BALTIMORE - As part of its ongoing enforcement efforts to investigate worksites allegedly hiring illegal aliens, federal agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed federal warrants today at a Maryland painting company. The enforcement action is part of an 18-month-long, ongoing ICE investigation.
During the course of this operation, agents arrested 45 Annapolis Painting Services employees on administrative immigration violations. All of the individuals arrested will be placed in removal proceedings.
"Today's enforcement action, to include the execution of 11 search warrants, 5 seizure warrants for bank accounts, 11 seizure warrants for vehicles and 15 forfeitable properties, along with the administrative arrest of 45 undocumented aliens, is part of a multi-phased investigative approach utilized by ICE when investigating the employment of illegal workers," stated Scot R. Rittenberg, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for ICE in Baltimore.
The illegal alien workers identified during today's operation included foreign nationals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nigeria and Panama. Everyone detained has been interviewed by ICE agents to determine if they have medical, caregiver, or other humanitarian issues. At several search warrant locations, ICE identified approximately five individuals who qualify for a humanitarian release. However, these individuals are still required to appear before a federal immigration judge who will ultimately determine whether they have a legal right to remain in the United States.
ICE has contacted local community groups to provide accurate information about the operation.
ICE received assistance with the case from the United States Attorneys Office in Baltimore, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Annapolis City Police Department, the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Baltimore City Police Department. Since its establishment in 2003, ICE has dramatically enhanced its efforts to combat the unlawful employment of illegal aliens in this country. ICE's comprehensive strategy for worksite enforcement is aimed at promoting national security and public safety, protecting critical infrastructure, and ensuring fair labor standards.
As of May 2008, ICE has made more than 2,900 administrative arrests in connection with worksite enforcement investigations, including more than 850 criminal arrests. In fiscal year 2007, ICE secured more than $30 million in criminal fines, restitutions, seizures and civil judgments as result of worksite related enforcement actions. More than 4,000 administrative arrests were made, along with 863 arrests for criminal violations.