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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Defense workers say they were forced out after ICE audit

    Monrovia defense workers say they were forced out after ICE audit

    Gloria Torres becomes emotional during a news conference Thursday, where she and other former employees of Vynl Technology Inc. said they had been pressured to resign amid an audit by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


    By KATE LINTHICUM contact the reporter

    Amid probe by ICE, defense contractor is said to force out 240 immigrant workers lacking proper documentation.

    Workers using false documents complain after defense contractor forces them to resign

    'I did my best every single day,' says worker forced out after 18 years for using false documents


    When Raymundo Lazaro showed up for a shift last week at Vynl Technology Inc., a Monrovia defense contractor that has employed him for the last 18 years, his boss took him aside.

    Lazaro, an immigrant from Mexico who came to the country illegally 23 years ago, was told he didn’t have paperwork showing he was authorized to work in the United States. Fix it immediately, Lazaro said the boss told him, or sign a letter of resignation.


    Lazaro, who had been using falsified employment eligibility documents, had no choice but to quit. “I did my best every single day,” he said Thursday. “And like that they called me in and gave me the boom.”


    There's an enormous supply of American workers who are not only unemployed but who have dropped out of the labor market all together.- Mark Krikorian, executive director, Center for Immigration Studies


    He is one of 240 immigrant workers at the company who have been pressured to sign resignation letters in recent weeks amid a federal audit of the company’s hiring practices, according to former employees of the company and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, an immigrant advocacy group.

    At a news conference Thursday at CHIRLA's headquarters, the workers called on the federal government to stop such investigations into workers' eligibility while President Obama weighs major changes to federal immigration policy.

    lRelated
    NATION Obama draws flak over immigration reform delay SEE ALL RELATED

    Obama promised in June to take executive action on immigration that many hope will allow millions of people in the country illegally to stay in the United States and legally work. The president recently announced he will not take any such action until after the November election.

    "There’s no mercy, no justice, no humanity in the implementation of our broken immigration laws,” said Xiomara Corpeno, CHIRLA's director of community education and outreach, who described the federal investigations of companies as "silent raids."


    Since Obama came to office in 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has changed its approach to cracking down on companies that employ workers lacking authorization. Gone are the dramatic early-morning raids on factories and warehouses that were a hallmark of the presidency of George W. Bush, when armed agents routinely detained hundreds of workers, many of whom were eventually deported.


    Now the agency conducts quiet audits of employees' I-9 documents at companies believed to have hired unauthorized workers, with the emphasis on the employer's violations, not the immigrant's.

    Arrests of workers have fallen as the amount of fines the agency has collected from employers has risen.


    Overall, the number of workplace investigations initiated by ICE fell dramatically in the last year, from 3,903 in the 2013 fiscal year to just 1,963 in the 2014 fiscal year, which ends next month.


    The decrease can be attributed to budget cuts at the agency, according to an ICE official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.


    Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, said ICE is being too soft on immigrants here without permission and the companies that employ them.


    "Audits are an important, but you need to also have work-site arrests," he said, adding that companies that employ unauthorized workers take jobs away from Americans.


    "There’s an enormous supply of American workers who are not only unemployed but who have dropped out of the labor market all together," Krikorian said. "The idea that there’s not enough bodies to do the work here is laughable."


    A representative of Vynl Technology, which makes plastic products for customers such as the U.S. Navy and NASA, said the company had no comment on the investigation. According to its former workers, the company had around 350 employees until last week, with most earning between $8 and $15 an hour.


    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that prosecutes companies for knowingly employing unauthorized workers, does not release information on its audits unless an investigation has resulted in a fine or the filing of criminal charges.


    Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency prioritizes audits of defense contractors because “the employment of unauthorized workers at locations of this nature could pose a threat to homeland security."


    She said the agency's focus on audits has "reduced the need for large-scale immigration enforcement actions."


    Immigrant advocates acknowledge that ICE's new approach may be gentler, but they say it still goes too far.


    Even with the recent changes, they say, the system punishes workers.

    “It’s the workers and the families that end up bearing the brunt of the burden,” said CHIRLA spokesman Jorge Maria Cabrera.


    He pointed to the 240 immigrants who have been left scrambling to find new jobs.


    Lazaro, who had worked his way up to a supervisor position at Vynl, with 30 employees under him, says he will be lucky if he finds work cleaning houses.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...925-story.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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    Two things at the end of the story shout for immediate attention and correction. Virginia Kice states "unauthorized workers at locations of this nature could pose a threat to homeland security." ....focus on audits "has reduced the need for large scale enforcement actions."


    The employer fired two-thirds of the workforce as undocumented, including many that had been there UP TO 18 years! That is hired before 9/11, and through war time upon al queda. Something about the statements Ms. Kice made leak too badly to be considered truthful.

    Why were not employer fines of great proportion called for and immediately collected? Why were not the undocumented employees exposed to deportation proceedings? They should not be looking for other opportunity for employment here. How about prosecution for identify theft where appropriate?

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    Employees of Monrovia military contractor out of work after reported ICE audit

    by Leslie Berestein Rojas
    September 25 2014

    File: An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) badge on a uniform is viewed on March 5, 2014 at the preview of a temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment spotlighting ICE's work and accomplishments in Washington, D.C. ROBERT MACPHERSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    Employees of a Monrovia company that makes products for the U.S. military say they and more than 100 coworkers are out of jobs after a federal immigration audit.

    Some said they’d spent years working for Vinyl Technology, Inc., a company whose website lists services such as vinyl and plastic heat sealing and industrial sewing for the medical, military and aerospace industries.


    Raymundo, who said he was a supervisor, said he was recently asked by his employer to produce documents showing he could work legally — which he didn’t have.


    "They gave us like 10 days to bring the papers to the company," said Raymundo, who said he'd worked there for 18 years. "If we don't have it, we're fired."


    Raymundo said he and others were let go. He spoke while en route to collect his final paycheck.


    Another employee, Marisela, estimated that more than 150 workers lost their jobs. A company employee reached by phone declined to comment.
    ICE officials declined to confirm whether the company's employment records had been audited; they typically don’t comment unless criminal charges have been filed. But audits of military contractors are a priority, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    "Let's be honest, the employment of unauthorized workers at locations like this could post a threat to homeland security," Kice said, "and in the case of defense contractors, even endanger America's war fighters."


    At the same time, immigration audits of employers have been on the downswing. In fiscal year 2013, ICE initiated almost 4,000 worksite enforcement cases nationwide; during most of fiscal year 2014, which ends Sept. 30, the agency has initiated fewer than 2,000.


    ICE inspections of 1-9 employment verification forms have dropped from a recent high of 3,127 in fiscal year 2013 to just over 1,100 for fiscal year 2014, as of Sept. 13. Worksite enforcement-related arrests are down as well.


    Agency officials say battles over federal funding in Washington have taken a toll on resources.


    Audits of military and other federal contractors became a priority for Homeland Security officials after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, with operations targeting companies that contracted with the government. Since 2009, the Obama administration has emphasized criminal prosecution of employers who break the law; however, Kice said, those whose audits turn up illegally-employed workers are given the chance to comply, avoiding fines and other punishment.

    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/multiameri...ctor-out-of-w/

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