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Feds crack down on illegals working at Chinese restaurants


This news story was published on January 30, 2014.
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140130beaumont_lgBEAUMONT, Texas — A task force of federal, state and local law enforcement Thursday began arresting 32 defendants charged with racketeering and immigration violations throughout Texas and Louisiana.

These arrests were announced by U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas, and Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston.

This case is being investigated by the following agencies: HSI offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans; U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine; U.S. Marshals Service; and police department’s in Houston, Port Author and Beaumont. This case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys, Eastern District of Texas, in Beaumont, Texas.

According to court documents, two employment referral businesses operating out of Houston recruited illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico and Central America, to work in Chinese restaurants. These workers routinely worked 12 hours per day, six days per week. In addition, they were not paid overtime, not permitted to receive tips or gratuities, and were paid in cash by the restaurants. The restaurants profited by avoiding paying employment taxes; and they did not provide any benefits such as health insurance, vacation or sick time. Workers were paid far less than minimum wage, did not receive health examinations, food safety training, or any job training at any time while employed.

Additionally, these workers were subjected to unfavorable living arrangements provided by the restaurant operators, either at the operator’s residence or at another off-site residential location. Living arrangements were overcrowded and sometimes consisted of air mattresses or floors for sleeping. For instance, 18 people were found to be housed in a 2000-square foot house.

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