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10/04/2011

Mexican national sentenced for harboring illegal and undocumented aliens

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A native and citizen of Mexico, who was convicted of harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage, was sentenced to 12 months in prison. The sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Javier Banda-Mireles, 38, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge William M. Skretny. According to court documents, Banda-Mireles, whose brother, Simon Banda-Mireles at one time owned and operated several Mexican restaurants in western New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, supervised and harbored between six and 25 illegal aliens in those businesses between 2006 and 2008. The illegal and undocumented employees were paid wages well below minimum wage.

The defendant's attorney urged the court not to sentence the defendant to prison because he is an "openly gay" male who would not be able to defend himself in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, Western District of New York, who prosecuted the case, asked the Court to view that argument with skepticism because the defendant had previously been convicted for indecent assault on another male and had sexually harassed one of the illegal alien male victims under his supervision in this case.

Judge Skretny noted the serious nature of the defendant's conduct and lack of remorse for the victims when he imposed the jail sentence. The defendant, who entered the United States illegally in 1991, was arrested in April 2008, along with his brother and nine other restaurant managers. All 11 defendants have been convicted. After conclusion of his sentence, the defendant will be placed into removal proceedings by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by ICE HSI and the Erie County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati, Western District of New York, assisted in the prosecution of this case.