Cross posted from StikNstein…has no mercy
NEW BEDFORD –
Hundreds of immigration officers and police descended on a New Bedford leather goods factory yesterday , charged top officials with employing illegal immigrants, and rounded up 350 workers who could not prove they were in the country legally.
The waterfront company, Michael Bianco Inc., was using the illegal immigrants to produce safety vests and backpacks for the US military, officials said.
According to affidavits unsealed yesterday, Insolia hired illegal immigrants instead of legal workers because the immigrants were desperate for jobs and more willing to put up with working conditions in his factory. Federal investigators allege workers were denied overtime , docked 15 minutes for every minute they were late , and fined for talking on the job, or for spending more than two minutes in the plant’s squalid bathrooms.
Of Course, Local immigration activists were outraged at the arrests yesterday.
“On the eve of federal legislation being introduced to fix the broken system, we should not be using precious federal resources to tear up families and devastate our communities,” said Helena S. Marques, executive director of the Immigrant Assistance Center in New Bedford.
“Not being able to pee is a small price to pay to do the jobs Americans wont do……Try finding an American who’s willing to pee in two minutes. As an activist supporting the rights of these people to come to america and
be exploited work under slave labor conditions, I am shocked at the governments actions.”
Local immigration activists said it was the largest immigration raid conducted in this area. The operation occurred at a time of stepped-up workplace enforcement actions nationally by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, following years of criticism of the agency’s lax execution of immigration laws. In fiscal 2006, ICE agents arrested 716 company officials on charges of violating immigration laws, compared with 25 in 2002.
“This has been a total nightmare,” Marques said. “I’ve never seen so much panic.” Many of those impacted gathered last night at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church. Luis Matias came to seek help for the 9-month-old and 3-year-old daughters of his tenant, Rosa Gutierez, 26, of Guatemala, who was taken into custody.
“She’s a hard worker, a good person, who came to the US to find a better life,” he said in a phone interview. “She’s a very good mother. It’s inhumane to take a mother away from her children,” he said. “She’s not a criminal.”
Probably Adding: “She’s a slave and I respect her civil rights to be treated as a slave.”
According to federal officials, two thirds of the workers employed at the company had bogus Social Security numbers, or numbers that did not match their names. The Social Security Administration had been sending notices informing the company of the mismatches since 2001, they said, but Insolia and his managers took no action in response.
When asked why the company was allowed to violate the law for so many years an administration spokesman might have responded:
” After the first year we became concerned…..after the second year their refusal to contact us caused consternation. By the third year we were miffed, and the fourth and fifth year of their non compliance was befuddling. The sixth year of of the company’s total disregard for the law raised our suspicions and when we were tipped off they were actually breaking the law by a legal citizen we decided not to waste any time.”
Adding, “This is not as simple as just putting a couple of border agents in jail. These types of investigations are complex. We then must consider the amount of government contracts they have, political party affiliations, who their lobbyists are and who they might know in congress.
We must be careful not to violate the civil rights of businesses that might be making important campaign contributions.
Employers are required to ask for employees’ work authorization documents, but are not required to determine whether the papers are genuine. However, in this case, Insolia and his managers went further, deliberately recruiting illegal immigrants because they were more likely to endure “deplorable conditions” akin to sweatshops of a century ago, Sullivan said.
“We believe this raid shows the Administration’s zero tolerance for American Businesses that we know have been breaking the law for 6 or 7 years. We are working hard to find cases that give the impression we care about law enforcement and this despicable case shows our firm determination to enforce Americas laws……. when it is politically expedient and we are forced to.”
Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy was perturbed……
“This is just another example why we need Amnesty…….A well thought out Comprehensive Immigration Reform program will mean we can legally allow the uneducated and ignorant from other countries to have a pathway to citizenship so that they can find real minimum wage jobs and be exploited ethically.
America was built on the exploitation of those less fortunate than most of us. Why should a foreigner be forced to remain in his country and be exploited, when they can come to America and be exploited.
American business needs our help and millions of low paid workers are just the shot in the arm this country needs…..adding, so we don’t pay overtime or give them breaks…..it’s not like they got time and a half in Guatamala.
“But let there be no misunderstanding, downward pressure on the wages of legal American workers can not be our only goal.
America is a country of immigrants…..immigrants who came here to not only to seek the American dream to be exploited by millionaires like me, but to become registered Democrats as well. God bless America and God bless the Democratic party.”
Senator John McCain added:
As a Republican, I agree that some form of Amnesty is needed……but for different reasons.
“God bless America and God bless the Chamber of Commerce.”
This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration
If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let us know at what level you would like to participate.