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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Economy > Department of Homeland Security Touts Apprehension Record But Overlooks Undocumented Labor Used at Their Own Detention Facility

Department of Homeland Security Touts Apprehension Record But Overlooks Undocumented Labor Used at Their Own Detention Facility

LatinaLista — A UPI story published last week revealed that two weeks prior, the number of illegals detained nationwide surpassed 30,000.

(Source: NYTimes)
On the heels of this revelation is news that the Williamson County, Texas commissioners voted to extend the contract of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and keep the “family” immigrant detention facility, T. Don Hutto, opened until Jan. 2009.
The agreement was reached after a series of demands from the commissioners were met by the CCA.
And though Homeland Security would like to eradicate undocumented workers from U.S. territory, the reality is it’s everywhere — even at the very detention facilities meant to scare them from coming back to the US.


It seems undocumented workers were found to be working at the T. Don Hutto facility last spring.

In a letter dated May 23, 2007 to Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis, Senior, Contracting Officer Susan D. Erickson with the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) writes, “There have been two other recent incidents whereby CCA has contracted for services they have been performed by workers that are not legally authorized to work.” CCA is Corrections Corporation of America, the private jail firm that operates the T Don Hutto Residential Center. ICE is contracted with Williamson County. The county, in turn, is contracted with CCA.
In a written response, dated May 26, 2007, Acting Administrator of the facility Evelyn Hernandez with CCA says, “CCA contracted for services that were performed by workers not legally authorized to work in the US.” Hernandez then goes on to list what actions the company is taking to insure this does not happen again.

But are these workers criminals in the sense the word is used to refer to predatory individuals who prey on others?
Of course not. Otherwise, there would be a lot more alarm.
Whether it’s liked or not, undocumented immigrant labor is so pervasive, so essential and so taken for granted that when it’s discovered, it startles people more than outrages them.
Yet, the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t want mild acceptance of undocumented immigrants on the part of the public. It makes their job easier if there is public outrage.
Talk radio and cable talk shows fill that bill but what can the DHS do to also stir the pot of intimidation and fear — release their 2007 factsheet on immigration enforcement.

On the surface, it looks straightforward but a closer examination shows that DHS refers to every undocumented immigrant as a “gang member” or “violent gang members” and their “associates.”
In fact, this terminology is used so frequently in the preceding bullet points that when it comes to a factoid about your regular undocumented worker, they are referred to as “criminal aliens.”
The term technically is correct but the impression that this category is on the same level as “violent gang members and their associates” is not.
But there won’t be that clarification in this DHS paper. It’s meant to mislead, alarm and prove DHS is keeping the country safe.
They were doing such a good job that they didn’t even know when a facility they were accountable for employed these same people.
It’s one thing to enforce the law but it’s another to villify a people whose only crime is that they crossed a line in the sand or on a river bottom.

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Comment(26)

  • Horace
    November 6, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    “In a written response, dated May 26, 2007, Acting Administrator of the facility Evelyn Hernandez with CCA says, “CCA contracted for services that were performed by workers not legally authorized to work in the US.” Hernandez then goes on to list what actions the company is taking to insure this does not happen again.”
    A case of an Hispanic, Evelyn Hernandez, et al, hiring illegal aliens. What a surprise!
    “It’s one thing to enforce the law but it’s another to villify a people whose only crime is that they crossed a line in the sand or on a river bottom.”
    Let’s see, they probably conspired to commit fraud by obtaining fraudulent work documents. Isn’t that something that a citizen would go to prison for? There you go again, suggesting we abandon our laws for those not entitled to be or work in this country. These people villify themselves and have only themselves to blame for their lack of courage to challenge their own government for social justice. If our Founding Fathers had taken that approach, the patriots of 1776 would have abandoned the colonies rather than challenge the mother country. Most Americans are disgusted with the patronizing and paternalistic attitudes of illegal alien advocates.

  • Frank
    November 6, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    You want to talk about misleading statements? How about the pro-illegals calling illegal aliens, undocumented workers? LOL! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
    They were misdeamenor criminals when they crossed that “line in the sand”. So criminal is not an incorrect statement either. Many commit much more serious criminal acts after crossing that line by I.D. theft, working here against our labor and immigration laws and even more serious crimes also.

  • Horace
    November 6, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    “It’s one thing to enforce the law but it’s another to villify a people whose only crime is that they crossed a line in the sand or on a river bottom.”
    WWII started with the Germans crossing an artificial boundary between their country and Poland. People are proprietary when it comes to their homelands, even Mexicans. As a matter of fact, judging by their punitive medieval immigration laws, they’re far more xenophobic than Americans, which makes them the biggest hypocrites in the world when it comes to whining about our immigration laws. If Mexicans want mercy from our citizens, they could at least be as merciful as they would have us be. Mexico is a democracy, so mercy is well within the power of their people to grant.
    Save your appeals for pity, as we’ve heard it all before during the last decade. The numbers of illegal immigrants in this country has reached a critical mass, and there’s no stopping the people from demanding and achieving the enforcement of their immigration laws.

  • yave begnet
    November 6, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    A case of an Hispanic, Evelyn Hernandez, et al, hiring illegal aliens. What a surprise!
    So your solution is what, to keep Hispanics out of government positions? Are you suggesting that everyone hiring out-of-status workers is Hispanic? That dog won’t hunt–it’s mostly white men like me running America’s corporations, and they’re the ones hiring immigrant workers.
    Most Americans are disgusted with the patronizing and paternalistic attitudes of illegal alien advocates.
    Unsupported. Also as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, “illegal alien” is a term of lobbyists, not of government immigration agencies.
    The “hypocritical Mexican government” trope is a favorite, and usually a non sequiter. Regardless of where the conversation begins, for you it always ends with Mexico and Mexicans. In case you missed it, the point of this post was how Immigration Customs and Enforcement is hiring out-of-status workers to staff its detention facilities. But let’s focus on the hypocrisy of Mexico instead …
    ICE better hope it has no detention facilities in OK, or that other states don’t pass OK-style laws criminalizing the transportation of out-of-status workers. If so, we can expect to see ICE employees going to jail for carpooling. We are in a very nonsensical place right now. Someone please turn off the crazy, I’ve had enough.

  • Maldonado
    November 7, 2007 at 7:36 am

    Click HERE frank

  • Maldonado
    November 7, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Simple: “A case of an Hispanic, Evelyn Hernandez, et al, hiring illegal aliens. What a surprise!”
    Actually she’s just an overseer. A guy named wedell has the bulk of the voting stock and he’s definitely not Hispanic, he’s probably a guess what LoL

  • Frank
    November 7, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Maldonado, I am not a redneck nor are most Americans opposed to illegal immigration. But since the pro-illegals have no viable arguments to support the illegal invasion of our country, they like to paint a distorted picture of those of us for the rule of law. Its getting old, Maldonado.

  • Honey
    November 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    yave begnet wrote:
    Also as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, “illegal alien” is a term of lobbyists, not of government immigration agencies.
    Uh, no. I work for a government immigration agency and “illegal alien” is the correct term.

  • yave begnet
    November 7, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    I work for a government immigration agency and “illegal alien” is the correct term.
    Which agency and point to your cite please.
    “Illegal alien” is nowhere to be found in the INA or implementing regs.

  • Horace
    November 7, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Spitting in the wind again, eh yeve? You discover a new term and suddenly you go on an inane crusade to convert everyone to your semantics. Can’t you tell that no one really cares? The use of the term illegal alien fits the public temperment exactly and it won’t matter a bit how much you jabber to the contrary. I haven’t seen you correct any of you advocate friends when they use the term undocumented immigrant, which I presume that you now find to be inaccurate. Are you correcting La Raza by telling them to use the term out-of-status? Why not? If its good enough for us, then it’s good enough for them? Your buddy Kyle, over at the Orange blog likes the term migrant instead of immigrant, and he will fight anyone ad nauseum to have his way. How foolish you both are, as it matters not to the rest of us what they are called. Maybe all of you should take a poll of all the illegal alien advocates and decide on a name.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 7, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Illegal Aliens Defined
    By Mike Cutler
    illegal (adj.): not according to or authorized by law: unlawful, illicit; also: not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)
    An interesting editorial ran in the New York Times about a week ago. Written by Lawrence Downs, it glosses over many facts where illegal immigration is concerned. Had Al Gore not written a book about global warming entitled “An Inconvenient Truth,” that title would serve this debate quite well.
    It is important to understand that the folks who advocate for open borders and essentially uncontrolled immigration use two primary tactics to further their agendas. They either resort to an Orwellian “Newspeak,” or, they accurately define a problem that presents a significant dilemma, but then propose a solution that makes no sense and may well exacerbate the original problem. This enables such deceptive individuals with the opportunity to push a “solution” that furthers their goals.
    In considering the first tactic of using false language to obfuscate an issue, I would point to former President Jimmy Carter, who began this process where illegal immigration is concerned. He demanded that (former) INS employees stop using the term illegal alien and replace it with the more genteel (and clearly deceptive) term undocumented worker. The current occupant of the White House, George W. Bush, has offered to “legalize the immigrants,” a statement that is amazing when you consider that this is the equivalent of offering to “make water wet.” Immigrants are legal: they have green cards and they are on the path to United States citizenship. They can bring their immediate family members legally to the United States as immigrants in their own right. They can take virtually any job they are qualified to do. How much more legal would the President make them? In point of fact, he was really saying that he wanted to make illegal aliens legal, but apparently understood the reaction to such an offer would have been swift, overwhelming and rancorous.

  • Honey
    November 7, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    In answer to your first question: I work for the US Attorney’s Office in a Border State. While this office prosecutes a majority of crimes, the emphasis is on prosecuting illegal immigration. Answering your second question:
    Excerpts from the U.S. legal code referring to hiring illegal aliens.
    Federal Immigration and Nationality Act
    Section 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii)
    “Any person who . . . encourages or induces an illegal alien to . . . reside . . . knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such . . . residence is . . . in violation of law, shall be punished as provided . . . for each illegal alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs . . . fined under title 18 . . . imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”
    Section 274 felonies under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, INA 274A(a)(1)(A):
    A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when she or he:
    assists an illegal alien s/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment, or
    encourages that illegal alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
    knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
    Penalties upon conviction include criminal fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of vehicles and real property used to commit the crime. Anyone employing or contracting with an illegal alien without verifying his or her work authorization status is guilty of a misdemeanor. Aliens and employers violating immigration laws are subject to arrest, detention, and seizure of their vehicles or property. In addition, individuals or entities who engage in racketeering enterprises that commit (or conspire to commit) immigration-related felonies are subject to private civil suits for treble damages and injunctive relief.
    Recruitment and Employment of Illegal Aliens
    It is unlawful to hire an alien, to recruit an alien, or to refer an illegal alien for a fee, knowing the illegal alien is unauthorized to work in the United States. It is equally unlawful to continue to employ an illegal alien knowing that the illegal alien is unauthorized to work.
    It is unlawful to hire any individual for employment in the United States without complying with employment eligibility verification requirements. Requirements include examination of identity documents and completion of Form I-9 for every employee hired. Employers must retain all I-9s, and, with three days’ advance notice, the forms must be made available for inspection. Employment includes any service or labor performed for any type of remuneration within the United States, with the exception of sporadic domestic service by an individual in a private home. “Day laborers” or other casual workers engaged in any compensated activity (with the above exception) are employees for purposes of immigration law. An employer includes an agent or anyone acting directly or indirectly in the interest of the employer. For purposes of verification of authorization to work, employer also means an independent contractor, or a contractor other than the person using the illegal alien labor.
    Notice the term “illegal alien” in the Federal Code.

  • EYES OF TEXAS
    November 8, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Honey, the words are sweet and true, but they will continue to do their spin and continue to use labels that do not have the word “illegal” in it. Illegal is what they are, and will always be, no matter what name they use to disguise the fact they have broken the law by entering our country improperly.

  • yave begnet
    November 8, 2007 at 10:08 am

    (This comment didn’t go through the first time, so I’ll try again–hopefully it wont end up posted twice.)
    In response to Honey, I’m looking for 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii)
    on the Cornell LII site and can’t find any such provision.
    Also, there’s no mention of “illegal aliens” anywhere in 8 USC 1324.
    Nor any mention of the term in INA 274A.
    Yes, it’s used in the US Code in places, but not in the INA, and it’s not a term of immigration law and hence it’s not a term an immigration judge or the BIA (or an AUSA in federal immigration litigation) would use in referring to someone not lawfully present in this country.
    It looks to me like you inserted the term yourself in the citations above. I hope you are more careful in your work at the DOJ than what you’ve displayed here, if that’s really where you work.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 8, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f3829c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=f3829c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD
    Immigration and Nationality Act
    The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952. Before the INA, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The Act has been amended many times over the years, but is still the basic body of immigration law.
    The INA is divided into titles, chapters, and sections. Although it stands alone as a body of law, the Act is also contained in the United States Code (U.S.C.). The code is a collection of all the laws of the United States. It is arranged in fifty subject titles by general alphabetic order. Title 8 of the U.S. Code is but one of the fifty titles and deals with “Aliens and Nationality”. When browsing the INA or other statutes you will often see reference to the U.S. Code citation. For example, Section 208 of the INA deals with asylum, and is also contained in 8 U.S.C. 1158. Although it is correct to refer to a specific section by either its INA citation or its U.S. code, the INA citation is more commonly used.

  • yave begnet
    November 8, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I’m not quite sure what you are saying, Liquidmicro, but to reiterate my point above, those portions of the US Code that use the term “illegal alien” are not part of the INA.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 8, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    I think Honey pulled this up and is using this as her base for argument.
    http://www.americanpatrol.com/REFERENCE/AidAbetUnlawfulSec8USC1324.html
    If this is the case, Honey, you are not helping matters for our side, if its not the case, then please post the links to verify your info from a Gov’t. source.

  • Liquidmicro
    November 8, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    The only place I could find reference with the term ‘Illegal Alien’ is at
    http://www.ilw.com/immigdaily/news/2005,0726-crs.pdf
    which is a report for congress which states: 8 U.S.C. § 1324a. For employment purposes, an “unauthorized alien” is one who is not at a
    particular time either: (a) lawfully admitted for permanent residence or (b) authorized to be so
    employed by law or by the Attorney General. 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(3). Thus, the term covers, e.g.,
    illegal aliens and certain aliens here temporarily whose status does not permit them to work (i.e.,
    tourists).

  • Horace
    November 8, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    I’m sure that the semantics of the use of the terms illegal alien, undocumented immigrant, and unauthorized entrant are going to prove crucial in the fate of illegal aliens in this country, not!

  • Honey
    November 8, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    No, I did not use americanpatrol.com. The site I used was not a government site. I realized that after I posted. However, I did find this site useful and and is a government site and does use the term “illegal alien’ as does other government sites. http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?getdoc+uscview+t05t08+4784+6++%28illegal%20alien%29%20%20AND%20%28%288%29%20ADJ%20USC%29%3ACITE%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20. You can find the same informtion on this site:
    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode08/usc_sec_08_00001365—-000-.html
    Whether or not the term “illegal alien” is used in the code, a person who entered this country illegally (illegal) and is foreign born (alien) is an illegal alien.

  • EYES OF TEXAS
    November 9, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Get’um Honey, but it’s like banging your head against the wall. The term is not used by them folks because it hits too close to home. The word “illegal” means a sick bird and “aliens” only come from outer space in their world. But don’t get discouraged, help is on the way once the Save Act becomes law.

  • Horace
    November 9, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    “The “hypocritical Mexican government” trope is a favorite, and usually a non sequiter.”
    Actually, one could leave out every other argument about illegal immigration and boil the issue down to the fact that it is primarily the failure of the Mexcian government to provide for decent employment for its citizens. If we agreed on this we wouldn’t be having this discussion, as this is a Mexican problem.
    And yeve, if you use the English language, use it correctly. How is “trope” applicable to this discussion?
    Definition of trope: In linguistics, trope is a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words, i.e., using a word in a way other than what is considered its literal or normal form. The other major category of figures of speech is the scheme, which involves changing the pattern of words in a sentence.

  • yave begnet
    November 9, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Merriam Webster: trope:
    1 b: a common or overused theme or device : cliché

  • Frank
    November 10, 2007 at 8:16 am

    It isn’t an overused term, it is the government term to describe those in our country without papers. It isn’t a cliche either. I sure see a lot of over usage of the term, “undocumented worker” when you consider that is not the proper definition for an illegal alien. Some aren’t even working.

  • Horace
    November 10, 2007 at 9:53 am

    How is the fact that the Mexican government criticizes the U.S. for its illegal alien policies, yet takes no action to improve the socioeconomic conditions for it own people, a trope? Illegal immigration is the national shame of Mexico, yet you can’t admit it. Are you arguing that it is not true? If true, then why ridicule it by dismissing it as a “trope”. You can’t win arguments by arbitrarily dismissing them.

  • Maldonado
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