- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2005

An illegal alien with a criminal history — who fled to avoid deportation and was working as a security guard at the Philadelphia Municipal Services building — has been arrested in Pennsylvania by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Kareem Markland, 28, of Jamaica, was taken into custody last week after being identified by officers of ICE’s Philadelphia fugitive operations unit.

ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said the building in which Markland worked houses key city government offices, including the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the city’s Department of Commerce. At the time of the arrest, Mr. Boyd said, ICE officers observed Markland checking identification and issuing photographic identification cards to building visitors.

Additionally, Markland was wearing an identification badge bearing his photo and the name “Errol Johnson,” said Mr. Boyd, adding that the Jamaican native was employed under this name and used a Social Security number that was not his own. Illegal aliens are not authorized to work in the United States, and employers who hire them risk criminal prosecution and administrative penalties.

“This is exactly why one of our highest priorities is locating the 465,000 fugitive absconders who have fled,” said ICE Agent Tom Decker, who heads detention and removal operations in Pennsylvania. “At least 85,000 of these aliens are criminals.

“They use fraudulent identification cards, bogus or stolen Social Security numbers and any other means they can think of to hide among society. It’s very important to know who’s standing before you, guarding your building or working for your business because your life may literally depend on it,” Mr. Decker said.

When an ICE agent conducted surveillance to confirm Markland’s presence at the building and entered through a checkpoint manned by the fugitive, Markland checked the agent’s identification without hesitation and let him through, Mr. Boyd said.

Mr. Boyd said Markland was arrested on immigration charges in September 1997, but previously had been arrested in New York on drug charges — for which he was convicted and sentenced to three years’ probation. Mr. Boyd said Markland violated probation, and a bench warrant was issued for him in June 2000.

Markland worked for Scotland Yard Security Co., whose owner, Garnett C. Littlepage, declined to cooperate with ICE agents.

Mr. Boyd said a federal immigration judge ordered Markland deported in December 2002 and that he fled to avoid deportation.

As a criminal fugitive alien, he was placed in detention, where he will be held until he is deported.

“We are absolutely committed to restoring integrity to the nation’s immigration system by enforcing immigration law,” Mr. Decker said. “The United States has a generous immigration system that relies heavily on personal integrity, and it’s been compromised far too many times by aliens like Markland.”

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