Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens

8 USC

Section 1324a states: “Any person who knowingly hires/harbors/transports any illegal alien is guilty of a felony punishable by 10 years jail + $2000 fine per illegal alien + forfeiture of the vehicle or property used to commit the crime“.

Section 1324c states, “All officers whose duty it is to enforce criminal laws shall have authority to make arrests for a violation of any provision of this section” (affirmed US v Perez-Gonzalez 2002 Fed App 0360, 6th Circ.).

Section 1644, same title states, “No local ordinance, rule, or measure shall stop law enforcement officers from enforcement of this section” (affirmed Southern District Court of NY, US v Rudy Guiliani,1996).

Crews from the Asplundh tree service inspect a oak tree after it was cut down on April 23, 2013 at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn University decided to remove the dying oaks after they were poisoned by a rival fan shortly after the 2010 Iron Bowl. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

A national tree services company will have to pay a a record fine after admitting that it engaged in a scheme to hire illegal aliens, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Asplundh Tree Expert Co., a suburban Philadelphia-based contractor that trims and removes trees around power lines, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge and was ordered to pay a total of $95 million, the biggest penalty ever levied in an immigration case.

Federal Judge John R. Padova ordered the company to pay a criminal forfeiture judgment of $80 million, plus a $15 million civil penalty to satisfy additional civil claims for failure to follow immigration law.

Asplundh hired thousands of unauthorized workers between 2010 and 2014, using knowingly fraudulent identification documents, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Prosecutors said the company’s upper management was “willfully blind,” while mid-level regional supervisors knowingly violated immigration law and hired illegal aliens.

Asplundh allegedly used word of mouth referrals instead of a systematic application process, allowing supervisors to hire a compliant workforce of illegal laborers.

This decentralized model tacitly perpetuated fraudulent hiring practices that, in turn, maximized productivity and profit,” prosecutors said in a statement. “With a motivated work force, including unauthorized aliens willing to be relocated and respond to weather related events around the nation, Asplundh had crews which were easily mobilized that enabled them to dominate the market. Asplundh provided all the incentives to managers to skirt immigration law.”

Asplundh employs 30,000 workers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to the Associated Press. The company was the subject of a six-year audit by investigators with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which discovered in 2009 that company managers were accepting sham driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, green cards and other fake identification documents.

Three Asplundh managers, including a vice president, had previous pleaded guilty to felony charges in the case, the AP reported.

Today’s judgment sends a strong, clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. “Violators who manipulate hiring laws are a pull factor for illegal immigration, and we will continue to take action to remove this magnet.”

Written by Will Racke, Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter for The Daily Caller September 29, 2017.

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3 thoughts on “Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens

  1. Jackie Juntti

    This same fate should be applied to each and EVERY employer (including those who hire nannies and lawn mowers for their private homes). The law is very clear on this matter. In spite of the many saying that our immigration laws are broken – they are NOT *broken* they simply are not being ENFORCED!!!! In addition to the fine this company was hit with – how much JAIL TIME will the owners be subjected to????

    Reply

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