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Published:November 14th, 2007 15:39 EST

15 illegal aliens unlawfully employed at Louisville-area restaurants arrested by ICE

By SOP newswire

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Fifteen illegal alien restaurant workers were arrested in the Louisville area Wednesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents as part of an ongoing criminal worksite enforcement investigation.

The illegal workers, 10 men and five women, were all employed at two Chinese restaurants located in the Louisville metropolitan area. They are in ICE custody for immigration violations. Louisville ICE agents made the arrests as they executed five federal search warrants at two restaurants and three residences as part of an ongoing criminal worksite investigation.

The federal search warrants were executed at Jumbo Buffet, 1218 Market St., and a residence located at 1615 Crystal Drive, both in La Grange. Additional search warrants were executed at the China Star Buffet and Grill, 317 Kentucky Home Square, and a duplex residence located at 121-123 Caldwell, all in Bardstown.

ICE agents initiated the investigation in December 2006 after receiving credible information that illegal aliens were knowingly employed at the restaurants. Further investigation revealed that the restaurant workers were all housed at the residences that were searched this morning.

All those arrested are being processed; they will be placed into deportation proceedings for violating U.S. immigration laws. Ten of those arrested are Chinese nationals; all others arrested are from Mexico.

"ICE aggressively targets employers who egregiously violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal alien workforce," said Jerry Phillips, resident agent-in-charge of the ICE office of investigations in Louisville. "Today's enforcement action demonstrates firsthand how we use our investigative tools to pursue those who take advantage of illegal labor for profit."

During fiscal year 2007, ICE arrested 863 individuals on criminal charges in worksite investigations, and administratively apprehended another 4,077 illegal workers on immigration violations. These arrests have increased significantly when compared to the 160 criminal arrests and 685 administrative arrests ICE made in fiscal year 2004.

Since it was created in March 2003, ICE has dramatically enhanced its efforts to combat illegal aliens unlawfully working in the United States. ICE's comprehensive strategy for effective worksite enforcement is aimed at promoting national security, protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring fair labor standards. Under this strategy, ICE especially targets unscrupulous employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. ICE seeks to criminally prosecute these employers and pursue forfeiture of their illegally obtained assets. Criminally charging culpable individuals may also deter others involved in hiring illegal aliens.

This remains an ongoing investigation.

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