Wal-Mart clean sweep nets 300 illegal workers

| Monday, October 27, 2003

Federal officials claim Wal-Mart officials knew of immigration violations before federal agents raided the company’s headquarters and 60 of its stores Oct. 23, arresting more than 300 illegal workers, The Associated Press reported.

The workers were members of cleaning crews hired by outside contractors, but unidentified federal law enforcement officials said Wal-Mart knew of the violations. They cited recordings of meetings and conversations among Wal-Mart executives, managers and contractors.

"We have seen no evidence of this from the INS, and, if that turns out to be true, we will cooperate fully with law-enforcement officials," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said.

The workers were arrested as they finished their night shifts at Wal-Mart stores in 21 states. Agents also hauled away several boxes of documents from an executive's office at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville.

An employer can face civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants or failing to comply with certain employee recordkeeping regulations.