ICE arrests 23 illegal aliens employed by suburban staffing company

CHICAGO – Twenty-three illegal alien workers were arrested in the Joliet area Wednesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents as part of an ongoing criminal worksite enforcement investigation.

The illegal workers, 16 men and seven women, were employed by ANNA II Inc., a staffing company located at 801 Golf Lane in Bensenville, Ill., that provides day laborers to various warehouses throughout the Chicagoland area. ICE made the arrests at the Rock Run Business Park in Joliet after three vans picked up the workers in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and transported them to that location. The driver of a fourth van was taken into custody in Des Plaines. ICE agents also executed a criminal search warrant this morning at ANNA II’s Bensenville location.

This remains an ongoing investigation. ICE initiated the investigation into ANNA II in April 2006 after receiving credible information that illegal aliens were employed there. Further investigation by ICE revealed that ANNA II allegedly employed illegal workers who were picked up in vans each day in the Pilsen neighborhood and driven to various job sites. All those arrested are currently being processed at ICE’s Broadview facility.

They will be placed into deportation proceedings for violating U.S. immigration laws. One of the men arrested was from the Dominican Republic; all others arrested in this operation were from Mexico. "ICE aggressively enforces our nation’s immigration laws, which includes focusing on the workplace," said Elissa A. Brown, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "We are significantly enhancing our worksite enforcement efforts as part of our interior immigration enforcement strategy."

Brown oversees a six-state region that includes: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin. During fiscal year 2007, ICE arrested 863 individuals on criminal charges in worksite investigations, and administratively apprehended another 4,077 illegal workers on immigration violations. These arrests have increased significantly when compared to the 160 criminal arrests and 685 administrative arrests ICE made in fiscal year 2004. Since it was created in March 2003, ICE has dramatically enhanced its efforts to combat illegal aliens unlawfully working in the United States.

ICE’s comprehensive strategy for effective worksite enforcement is aimed at promoting national security, protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring fair labor standards. Under this strategy, ICE especially targets unscrupulous employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. ICE seeks to criminally prosecute these employers and pursue forfeiture of their illegally obtained assets. Criminally charging culpable individuals may also deter others involved in hiring illegal aliens.

To help employers ensure they are building a legal workforce through voluntary partnerships with the government, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new initiative called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers or "IMAGE." IMAGE is designed to build cooperative relationships between government and businesses, to strengthen hiring practices, and to reduce unlawfully employing illegal aliens. The initiative also seeks to accomplish greater industry compliance and corporate due diligence through enhanced federal training and education of employers. ICE strongly encourages employers to review IMAGE program materials available at http://www.ice.gov.
SOURCE: ICE

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