The illegal workers, all of whom are male, were employed by Idaho Truss in Nampa, Idaho, and will be placed in deportation proceedings. The arrests are part of an ongoing ICE worksite enforcement investigation.
All of those taken into custody were fingerprinted and photographed. They were also interviewed by ICE agents to determine if they had any medical, caregiver or other humanitarian issues. The interviews assist ICE in determining whether an individual will remain in ICE custody or be eligible for an alternative to detention based on humanitarian factors while they await a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
ICE initiated this investigation after reviewing the employment records of individuals who were helping build military housing at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Further investigation revealed that some of the workers may have secured employment using false Social Security numbers and other counterfeit identity documents.
"The lure of jobs in the United States continues to be one of the primary factors fueling illegal immigration," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations that oversees the agency's activities in Idaho. "This investigation is directly tied to ICE's effort to target those who violate our country's employment laws."
Since its establishment in 2003, ICE has dramatically enhanced its efforts to combat the unlawful employment of illegal aliens in the United States. During fiscal year 2008, ICE made 5,173 administrative immigration arrests at worksites nationally. In addition, 1,101 criminal arrests were made in connection with worksite investigations.
To help employers build a legal workforce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has an initiative called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers or IMAGE. IMAGE is designed to build cooperative relationships between the government and businesses, strengthen hiring practices, and reduce the unlawful employment of illegal aliens. The initiative also seeks to gain greater industry compliance and corporate due diligence through enhanced training and education of employers. ICE strongly encourages employers to review IMAGE program materials available at www.ICE.gov.
ICE was assisted in this investigation by the Metro Violent Crimes and Gang Task Force based in Nampa and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.