Immigration agents arrest 19 workers during 6 a.m. raid at Naval Academy

October 31, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Nineteen suspected illegal immigrants working on a $25 million renovation of Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy were arrested yesterday by federal agents in an early morning raid in Annapolis.

Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested six Salvadorans, six Guatemalans, three Hondurans, three Filipinos and a Mexican in the raid at 6 a.m. on contractors and subcontractors at the Annapolis campus.

The investigation that led to the raid began in response to a tip from academy sources, an INS spokesman said.

The number of illegal immigrants arrested in Maryland has increased in recent years because of the high demand for low-wage workers, the INS spokesman said. Last year, 430 undocumented workers were arrested. This year 480 have been arrested.

"I am concerned with what appears in this operation to be a new level for illegally employed aliens in this area," said Benedict J. Ferro, Baltimore district director for INS.

With a "dramatic increase" in construction on military bases across the country, a joint federal task force was started last year to review the status of workers contracted for military construction sites, said John J. Ingham, an INS spokesman in Baltimore.

The investigation of Whiting-Turner Construction Co., the Baltimore-based primary contractor on the academy job, and several subcontractors continues, INS officials said.

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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