Nearly two dozen illegal immigrants were arrested Wednesday, accused of using fake security badges to work in critical areas of O'Hare International Airport, including the tarmac, authorities said.
The 23 illegal workers were employed by Ideal Staffing Solutions Inc., whose corporate secretary and office manager also were arrested after an eight-month investigation that involved federal, state and Chicago authorities.
The company contracted work for carriers including United Airlines, KLM and Qantas, said Elissa A. Brown, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
Much of the investigation centered on the airport security badges issued by the Department of Aviation, said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Agents found that 110 of the 134 badges issued to Ideal Staffing workers did not match the individuals who carried them, he said.
The discrepancies were first noted in March by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector, Fitzgerald said.
According to affidavits in a complaint against Gurin and Benitez unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, the applications for the 110 bogus badges listed Social Security numbers that either did not exist or belonged to other individuals, some of whom were dead.
The affidavits allege that Ideal Staffing told workers they needed to have identification, but that the documents did not have to be legitimate, and also accused the company of supplying some workers with deactivated badges issued in other names.
Brown, Fitzgerald and other officials declined to answer questions about how workers could use deactivated badges to enter secure areas of the airport, saying that the investigation continued and that not all details could be revealed.
Doesn't that just give you the warm-and-fuzzies?
Not only are illegal aliens able to work at one of our biggest airports, they were able to have access to secure, sensitive areas of the airport.
How did this company get away with this for so long? Why was the O'Hare Airport not more mindful of who was working there?
As Ace puts it (so well, by the way):
There is a reason people are pissed off about illegal immigration, and it isn't rank bigotry, its stories like this. Just a few years after our airlines were used to attack us, we have illegal immigrants using bogus documents and expired security badges to wander about in sensitive parts of America's largest airport. No wonder our government officials have such piss-poor poll numbers.
It's just un-freakin-believable.