The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has arrested 77 illegal aliens who were working on the construction of major bridges in four southern states.
The investigation centered on construction projects that included:
- The rebuilding of the Huey P. Long bridge in Jefferson Parish, LA;
- Rebuilding of the Mississippi-Arkansas bridge in Greenville, MS;
- The Interstate 40 Seismic retrofit in Memphis, TN; and
- Rebuilding of the U.S.-90 bridge in Gulfport, MS, and he Louisiana 1 bridge in Leeville, LA.
According to an ICE news release, the federal agency spent five months investigating Tarrasco Steel of Greenville, MS, on allegations of falsifying I-9 employment eligibility forms. The workers were arrested on Thursday, March 29, the same morning Tarrasco Steel offices were searched by ICE agents.
Tarrasco Steel provided steel re-bar and employees for the construction jobs, and investigators determined the employees did not have proper welding certifications, the news release stated.
“While there is no reason to believe that these individuals had ill intent against our country, they could have, because of their illegal status, been susceptible to blackmail from individuals wanting to hurt Americans,” said Michael A. Holt, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans, in the release.
The 76 men and one woman arrested last week will face charges for violating U.S. immigration laws, and the news release said ICE is seeking prosecution for 10 of the illegal aliens that used fraudulent social security information.