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03/22/2010

Former DHS director convicted of encouraging illegal alien to reside in the U.S.

BOSTON - The former New England area U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port Director was convicted of encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to remain in the United States following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

On March 22, Lorraine Henderson, 52, of Salem, Mass., was convicted by a jury in the U.S. District Court in Boston of encouraging an illegal alien to reside in the United States knowing, or in reckless disregard, of the fact that such residence was in violation of law. She faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine at her sentencing on June 17.

From 2003 until Henderson was suspended in Dec. 2008, she was the New England Area port director for the Department of Homeland Security. She was responsible for overseeing all of the international ports of entry in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island including the inspection and admission of foreign nationals who sought entry into the United States and for preventing the entry of illegal aliens into the United States through Logan International Airport, T.F. Green International Airport in Rhode Island and Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

During the six-day trial before the Honorable Douglas Woodlock, the evidence proved that Henderson employed an illegal alien to clean her home while she was the New England Area port director. Another CBP officer warned Henderson in 2006 that her housekeeper was a foreign national illegally in the United States and that Henderson should not continue to employ her. According to the evidence presented at trial, Henderson ignored her colleague's warning and continued to employ the illegal alien for more than two years.

In May 2008, the illegal alien was confronted and agreed to cooperate with investigators of ICE's OPR. While cooperating, the illegal alien told Henderson that she needed help to legalize. Henderson was surreptitiously recorded telling her, "you have to be careful 'cause they will deport you. Be careful." Henderson further advised her, "if you leave they won't let you back . . . you can't leave, don't leave . . . 'cause once you leave you will never be back."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of the U. S. Attorney of Massachusetts Public Corruption Unit.