Salvador Hernandez, 50, of Belle Glade, Fla., pleaded guilty April 6, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Syracuse to employing illegal aliens in Cayuga County in 2008 and 2009. He now faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
"This investigation is a terrific example of how law enforcement works together, utilizing our combined authorities and resources, to take down a criminal organization that went to great lengths to not only disguise the employment, but the harboring of illegal aliens, in order to make a buck," said Nick DiNicola, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Albany, N.Y. "Thanks to the diligent and extensive investigative work conducted by HSI special agents from our offices in Buffalo, Syracuse and West Palm Beach, along with our partners at the Border Patrol, this case will send a clear message that those who choose to utilize or harbor a workforce comprised of illegal aliens will be held accountable for their actions."
Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiring to hire at least 10 illegal aliens in 2008 and 2009 – knowing that they were in the United States unlawfully – in connection with agricultural work at a farm in King Ferry, N.Y. Hernandez was employed as crew foreman for Sunrise Labor, Inc., a farm labor company based in Belle Glade that provided laborers for the harvest of field crops.
HSI has a vital responsibility to enforce the law and engage in effective worksite enforcement to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce. HSI employs an effective, comprehensive worksite enforcement strategy that addresses both employers who knowingly hire illegal workers as well as the workers themselves.
HSI focuses its resources in the worksite enforcement program on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, in order to target the root cause of illegal immigration. Furthermore, HSI uses all available civil and administrative tools, including civil fines and debarment, to penalize and deter illegal employment. To learn more about worksite enforcement, click here.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard R. Southwick, Northern District of New York, is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 8, 2012, in Syracuse.