ICE Enforces Law; Alien Employers Fined, Sentenced

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

March 16, 2015

A rare incident of Immigration Customs and Enforcement carrying out its responsibilities shows how easy implementing immigration law can be. In December 2011, Homeland Security Investigations and the Kansas Department of Revenue got a tip that the owners of two local Clarion hotels were employing illegal immigrants. The hotels are in Overland Park, KS and Kansas City, MO.

Working in hospitality – a job Americans will do!

Six months later, ICE sent an undercover agent to the Overland Park property to apply for a position. Although the agent admitted to the owners that he was unlawfully in the U.S., he was hired, but paid less than other employees.

Court records show that in 2011 and 2012 defendants Rhonda R. Bridge and Munir Ahmad Chaudary filed false quarterly wage reports as well as fraudulent unemployment tax returns with the Kansas Department of Labor. Bridge and Chaudary underreported their number of employees, the total amount of wages paid and the unemployment taxes due at the Overland Park hotel. Because they hired unlawful immigrants and didn’t pay Social Security, workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance for the aliens, Chaudary and Bridge reduced their operating costs to gain a competitive advantage over other nearby hotels.

As a result of her crime, Bridge was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, ordered to forfeit her interest in the two hotels, and return her ill-gotten gains. Bridge is the third person sentenced. Earlier, Judith Vanzant, a hotel manager, and desk clerk Syed Naqvi, a Pakistani native, were sentenced. Chaudary’s sentence is pending.

My takeaway:

  • Interior enforcement isn’t hard, and criminal prosecution can be swift. If nothing else, the hotel case serves as a warning shot over the head to other Kansas service industries that the risk of financial reward pales in comparison to jail time.
  • Despite what many advocates insist, illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. Sometimes the crimes result in murder. In this case, the white-collar crime of hiring aliens denied American citizens jobs.
  • Kansas and Missouri taxpayers were shorted revenues that should have been collected and used to their benefit.

During the Obama administration, interior and border enforcement has been weak. But the Kansas example shows that congressionally mandated E-Verify would be an excellent start to defend against illegal aliens taking jobs Americans would do. E-Verify would make jobs more difficult if not impossible for unlawful immigrants to secure.

Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your representative to support the Legal Workforce Act that includes mandatory E-Verify.
 

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