into the use of illegal immigrants at stores in 21 states.

Companies are rarely hit with criminal charges for hiring illegal immigrants.


The illegal hiring took place between 1999 and 2005.


Golden State, which has 750 employees, saw sales soar from $60 million in 1998 to $150 million in 2004, according to a biography of Kay provided by the company.

The plea bargain comes just days after federal authorities raided meat processing plants in six states as part of an investigation into the stealing and selling of identity documents so illegal immigrants could get jobs.


That seventh little paragraph says it all. Companies rarely get busted for this because the government just isn't that concerned with illegal labor, though this article seems to show that the government is suddenly cracking down on this issue, which is what I've always said the government needed to do. I'd still like to hear this side of the illegal immigration debate more often, even though I can't stand the illegal immigration debate because it was so obviously sparked recently to distract us from Iraq.

Anyway, I'm right, always have been, thanks for stopping by, say no to corporate labor abuse.

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