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  1. #1
    Senior Member swatchick's Avatar
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    U.S. Senator Aided Foreign Workers

    http://cbs4.com/iteam/Senator.LeMieux.V ... 63061.html

    I-Team: LeMieux's Firm Aided Foreign Workers
    Jim DeFede
    MIAMI (CBS4 I-TEAM) ―

    The law firm led by newly appointed U.S. Senator George LeMieux was responsible for securing dozens of visas for foreign workers to enter the country and help construct the St. Regis hotel and condominiums in Bal Harbour – a move that left American sheet metal workers out of a job.

    LeMieux is chairman of Gunster Yoakley, a Ft. Lauderdale-based law firm which specializes in helping companies hire foreigners to replace American workers inside the United States.

    In the case of the St. Regis project, Gunster Yoakley represented CYVSA International, a Mexican sheet metal firm which wanted to bring its own workforce into the country.

    As the CBS4 I-Team showed in a series of stories earlier this year, the foreign workers were paid substantially less than what American sheet metal workers would be paid. The foreign workers also claimed they were required to work overtime without compensation.

    In order to secure the visas, Gunster Yoakley attorneys argued in its applications to officials in Tallahassee and Washington that American workers weren't available for the project, even though unemployment in the construction industry is at an all time high, and there are as many as 2,000 unemployed sheet metal workers in South Florida, according to officials with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

    "If Mr. LeMieux facilitated visas for foreign workers while we're in the crisis we are in, it seems to me he really shouldn't be in the position of senator," said Carlos Rivas, a member of Union Local 32. "I would love to have him over to the union hall and meet some of the guys and explain himself as to why he let those guys into the country while 200 of my guys are in line waiting for a job."

    Added Mike Demirgian, a local unemployed sheet metal worker: "He has really done some damage to the average American worker."

    In addition to requesting basic guest worker visas (known as H2B visas), a special plea was also made to the State Department, arguing that the foreign sheet metal workers should be allowed to enter the country because they possessed unique skills that no American worker would have.

    The workers were ultimately given these so-called "E" visas which, according to the State Department's website, are reserved for "persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics." Certain executives of multi-national corporations could also qualify, as could others who, in the words of the State Department, possess "highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm."

    CBS4 News, however interviewed workers from the job site who maintained the foreign workers had no special skills and that their tools and techniques were outdated.

    Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – whose district includes the St. Regis construction site – blasted the use of foreign workers on the project.

    "How can you bring folks from another country – no dis on Mexico – to do this construction project when you have so many folks here who could use the work," she said back in March. "It leads me to think that something is happening below the surface and were not being told the truth. Something happened along the way that this company has a cozy relationship with certain bureaucrats who give out these visas."

    Told this week that it was LeMieux's law firm that was lurking below the surface, engineering the visas for the foreign workers, the Republican Congresswoman grew defensive.

    "I don't know George LeMieux," she said. "I'm not defending George LeMieux. I'm not attacking him. Law firms have lots of clients. I don't criticize law firms for the clients they have."

    But she added: "Shame on anyone who was involved in scamming the system."

    Neither LeMieux nor officials for Gunster Yoakley responded to questions about the extent of LeMieux's involvement in securing the visas for the foreign workers. A spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Crist also refused to comment.

    Gunster Yoakley officials also did not respond to questions about other clients it may have represented on visa issues. Nor would the firm say how many visas it has helped obtain for foreign workers to come into the United States.

    It's website, however, makes clear it specializes in immigration law.

    The website features an entire section dedicated to immigration laws relating to hiring and recruiting foreign workers. "Gunster's Immigration practice develops comprehensive and pragmatic strategies to further the business objectives of clients who require the services of foreign nationals," the website boasts.

    Gunster Yoakley's motto: "Florida's Lawyers For Business."

    During a trip to Miami earlier this year, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced that she would be asking the Department of Homeland Security to review how the visas were granted and whether there was any fraud. "We will take a very, very close look and a very keen eye and go through and see if there is any discrepancies," she said. "But rest assured we will take a strong view on that."

    She also added that she wanted to make sure that cases like this one "don't happen and that we avoid them" in the future.

    A spokeswoman for DHS and Immigration and Custom Enforcement refused to comment Thursday.

    After CBS4 News first reported on the foreign workers arrival in the country, the workers were sent home to Mexico and work on the St. Regis project slowly ground to a halt as its developer, Jorge Perez, has undergone some well publicized financial troubles.

    Although the foreign workers may be gone, the issue is still very much alive. As a senator, LeMieux will almost certainly face a push toward immigration reform, including a review of guest worker laws.

    His views on immigration reform are unknown, leaving many to draw their own conclusions based on the practices of his law firm.

    "We're very concerned," said Rivas, the union representative. "Especially if he's against labor and pro-foreign workers. It's going to have an impact on us. He can do a lot of damage in the next year and a half."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    thank Charlie Christ for this FOOL!!!

    America, Christ as well as Jeb Bush are a disaster, at least as far as America go's ... Both Are MEGA Globalists and cannot be allowed to advance to the White House or to the Senate as Christ is positioning himself for

    they need to be thrown out with the trash
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
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    I assume this appointment is the replacement for Mel.
    Crist was a pretty good AG, from what I saw and I would get his press releases weekly. And Jebby did a better job than FEMA responding to the hurricanes of 2004-05.
    Recall this guy immediately, as someone seems to have poisons the water in the gov's mansion.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  5. #5
    Senior Member florgal's Avatar
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    Ah, so Charlie boy's place holder is a POS traitor to the American people.


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AirborneSapper7
    thank Charlie Christ for this FOOL!!!

    America, Christ as well as Jeb Bush are a disaster, at least as far as America go's ... Both Are MEGA Globalists and cannot be allowed to advance to the White House or to the Senate as Christ is positioning himself for

    they need to be thrown out with the trash
    You are so right with your reply!! I am willing to bet that if Jeb were to run for president that the same dipshi*s that voted for Bush under religious pretenses would do the same for Jeb. After all, the whole meaning of life is your religion vs my religion
    We see so many tribes overrun and undermined

    While their invaders dream of lands they've left behind

    Better people...better food...and better beer...

    Why move around the world when Eden was so near?
    -Neil Peart from the song Territories&

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