News/US/Puetro Rico: 2 EXECUTIVES CAUGHT IN INS NET

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Subject: News/US/Puetro Rico: 2 EXECUTIVES CAUGHT IN INS NET
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Mar 21 2000 - 08:44:10 EST


2 EXECUTIVES CAUGHT IN INS NET
By Ivan Roman
The Orlando Sentinel, March 5, 2000

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - In an unusual case, two brothers behind bars are
accused of hiring undocumented immigrants to help build the Puerto Rico
Coliseum and of personally recruiting and making arrangements to smuggle
them into the country.

U.S. attorneys plan to ask the court to deny bail Tuesday to Enrique Garcia
Bolanos, president of Huen of Puerto Rico, which subcontracted to provide
labor for the coliseum project, and Humberto Garcia Bolanos, treasurer.

The brothers were arrested last week after some of the 51 undocumented
immigrants detained by authorities a week earlier said the two recruited
them in Mexico, gave them forged documents, smuggled them into California
and flew them to Puerto Rico.

Immigration and Naturalization Service agents arrested the workers at their
lodgings - paid for by Huen - as they boarded buses to go to work in San
Juan's financial district in Hato Rey.

The two Mexican brothers, in Puerto Rico on executive visas, face 10 counts
of transporting and sheltering illegal aliens and falsifying immigration
and Social Security documents and could get up to 15 years in prison.

"Generally speaking, the employer will not be involved in doing the
smuggling him or herself," said Russ Bergeron, the INS director of media
relations. "The employer often works with an intermediary."

INS has busted complicated networks that smuggled thousands of Indians and
Chinese into the United States. Authorities have also jailed at least one
employer in Georgia for working with a smuggler to get illegal employees to
make clothes.

But employers here are rarely fined or cited for employing undocumented
workers, so this case has attracted attention.

"We're seeing if there is a pattern here or if this is an isolated case,"
said Ivan Ortiz, of the INS San Juan District.

The investigation began last year when the INS received calls from
construction workers at the $1.67 billion Urban Train Project complaining
undocumented immigrants were taking jobs there.

Site visits and investigations turned up nothing illegal at the Urban
Train, built in part by ICA Miramar Construction, a consortium between a
Mexican company and a Puerto Rican company, Ortiz said. The probe expanded
and began focusing on Huen, also a Mexican company, with which ICA Miramar
subcontracted to provide labor for the coliseum - Huen's first project
outside Mexico.

According to the criminal complaint, Enrique Garcia Bolanos, a civil
engineer in his native Mexico, went there in October 1999, told one recruit
he would smuggle him into the United States, showed him a blue card he said
would be good for employment, and asked the worker to tell others how to
prepare their cards.

Airline tickets for the workers who were arrested, a list of their names,
the canceled check used to pay for the tickets, personnel files with fake
alien registration and Social Security cards, and a telex from Mexico that
implicates Enrique Garcia Bolanos were found in his offices in San Juan.

Of the 51 arrested, 49 Mexican construction workers and one Dominican are
in an INS detention center. Twenty-two were ordered this weekend to stay as
witnesses for the trial; the others were given until March 16 to leave the
United States. A Mexican architect working with Huen was released on bond
and told to leave.

Although Mexicans represent more than half the estimated 5 million
undocumented immigrants in the United States, the arrest of Mexicans here
was unusual. The undocumented immigrants deported last year in the INS San
Juan District were predominantly Dominican - 1,673 - along with a few
people from India, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Haiti.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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