From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6626823

Border Fence Firm Snared for Hiring Illegal Workers

by Scott Horsley / December 14, 2006

A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5
million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the
company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company’s work
includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.

After an immigration check in 1999 found undocumented workers on its
payroll, Golden State promised to clean house. But when followup checks
were made in 2004 and 2005, some of those same illegal workers were
still on the job. In fact, U-S Attorney Carol Lam says as many as a
third of the company’s 750 workers may have been in the country
illegally.

Golden State Fence built millions of dollars’ worth of fencing around
homes, offices, and military bases. Its president and one of its
Southern California managers will pay fines totaling $300,000. The
government is also recommending jail time for Melvin Kay and Michael
McLaughlin, probably about six months.

It is exceptionally rare for those who employ illegal immigrants to
face any kind of criminal prosecution, let alone jail time. Earlier
this week, for example, immigration raids on six meat-packing plants
netted almost 1,300 suspected illegal workers. But no charges were
leveled against the company that runs the plants: Swift.

Golden State Fence’s attorney, Richard Hirsch, admits his client broke
the law. But he says the case proves that construction companies need a
guest-worker program.