Sunday, June 18, 2006

Trafficking in Illegals--the Seamy Underside

This is the kind of stuff that turns your stomach:

The last known ringleader in a case of human smuggling that began unraveling at a Grand Forks restaurant and turned into one of the biggest human trafficking cases in the nation's history was sentenced to prison in federal court this week in Fargo.

It ends a key phase of the case - involving 6,000 illegal immigrant workers slaving in Asian restaurants across the Midwest - but more cases against more restaurant owners might be built, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Chase, who prosecuted the case.

...Here's how it worked: Restaurant owners paid $450 to get a cheap employee, who was run up through the pipeline, probably from Texas or California. Cell phone calls connected Yu's employment agency to Asian restaurants around the Midwest.

Restaurant owners then deducted that $450 from the paltry paychecks of the illegal employees, as well as rent money for the crowded apartments and meal money. The owners also did not deduct federal income tax or Social Security payments from the pay of the overworked illegal immigrant workers.

The case involved restaurants in Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Fargo, Bismarck and Minot as well as Aberdeen, S.D., the Twin Cities and Duluth, and in several other Midwest states.

Only 50 or 60 of the illegal immigrant workers were processed in the investigation, many of them deported. The whereabouts of the rest of the 6,000 workers sent through the pipeline in the years 2000 to 2004 are not known, Chase said.

The case likely isn't over, Chase said.

"Cao has given us a lot of information, and we seized a lot of ledgers of deliveries," Chase said, referring to illegal workers placed in Asian restaurants across the Midwest. "This information is being followed up on, in at least 30 federal districts."

...and SOME people still don't want the border to be sealed.

3 comments:

Joe Martin said...

Whereas if we provided a legal method of immigration for everyone who wanted to immigrate, these human smugglers would no longer have a market to work in.

Sealing the border will simply raise the costs of smuggling. No matter what means are used, it will always be possible to smuggle someone into the United States. The only thing that will change is the number of people who can afford the cost.

There are two methods of ending human smuggling. Why is sealing the border better than taking away the market?

Dad29 said...

I happen to agree that employer sanctions should be done in tandem with sealing the border.

Take away the cheese, no mice.

However, both are necessary. There's always someone slimy enough to pull the sort of trick described in the post, as long as some poor fool is willing.

Joe Martin said...

I never proposed imposing employer sanctions. I happen to dislike the idea of government agents going through a company's employee list and determining who is and who isn't allowed to work.

If legal immigration is cheap and easy (multiple entry points, low processing fees) and immigration quotas are removed -- why would anyone ever feel the need to pay a human smuggler to get into the country?

That's what I meant by taking away the market.