SAVANNAH, Ga. - Two Georgia residents were indicted here earlier this week for harboring and employing illegal aliens after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Effingham County Sheriff's Office investigation.
Guo Hua Jiang and Jian Chun Liu, of where of Rincon, Georgia, were charged in a three count indictment with conspiracy to harbor and employ illegal aliens for harboring illegal aliens at their residences and employing them at their business, the Hong Kong Buffet. The indictment also alleged a forfeiture count in which the government seeks the forfeiture of defendants' two residences and two vehicles.
"Businesses with questionable hiring practices are on notice that ICE aggressively targets employers who knowingly employ an illegal alien workforce," said Kenneth Smith, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Atlanta. "We will pursue criminal charges against employers who consistently harbor illegal aliens."
ICE continues to sharply increase the number of individuals criminally and administratively arrested in worksite enforcement investigations with a particular priority placed on egregious business owners and managers. In 2008, ICE made 1,100 criminal arrests tied to worksite investigations - up from 863 in FY 2007. Of those charged criminally in these types of cases, 135 were business owners, managers, supervisors or human resource employees; in FY 2007, 92 were charged. In addition to the criminal arrests, ICE also took more than 5,100 illegal aliens into custody on administrative immigration violations during worksite investigations - more than one thousand more violators than in FY 2007. In FY 2008, for the first time, ICE also debarred seven companies from federal contracting because each had been found to be unlawfully employing persons without employment authorization.
Both defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine of $750,000 if convicted.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica L. McClellan.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation; a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.