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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Illegals in coal mines spark disagreement

    Illegals in coal mines spark disagreement

    Kris Wise
    Daily Mail staff

    Friday September 15, 2006
    Officials with the United Mine Workers of America say the problem of illegal immigrants working in West Virginia coal mines is becoming more prevalent.

    Coal operators and state safety officials disagree, arguing that West Virginia's certification processes should make it next to impossible for such a population to get jobs in the industry.

    The recent death of a Raleigh County child has brought the issue to the forefront of talks about safety in the state's mines.

    Four-year-old Tyler Evans died after his father's pickup was hit by another pickup on W.Va. 3. The man driving the other pickup, Christian Javier Sanchez-Rubio, has been charged with causing a death while driving drunk. Sanchez-Rubio, who went by the name of Jose Carlos Madrigal, was an illegal immigrant who worked in area mines.

    Police say Sanchez-Rubio had a fake Green Card and a Mexican driver's license.

    Around the time of the crash, he was employed by Minserco, a Milwaukee-based mine services contractor that repairs equipment in mines across West Virginia.

    "We had heard this had been going on, that there were problems with it more and more," said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. "I don't know that anybody can put a finger on how many mines this is happening in, but we're guessing this is a problem we're probably going to be seeing a lot more of unless we address it."

    Executives at Minserco, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bucyrus International, said this is the first time they know of that they've hired an illegal immigrant as an employee.

    Kent Henschen, director of marketing and corporate communications for Bucyrus, said Thursday that Sanchez-Rubio came to company officials in West Virginia looking for work.

    "We didn't bring him there, so to speak," Henschen said.

    He said the man had worked elsewhere in the country in mines where Minserco was a contractor. He was in the Raleigh County area helping Minserco fix a dragline used in a mine, although Henschen did not know which mine.

    "He did have a legitimate Social Security card and we did have a copy of his INS card," Henschen said.

    The cards, however, were in the name Sanchez-Rubio apparently was known by in the area, Jose Carlos Madrigal.

    "We follow the guidelines established by the INS and the Social Security Administration, and it hasn't been a problem for us before now," Henschen said. "As a good corporate citizen, we will be checking to see if changes need to be made, but this is the first time we've encountered a problem like this. It calls for us to take a look at what we're going, but whether we are going to make substantial changes I can't say yet."

    Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said Thursday he does not think the state's mine industry is an employment haven for illegal immigrants.

    "I think it's something that seems to rise in its evidence in terms of being on everybody's conversation lists right now, but in talking with people I don't hear of it as being a problem in terms of coal producing companies," Raney said. "I've checked periodically over the past several months as to whether they're getting an influx, and typically there are job fairs being held out in the mine communities and they're attempting to get as many local people as possible."

    Raney, along with the state's mine safety officials, said any person who works in a state underground or surface mine has to pass an English-only written exam.

    "All the tests that are required to get either your surface mining card or your apprentice card, you have to have a pretty good command of the English language," Raney said.

    The state, however, relies on coal mine operators to verify that each applicant has proper identification and proof of citizenship.

    Employees who work for companies that contract or subcontract work at the mines, such as electrical engineering or equipment repair like Minserco, also do not have to take a state-administered test and they are not registered with the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, spokeswoman Caryn Gresham said.

    These workers typically are not working inside the state's mines or with mining crews, she said.

    Still, union officials said the state should be more vigilant about

    "It's an issue that's a concern both in union mines and especially in non-union mines, frankly," said Smith, the UMW spokesman.

    "When people are working underground, they need to be able to respond to safety commands and communications quickly," he said. "I'm sure many (illegal immigrants) are English speaking, but it does become a problem when many of them probably aren't fluent in the language and I'm sure that frequently is the case. If they don't understand the language, that places them and other people at risk."

    Smith also cited concerns about illegal workers bringing down the pay scale in an industry on which many in West Virginia depend.

    "There are plenty of people in southern West Virginia and Kentucky who would be willing to take those jobs," Smith said. "Part of the problem when you start bringing in folks who are willing to work for lower wages, that causes a problem for everybody when it comes to pay."

    Contact writer Kris Wise at or 348-1244.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    I am beginning to think their motto is Get Drunk and Drive. I hope that this company doesn't get away with their little "I didn't know" side step.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  3. #3
    Senior Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Five years ago when the Kentucky Coal Association anounced a shortage of workers I tried bringing in some legally from Ukraine. There was some interest on the part of the association but the story got picked up by the press.

    There was some backlash in the hills and in the end the issue was English fluency. The mine companies are unwilling to hire anyone who can not pass OSHA ESL testing for underground work. It is one thing to understand mine orders the English is simple, to explain an accident is much more difficult.

    I got the impression that the reason KCA had announced a coal mine workers shortage and the possible hiring of Ukrainians was in order to pay less in wages to Americans.

    It would be possible to hire foreigners with limited English for above ground used equipment repair. Part of the objectives of the Ukraine coal miners was to bring used American equipment home to their mines.
    I support enforcement and see its lack as bad for the 3rd World as well. Remittances are now mostly spent on consumption not production assets. Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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