SUMNER, Texas — As part of an ongoing criminal investigation, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed criminal search warrants at a North Texas business. HSI also arrested 160 company employees on federal immigration violations who were unlawfully working in the United States at the trailer-manufacturing business.
This ongoing investigation began when HSI received information that the company may have knowingly hired illegal aliens, and that many of the aliens employed at Load Trail were using fraudulent identification documents.
“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, HSI Dallas, which oversees 128 counties in North Texas, and the state of Oklahoma. “In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.”
All of the immigration status violators arrested Aug. 28 will be interviewed by ICE staff and Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Immigration Health Services (DIHS) staff to record any medical, sole-caregiver or other humanitarian situations. Based on these interviews, ICE will determine if those arrested remain in custody or are considered for humanitarian release. In all cases, all illegal aliens encountered will be fingerprinted and processed for removal from the United States.
A 24-hour toll-free detainee locator hotline is available for family members of those arrested in this operation to address questions about their detention location and status, and the removal process. This hotline operates in English and Spanish; the phone number is 1-888-351-4024.
This HSI-led enforcement action was coordinated with federal, state and local counterparts including the following agencies: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas; ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol, CBP Air and Marine Operations.
HSI is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for upholding the laws established by the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which requires employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of individuals they hire.
These laws help protect jobs for U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. residents, eliminate unfair competitive advantages for companies that unlawfully hire an illegal workforce, and strengthen public safety and national security.
Unauthorized workers often use stolen identities of legal U.S. workers, which can profoundly damage for years the identity-theft victim’s credit, medical records and other aspects of their everyday life.
HSI’s worksite enforcement investigators help combat worker exploitation, illegal wages, child labor and other illegal practices. Worksite enforcement investigations often involve additional criminal activity, such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, document fraud, worker exploitation and/or substandard wage and working conditions.
In addition to worksite enforcement operations like this one, HSI also uses I-9 audits to create a culture of compliance among employers. In July, ICE announced a two-phase operation under this effort.