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August 21, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Danny’s Car Wash Immigration Raids

  |   Video
  • Sixteen Danny’s Car Washes were raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over the weekend. That occurred after a two-year investigation which alleges the company hired back many of the 900 employees they fired two years ago following a federal audit that revealed those workers were in the country illegally. The 78-count indictment alleges document fraud and i.d. theft, and targeted managers of the company. That is different than previous raids conducted by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which targeted workers. Here to talk about the raids is immigration attorney Liz Chatham, who is also the Arizona Chapter Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
  • Liz Chatham - Immigration Attorney and Arizona Chapter Chair, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: immigration, workers, employees,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents rated 16 Danny's Car Wash locations over the weekend. The company is accused of rehiring hundreds of known undocumented workers. 78 count indictments targeted managers of the company with documented fraud and I.D. theft. Here to talk about the raid is immigration attorney Elizabeth Chatham who chairs the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Good to see you, thanks for being here.

Elizabeth Chatham: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: So what exactly does the indictment allege? What went on here?

Elizabeth Chatham: This particular indictment was done by ICE, the enforcement arm of Department of Homeland Security. They went to the different car washes because they believed that there were unauthorized workers that were hired by the employer, and that the employer assisted or they were involved in creating false documentation in order to hire them. Part of why this is so serious is because these workers were originally identified as not having proper work authorization, and the employer made a decision to let them go. And now subsequently they were rehired. There were allegations that these workers didn't cure the defect and get proper documentation. There were fraudulent documentation that was created.

Ted Simons: Workers were rehired under different names and different I.D.s, these were workers the Feds were already aware of because they went to Danny's a couple of years ago and said, this isn't working, get rid of these folks. And allegedly Danny's just rehired them.

Elizabeth Chatham: Right, that is what's being presented in the indictment documentation. It's a pretty serious violation that they are involving not just immigration violations, but employment and labor laws, tax evasion, and conspiracy, which are criminal allegations. There's a whole host of a variety of federal charges, and they were primarily focusing on managers and management of the employers. And that's why this is so serious because they were knowingly hiring and engaging in these violations.

Ted Simons: So supervisors and managers targeted here, were there any charges against workers that you're aware of?

Elizabeth Chatham: The focus of the investigation was not the workers. There were over 200 employees interviewed by ICE. They were determined to either have proper work authorization or not to have proper work authorization. And then 179 were taken in for processing and ultimately they were let go. No charges were filed against them. There were 30 that had prior criminal or prior immigration violations, and those folks were being processed, either they were being held in detention or they were ordered removed.

Ted Simons: Were they aware of the managers' and supervisors' alleged actions? And does that even matter?

Elizabeth Chatham: It seems to me as someone who does help employers through an I-9 Audit, that if the employer chose to terminate employment, there probably was some sort of communication about why it is that these employees are being let go. They have may have approached the worker and asked, can you prove to us that you are who you say you are. Either that person may not have come back the next day, or they may have told the employer, I don't have the documents that you are requesting. There probably was an exchange of information. I would say the workers more than likely were aware.

Ted Simons: What about the owner of the car wash? Any charges against him?

Elizabeth Chatham: Not that I have seen. This is still an ongoing investigation. They still have to see who the players were. It really identifies and focuses on managers. If the employer knew and participated and did nothing to prevent it, there could be further charges.

Ted Simons: How unusual was this action? And does this signal some kind of a shift in ICE strategy?

Elizabeth Chatham: I think it’s unusual. I haven't seen this large scale of an ICE raid in Arizona in recent history. Normally you hear about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's worksite raids, where he seems to target the employees for identity theft and they might be arrested and they may have an immigration impact whether or not they are convicted of an ICE charge. Here, the difference is that they are focusing on the employer. The analogy would be, are you mowing the lawn or pulling the weeds? ICE is trying to pull the weeds and really clean up what they think is a problem. The problem being employers knowingly hiring an unauthorized workforce.

Ted Simons: So with that thought, do you think ICE is sending a message here?

Elizabeth Chatham: I do. I don't think this is the last type of worksite enforcement that we’re going to see, I think there’s going to be several more. I think they are going to try to focus on employers that may have a high turnover rate of multiple employees, low wage rate workers. They are trying to focus on larger employers because they want to set a precedent. They may want to say, we're not going to tolerate this. I think it’s reflective of the Obama administration, and what the administration is set a priority. Immigration enforcement is a priority to this administration.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, let's call it comprehensive immigration reform, not necessarily the senate plan not the peace bill approach that the house is looking at, but comprehensive immigration reform, how would that have impacted or affected this particular operation?

Elizabeth Chatham: If we had a path for folks that are here and they want to fix their papers, we need to create a line that they can stand in. Right now there is no line, they can't get a work permit, they can’t a green card, they can’t get citizenship. They have no mechanism to try to get that right now. There is an attitude that just because you're undocumented that you are a criminal, that you don't deserve to be here. And people raise their families, they have jobs and contribute to paying taxes and file a tax return. They want to be a part of our society and we need to make a choice and a decision as to if this population of immigrants are going to have a way to do that. Comprehensive Immigration Reform or Piecemeal Immigration Reform, if there is a mechanism to give a work permits, or a visa, and let people come out of the shadows and self-identify and say, there wasn't a way for me to do this in the past and now you're giving me a chance to do it, I think a majority of folks would want to get their papers straightened out.

Ted Simons: I think the head of the house judiciary would be part of what the house was going to do, but they said this week that a path to citizenship is not going to happen. It's not part of what the House wants to see. How important is that one aspect of immigration reform?

Elizabeth Chatham: It's critical. It's part of the design of comprehensive immigration reform. If you are trying to say we are going to change immigration laws for prospective immigrants and ignore people that are already here, it's not comprehensive. You can’t ignore people that are already here. They are already contributing and, you know, when you look at our deportation system, our detention facilities, the amount, money that's being put into border committees and deportation. It is the majority of the budget of Homeland Security. You're going to maintain that and continue having that be a large expense for our country. If we were able to have reform I think that would eliminate that backlog and that congestion.

Ted Simons: All right, we've gotta stop you right there. Thank you so much for joining us.

Elizabeth Chatham: It was a pleasure to be here.

Ted Simons: That's it for now. I’m Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Rep. Paul Gosar

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  • U.S. Representative Paul Gosar will discuss the latest congressional issues such as immigration and the Resolution Copper Mine in Superior.
  • Paul Gosar - U.S. Representative
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: immigration, congress, copper mine,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. Attorney General Tom Horne and Secretary of State Ken Bennett have filed a lawsuit asking the courts to require those who register to vote using a federal form to prove that they are U.S. citizens. Horne and Bennett argue that proposition 200 requires proof of citizenship when using state forms to register, and the same requirements should apply to federal forms. Horne says that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that went against the state earlier this year paved the way for the lawsuit.

Ted Simons: Congressman Paul Gosar cohosted a town hall yesterday in Superior to hear public comment on a proposed copper mine in the area, and tomorrow Representative Gosar is part of a congressional field hearing focusing on the IRS and the EPA. Joining us now in studio is Congressman Paul Gosar who represents Arizona's fourth congressional district. Great to see you again.

Paul Gosar: Great seeing you, Ted.

Ted Simons: We've done a lot of stories on this copper mine.

Ted Simons: What did you hear at the town hall?

Paul Gosar: We had a great turnout. It was a joint town hall between Congresswoman Kirkpatrick and myself having an open discussion about the facts and how they pertain to the Superior land transfer, so that the third largest copper mine could be opened up and bring over a billion dollars a year to this state over the next 50 years to the state.

Ted Simons: What is the status of that land transfer bill?

Paul Gosar: It may be as late as the first week in October, the Senate has the same type of bill, it just needs to have a hearing in the Senate in natural resources which could be fairly quick-like, and you never know when it could happen. It could happen sometime this year, maybe next year.

Ted Simons: And the land exchanges, the exchanges for land in Superior, near Superior, for a copper mine, in exchange for what, like 5,000 some odd acres elsewhere?

Paul Gosar: 2,400 acres in exchange for 5,500 for pristine land that lots of environmentalists would like to have to consolidate. The mine owned about 75 percent of this patented area and they need one small part to fill in the blank. It's an old campground that was there.

Ted Simons: Have environmental concerns been met on this? We have done a lot of stories and there are questions about environmental concerns, waste disposal, and the whole nine yards. Talk about environmental concerns.

Paul Gosar: Absolutely, a lot of people say they would like to see a pre-NEPA done before any land exchange. But Ted, that’s like you and me. If I’m selling you a piece of property you have to go through planning and zoning and through the whole environmental aspects before we make the transfer. Congress has that plenary aspect. My bill, our bill and my bill precludes anything going forward in that mine without going through the proper environmental protections and assays from federal, state and local entities. It’s already being done they can’t go past in order to do that.

Ted Simons: So those who say the environmental studies should be done before the land swap, you're saying they are done first?

Paul Gosar: No, they are done before any mining can be done.

Ted Simons: But the land swap can still happen before --

Paul Gosar: Absolutely. That's Congress' plenary power. They are saying the Executive Branch should have to do this again. We’ll do a pre-NEPA, who's going to bear the cost of that, the taxpayers and or the business? And once the land exchange you have to go through it again? It’s ridiculous. All the processes, the water, dialoging with Native tribes, all have to be done before you can go ahead with the mine. It is only the transfer of land, it doesn't allow the company to pass "go" without doing all of the environmental impacts.

Ted Simons: I’m trying to see what the other side is saying. They seem to be saying, why even bother with the land transfer before the environmental studies are complete?

Paul Gosar: And my take that is it going to be done anyway, you shouldn't have to do it twice. I'm not ceding the executive branch any more power than they already have.

Ted Simons: There's no completed mining plan of operation, everything from processing, crushing, waste disposal, all of that. They are saying they still don't entirely understand the mining plan of operation. Has that been completed and filed?

Paul Gosar: That's not due yet, that’s coming up shortly in the timetable of aspects. These are the numbers that are coming forward. In the mine plan of operation, they are going to come forward with those and they pretty much have everything resolved. They are carrying over half of the 50 year water supply they will be using. There is reused water, to use over and over again. The plan is where they are going to place the tailings. They have been looking at ABC for construction of our roads and have opened to the public for those dialogues.

Ted Simons: So again as with the NEPA studies. For those who say we need to see the mining plan of operation, before the land swap, you would say?

Paul Gosar: This is the plenary power of Congress. Chances are it's going to be done already. Man plan of operation it's going to be coming forward; they are almost ready for that. So it may even supersede even this legislation. This is a land transfer, nothing more, nothing less. We want to be sure they are held in check, that they honor all environmental impacts across the board.

Ted Simons: What about American Indian concerns? What if the land is sacred to some tribes?

Paul Gosar: This doesn't have any bearing within the reservation aspects. The Forest Service conducted an exhaustive research of the campground and they show no borders of tribes with this. Apache Leap does have some problems and they have been taken off the table. But the rest shows no inquiry. I've dialogued my first term that I represented this area numerous times with the San Carlos. We addressed a lot of their ideas in conversation. They refuse to talk to any type of businesses because they only want government to government contact. If you're a government you need to talk to all governments and peoples involved in some aspect. That was brought out in the hearing last night. Some of the tribes asked, what is the status that the tribe can participate? There are two studies and two polls out that show that less than 20 percent of the tribe actually believe the way the Chairman Rambler have actually gone. They want the jobs to come into the area and they want to have a shot at those jobs coming to the San Carlos.

Ted Simons: Raucous meetings or everybody pretty behaved?

Paul Gosar: They’re very behaved. There are some protesters, that’s great because the first amendment right allows you to peacefully protest. You have to hear everybody’s viewpoints but I thought it was very civil. There were a lot more comments than questions, believe it or not. A lot of people are very pointed about their opinions on Superior.

Ted Simons: Immigration reform, I want to get your thoughts on the Senate plan.

Paul Gosar: Dead on arrival.

Ted Simons: No chance?

Paul Gosar: No chance.

Ted Simons: How come?

Paul Gosar: It’s an illegal bill, it’s unconstitutional. It generates revenues and taxes and that can't start with it without being generated in the house. My understanding is that it hasn’t even been forwarded to the house because they know it will be blue slipped. We have to have this conversation about immigration, I engaged this. I talked to the U.S. Chamber and Arizona Chamber in 2011. And I said this is such a core issue to America that we ought to have small bills that we talk articulately with the American public, and not be afraid of the conversation. In the Senate bill you had a very limited debate in one committee and a very limited debate with limited amendments on the Senate floor. America knows what's behind big bills. That's Obama-care. You should have to pass a bill to know what’s in a bill. We should be engaging the American public in regards to what's a part of our American fabric.

Ted Simons: There seems to be a bipartisan Senate plan, both Arizona senators involved with this. Sounds like its coming over to the House with some bipartisanship. Does that make any difference at all?

Paul Gosar: A bad bill is a bad bill whether it’s bipartisan or not. If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, walks like a duck, it's a duck. And that’s what we’ve done in congress. We've passed by poor legislation. We ought to get back to good legislation. I've actually asked the speaker and the majority leader to compare and contrast what's going on in the house, smaller bills, border security, visa reforms, E-verify, working programs, and show the American public what exactly what they’re entertaining this bill.

Ted Simons: The head of the House Judiciary just recently said no pathway to citizenship. That is one thing that he is taking off the table, which I think surprised some folks because they weren’t sure exactly how he stands. How do you stand?

Paul Gosar: I'm a science guy, Ted. I can't solve problems until you give me a series of fixed numbers. Go back to 1985 and 1986 and actually provide border security. That means you have to do it in an enterprising way, like Yuma does. Yuma hasn't had an illegal border crossing in almost six years. They enforce the rule of law. The American public believes we have such limited resources that we all ought to work together and what you do at an international border, you do Wyoming, you do in Buffalo, New York. Everybody has to be involved in it. It has to be an articulated, well thought out time-consuming type of process.
Ted Simons: It sounds like it’s a time-consuming process by way of the Senate plan though?

Paul Gosar: Theoretically. There's lots of mays, no shalls. And border security goes back goes back to Homeland Security, who has been a very poor advocate. There are no metrics set there. Congress was given the over side of immigration and the house bill, those metrics go back to congress. They utilize Homeland Security to work with all entities. But it comes back to Congress, where that plenary power belongs.

Ted Simons: I've heard a discharge petition is possible, taking it and throwing it on the House if you have enough folks agreeing to do that. You need some Republicans agreeing to do that. How strong is Republican opposition?

Paul Gosar: I think it would cost leadership jobs.

Ted Simons: Really.

Paul Gosar: Yes, sir.

Ted Simons: So you don't think that's going to happen?

Paul Gosar: I don't. We won by a framework of constitutionality. We learned what Obama-care was. This is exactly a strip and paste type legislation. That's exactly what the Senate wants to do is have that debate here. We should be upholding the constitution, not advocating or changing it to suite our means. We should live by the constitution and its finding principles.

Ted Simons: Critics of the Republican position say the party is further jeopardizing Latino votes with their stand in the House. How do you respond to that?

Paul Gosar: I find it offensive because what I’m engaging is people all the fabrics of our country. It's not just Latinos, it's Indian-Americans, it’s Pakistani Americans, it’s people lining up to try to find out the right way to go about this. We’re a rule of law, and Washington, D.C. is a poor set of rules of law, Ted. We have an attorney general who is violating the rule of law right and left. In the James Rosen case, pick and choose, he either lied to Congress or lied to a judge. Then he defines the rule of the Supreme Court and Voting Rights Act. That's shameful, absolutely shameful.

Ted Simons: You now have a field hearing coming up regarding the IRS and the EPA, but the subtitle is bureaucrats out of control.

Ted Simons: I think we know where you stand on this.

Paul Gosar: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: This is a field hearing with the delegation here, the Republican delegation. What is this all about?
Paul Gosar: What we’re trying to do is talk to people. The bureaucrats are out of control, it's an American issue. We've seen the IRS being involved with the SEC in the federal elections campaigns with regard to conservative groups. We saw a discharge of improprieties, there may be a few liberal groups that were actually included, most of them got their Waivers and 5O1 3(c)s and 4s. So what we want to do is hear from Americans how they are being implicated because government has to answer to the people. That’s how the constitution works. We need to rein this in, but we want to hear from them.

Ted Simons: And the IRS will have the Affordable Care Act. You don't want the IRS involved at all in Obama-care?

Paul Gosar: Not at all.

Ted Simons: How do you work tax credits and such?

Paul Gosar: I think we need to have the conversation about the tax code and I think everybody’s there. I think we've got a broken tax system, why not fix it? Make it a fair playing field, making sure that people keep more of their money because Americans know how to do better with their money than the federal government.

Ted Simons: And quickly, even today I believe someone in the committee regarding this business of the IRS, what some call a scandal, is coming out and saying even more progressive liberal groups would have you on the list with words like emerge, occupy, and progressive. Apparently the Inspector General of the IRS didn't know a heck of a lot about what he was talking about when he first testified. Does that change what you see? Some are calling this a scandal, and others are saying this really isn’t a scandal.

Paul Gosar: Get to the facts. Share the facts and have a discussion about it. For example, when we asked the attorney general or the FBI, have you appointed anybody to look in. You couldn't even look at this.

Paul Gosar: A responsible government takes in the good and bad. When you see Lois Lerner taking the Fifth in front of my committee and then trying to give her take on it and then take the Fifth, something's wrong here. We need to answer back to the American people.

Ted Simons: Before we go, we need to talk about the EPA and the Navajo generating station or talk to what seems to be a compromised deal with closing one of those three units here. Your thoughts on that.

Paul Gosar: I am not in favor.

Ted Simons: Because?

Paul Gosar: First of all, we're basing it on flawed science when you’re talking about the Clean Air Act and regional haze as a state plenary power. The EPA has come in strong-handed not even working with the Arizona Department Environmental Quality. No.2 is it involves treaty obligations and the primary power on that is Congress. If they want to do something they have to come through Congress with some jurisdiction.

Ted Simons: The Feds, the tribes, all coming to a compromise and trying to balance environmental concerns with power and stability concerns.

Paul Gosar: Bring them through Congress.

Ted Simons: You’re saying nice try, but come to me first in that doctrine.

Paul Gosar: You’ve got to have Congress involved in that process.

Ted Simons: Are you against EPA agreeing to this proposal?

Paul Gosar: I’m disagreeing to the way this was conceived and deliberated. This has to be an open process including Congress.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here, thanks for joining us.

Paul Gosar: Ted, thanks for having me.