Thursday, April 20, 2006


The federal Department of Homeland Security and it's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division rounded up over 1,000 undocumented immigrants Wednesday at more than 40 plants of German-based pallet maker IFCO Systems, including it's location near Bartow. Seven current and former executives of the company were also arrested in the nationwide effort.

The action was taken as DHS and the Department of Justice were preparing to announce steps to toughen internal enforcement of immigration laws.

According to CNN:

A customs official said federal authorities checked a "sample" of 5,800 IFCO employee records last year and found that 53 percent had faulty Social Security numbers.

"They were using Social Security numbers of people that were dead, of children or just different individuals that did not work at IFCO," Immigration and Customs agency chief Julie Myers told CNN.

"The Social Security Administration had written IFCO over 13 times and told them, 'Listen, You have a problem. You have over a thousand employees that have faulty Social Security numbers. And we consider that to be a big problem.' And IFCO did not do anything about it," Myers said.

Myers said a yearlong investigation revealed that IFCO managers had induced illegal immigrants to work there, telling some of them to doctor W-2 tax forms or saying that they did not need to fill out any documentation at all.

The local plant is located in the Homeland community, south of Bartow. IFCO's Web site also shows plants in Jacksonville and Tampa, which, like the Polk County location, do recycling work on pallets and crates. There was no word on if those locations were affected by the DHS/ICE raids. Officials did not release information on how many individuals were taken locally.

IFCO is considered a leader in the manafacture, recycling, and management of wooden pallets, crates, and containers.


Post a Comment

<< Home