Cracking down on an increasing number of illegal immigrants in Baltimore, federal immigration agents have arrested 10 Mexican aliens working for two manufacturing companies in the southwest section of the city.
Based on a complaint about illegal immigrants, agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested the 10, including three women, about 7 a.m. Monday at the establishments in the 1400 block of DeSoto Road.
Four of the immigrants had been released on $500 bond or their own recognizance, and six others were being held in lieu of the $500 bond required by immigration officials, said INS Supervisory Special Agent Thomas E. Perryman.
"I feel comfortable in saying that I don't think we've ever arrested that many illegal aliens in the City of Baltimore," said Agent Perryman, whose district office covers all of Maryland.
"We're beginning to see an increase in the number of illegal aliens in the city," the agent said.
Five of the immigrants arrested Monday were employed by Mrs. M's Window Coverings, a manufacturer of mini-blinds and other window treatments.
The other five were employed at Joe Corbi's, a manufacturer of packages of pizza ingredients for fund-raising efforts. The 10 aliens were making between $6 and $6.75 an hour, Agent Perryman said.
All but one of the aliens are said to have entered the country illegally at the U.S.-Mexican border. One entered the country on a visitor's visa, which prohibits employment, and that visa had expired, according to the INS. Most of the immigrants entered the United States in the early summer of 1991; the most recent entry was six months ago, Agent Perryman said.
Those arrested are to appear before an immigration judge for a formal deportation hearing, the agent said.
The businesses can be fined up to $1,000 for every paperwork error involving the employees and up to $2,500 for each illegal alien the business knowingly hires, the agent said. Whether the businesses would be assessed a fine has not yet been determined, and the investigation was continuing, he said.