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|2/22 Alert! Immigration raids sweep through SoCal eateries!
Released 22 February 2007  By Nicole Gaouette And Adam Schreck - Los Angeles Times
Immigration raids sweep through SoCal eateries
By Nicole Gaouette And Adam Schreck, Los Angeles Times
February 22, 2007
WASHINGTON -- In a nationwide sweep across 17 states and the District of Columbia, immigration officials descended on popular eateries like Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood, arrested almost 200 illegal immigrants working for a janitorial company and filed criminal charges against its top three officials.
Agents targeted Florida-based Rosenbaum-Cunningham International Inc., raiding establishments like the ESPN Zone in 63 locations, including locations in Arcadia, West Hollywood, Anaheim, Ontario, Orange, Irvine and San Diego.
The firm's officials were charged with crimes that range from evading $18 million in taxes to directing a manager to obtain 20 fake "green cards," or visas, for cleaning crews at a Michigan resort -- then rewarding that manager with a $1,000 bonus for doing so. Company officials used the tax funds to buy themselves race horses, lavish homes and luxury boats and to pay college tuition for their children.
The raids were the latest high-profile attempt by the Bush administration to bolster its enforcement credentials as Congress and the White House gear up for another round of immigration debate that is expected to begin in weeks.
Critics, many within the president's own party, have assailed the administration for its support of an immigration overhaul that would give some illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship, calling instead for an "enforcement-first" approach that would ensure border and work site security.
Today in Washington, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary Julie Myers unveiled a 23-count indictment against Richard Rosenbaum, Edward Cunningham and Carolyn Flocken, issuing criminal charges that she said would have bite. And she issued a tacit warning to other companies when she praised Grand Traverse Resort, the western Michigan hotel where ICE focused its investigation.
"We stand ready to work with honest companies, who want to work with us and do the right thing," Myers said.
Arrests on Wednesday night and this morning have also netted at least 195 illegal immigrants to date.
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