- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2007

Immigration officials have released 20 illegal aliens arrested Thursday in Baltimore. The aliens were released for “humanitarian reasons,” such as being the sole caretaker of a child, but still are being processed for deportation, said Marc Raimondi, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“They’re still in removal proceedings. They still have to comply with judge’s orders,” Mr. Raimondi said.

Another 49 illegal aliens are being held at three detention facilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania following Thursday’s raids of a temporary employment agency and eight business locations with which it contracted [-] including sportswear maker Under Armour Inc. and the Port of Baltimore.

Immigration officials said the Baltimore-based employment agency, Jones Industrial Network, is the only target of the criminal investigation.

ICE agents also seized more than $636,000 in assets from the company.

Officials only have made administrative arrests of illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the country, but the investigation is ongoing, Mr. Raimondi said.

He did not have information about the aliens’ genders, countries of origin or criminal-records status.

Agents also searched Baltimore Metal and Commodities, Beacon Stevedoring, BP Castro, C Steinweg, Dixie Printing & Packaging Corp., Pritchard Brown and Tessco Technology.

The sting is the latest in a series of high-profile raids targeting employers of illegal aliens since ICE was founded in 2003.

The number of criminal arrests in work site enforcement operations has increased from 25 in fiscal 2002 to 716 in fiscal 2006. Those numbers include employers and illegal aliens, ICE said.

The number of administrative arrests [-] illegal aliens arrested for unlawful presence in the United States [-] in work site enforcement operations has increased from 485 to 3,667 over the same period, ICE said.

“Work site enforcement actions target a key component of the illicit support structure that enables illegal immigration to flourish,” said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers, who heads ICE. “No employer, regardless of industry or location, is immune from complying with the nation’s laws. ICE and our law enforcement partners will continue to bring all of our authorities to bear in this fight using criminal charges, asset seizures, administrative assets and deportations.”

A U.S. District judge handed down stiff penalties for the operators of Baltimore’s Kawasaki restaurants chain, including five months in prison, two to three years of probation and the forfeiture of more than $1 million in assets.

“Companies that use cheap, illegal alien labor as a business practice should take note of [the] sentencing,” said James Dinkins, acting special agent in charge for ICE in Baltimore. “ICE has dramatically enhanced its enforcement efforts against illegal employment schemes and is targeting the profits that motivate them.”

An ICE raid on the New Bedford, Mass.-based textile company Michael Bianco, Inc. earlier this month netted arrests of about 360 illegal aliens. Company officials were arrested on charges of hiring illegal aliens.

Last month, agents arrested more than 200 illegal aliens in 17 states who worked for the nationwide janitorial company Rosenbaum-Cunningham International. Three top executives of the Florida company were charged with conspiracy, fraud and tax crimes.

“Our history of work site enforcement […] has gone across the spectrum from small family restaurants to some of largest corporations in the country,” Mr. Raimondi said.

ICE’s work site enforcement operations are part of the agency’s “multilayered” approach, he said.

Immigration officials also target producers of fraudulent identification and other documents, organizations that falsify benefits claims and fugitive aliens who evade deportation, Mr. Raimondi said.

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