Quick blurb today. A few days ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a Lindon manufacturer (Universal Industrial Sales) that makes signs and guardrails for roads/highways.
The raid captured over 50 illegal immigrants and, as usual, charges regarding identity theft and document fraud are rolling in:
“I think it is safe to say anytime we find illegal aliens working some place there’s document fraud involved. Unfortunately, fraudulent documents are very easy to get a hold of, and so that’s something we’ll be looking into as we do the processing,” Counts said.
Customs officers have forwarded 30 cases to the Utah County attorney’s office for possible criminal prosecution. A handful of cases have been sent to the U.S. attorney in Utah because the individuals had previously been deported from the United States.
While it is nice that the identity theft/document fraud involved is being addressed, sweeter yet is that the company and human resources director may also get hit as they appear to be extensively involved:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Universal Industrial Sales with ten counts of “concealing, harboring, or shielding undocumented workers from detection for commercial advantage.” They could be fined up to $500,000 for each count.
“The foreman from this place was from there and this was like a magnate [U.I.S.] for all the people over there,” said Villalpando. “A lot of people from Mexico hear about this company down there and they say, ‘well, lets go, they don’t care about papers. They hire us anyways. That’s what they were doing for years until now.” [emphasis added]
The company’s Human Resource Director, 39-year-old Provo resident, Alejandro “Alex” Urrutia-Garcia, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was also arrested. He faces two counts of “encouraging or inducing illegal aliens to remain in the United States unlawfully.” He could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
While UIS had a reputation for not verifying documents etc, another interesting point is brought up in the article. Apparently, the company did start checking paperwork (maybe UIS was tipped off and wanted to throw off some attention?) but in doing so, dug themselves deeper by, apparently, not taking action against those with forged/invalid paperwork and/or essentially indicating they knew they were in trouble and quickly did ‘something’ to, hopefully, divert attention (from the first, KSL link):
“Three or four months ago they were checking papers on everybody, but they never fired anybody that was already there. They should have done that and we wouldn’t be going through this situation right now,” [A former employee] said.
I was unable to determine if UIS has extensive sales in Utah. It appears they supply distributors but do show several of their structures in Utah on their website. Even if they are a big supplier, don’t count on the State or Governor caring about the identity theft as long as the result is a lower bid.