1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content

FridayJuly 1, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

Read More

Gutierrez Calls on Obama to Use Discretionary Power to End Deportation of DREAMers (VIDEO)

Gutierrez Calls on Obama to Use Discretionary Power to End Deportation of DREAMers (VIDEO)

Photo: Luis Guiterrez

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Comprehensive immigration reform is not coming any time soon, says Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). But that doesn’t mean President Barack Obama cannot use his discretionary power to end deportations of young people, he says.

Gutierrez called for the president to issue such an order last night at a rally in Chicago organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and other community and immigrant rights groups in Chicago. Long known as a champion for immigrants’ rights, Gutierrez argued that while legislative movement on immigration reform is unlikely now, given the current composition of Congress, it is possible for President Obama to issue an executive order ending the deportations of young people who would qualify for the DREAM Act.

Campus Progress caught up with Rep. Gutierrez after his speech on Thursday, asking about the role of young people in the fight for immigration reform:

Gutierrez also explained his call for the president to issue an executive order ending deportations of DREAMers:

Despite Congress’s hostility to progressive reform, there has been some movement in Washington around deportations and general immigration policy lately. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) chaired a Senate hearing on the DREAM Act Wednesday, bringing administration officials and a DREAMer to testify on the necessity of legalization for undocumented youth.

With federal legislation stalled, there are fights for state-level DREAM Acts in states like Illinois and Maryland. It’s no surprise that some like Gutierrez say that the only option nationally for undocumented youth is a presidential order.

Read more at Campus Progress →

House Committee Continues Investigation of Cartels’ Ability to Obtain U.S. Weapons

House Committee Continues Investigation of Cartels’ Ability to Obtain U.S. Weapons

Photo: House Committee Continues Investigation of Cartels' Ability to Obtain U.S. Weapons

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is currently investigating how Mexico’s drug cartels seem to be easily obtaining military-grade weapons from the United States.

In a recent congressional report titled “Outgunned” it is stated that illegal weapons trafficking from the U.S. is a major problem as the weapons being brought to Mexico are fueling the frightening drug war ravaging Mexico and other Central and South American countries.

A recent operation called “Fast and Furious” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was meant to track where weapons bought on behalf of illegal operations end up.

According to the El Paso Times, “Fast and Furious” allowed “a person to buy a weapon on behalf of someone who could not and then trace where the weapon went, but many weapons were lost during tracking and wound up in the hands of organized criminals to kill or kidnap people.”

Two of those weapons were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agents Brian Terry’s slaying in Arizona.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes from Texas was in Mexico on June 24 - 25 to speak with the both Mexican and U.S. officials about what strategy is needed to stop illegally weapons trafficking, especially to Mexico.

“This is an issue of particular concern to me and my constituents who have witnessed, and in many circumstances been directly impacted by, the incessant violence in our sister-city Ciudad Juárez,” He added, “As the owner of multiple firearms myself, I value my Second Amendment rights, but we must strike a balance between the need to respect gun ownership rights and the need for sensible measures to meet the current security challenges confronting the United States and Mexico.”

Ranking member of the committee, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, said in the report that an agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement was allegedly killed with a Romarm-Cugir Draco which “has the same firing capacity as the AK-47, can hold a 75-round drum magazine, and can penetrate protective vests.”

Reyes testified for the House committee, saying, “As a result of legislation favored by the (National Rifle Association) and passed by Congress, our agents are prohibited from inputting gun ownership information into a computerized database that would find records quickly and efficiently when tracing a firearm.

“Clearly, we are relying on antiquated methods to fight an evasive enemy. But, sadly, the greatest obstacles hindering our ability to confront these challenges are the result of our own creation.”

Gun-rights advocacy group, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, released a statement saying that the Cummings committee has a singular goal of deflecting public attention away from the Justice Department’s horrible mishandling of a gunrunning sting that has flooded Mexico with guns.”

Alan Gottlieb, Bear Arms chairman, went on to say that “‘Operation Fast and Furious’ is a product of the Obama administration, and Cummings is running interference for the White House and Attorney General Eric Holder.

“The real culprits here are the ATF officials and people in the Justice Department who either approved this operation or knew about it and allowed it to happen, and everybody knows it.”

Read more at El Paso Times →

Faces of the DREAM Act: Immigration Advocates Back 22-year-old Student’s Fight to Stay in U.S.

Faces of the DREAM Act: Immigration Advocates Back 22-year-old Student’s Fight to Stay in U.S.

Photo: Immigration Advocates Back 22-year-old Student's Fight to Stay in U.S.

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Erick Velazquillo was just 2 years old when he was brought to the United States from Mexico. Now, after being arrested for a traffic violation he faces deportation to a country he does not know, but he’s getting help from a network of thousands of immigration advocates and a number of fellow undocumented immigrants like himself.

Like so many, Velazquillo did not know he was not in the country legally until his parents told him years later. He went on to finish high school, and attended Central Piedmont Community College where he earned an Associate of Arts degree. When it came time for him to advance, he applied and was accepted to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Unfortunately, due to his immigration status, he was told he would have to pay out-of-state tuition and was not eligible for any type of financial aid.  Not wanting to stop his education, Velazquillo went back to taking classes at the community college.

Everything changed for him once again in October of 2010 when he was pulled over while driving home.

“I was pulled over for having my high beams on in Matthews, North Carolina,” Velazquillo explained on the advocate group N.C. Dream Team’s website. “When I got pulled over I gave the police officer my name- Erick Domingo Velazquillo. The police officer was not able to find me in the computer so he decided to search my vehicle for my license, as I had misplaced it. He found my expired license in my gym bag and accused me of lying about my identity because my license does not show my middle name Domingo.

Image“The police officer arrested me and charged me with driving without a license and giving fictitious information to an officer because the name on my license read Erick Velazquillo Franco. Franco is my mother’s maiden name, and the DMV wrongfully added this after my last name, thus making Velazquillo seem like my middle name and eliminating my real middle name altogether.”

Because of the DMV error, and the officer’s claim that Velazquillo gave him wrongful information, he was arrested and spent three days in Charolette Mecklenburg County jail. He was bailed out with a $5,000 bond.

Due to this incident, Velazquillo is now facing a deportation order, and on July 19, he will ask an immigration judge and federal prosecutors to let him stay in the country he proudly calls home.

The N.C. Dream Team is a Raleigh-based group that has taken up Velazquillo’s case, and inspired by the civil rights movement, want to push the nation’s young people to stand up for immigration reform. Members of the group have gone so far to announce their own “illegal” status in support of others they say shout be “undocumented and unafraid.”

“We’ve had enough,” said N.C. Dream Team co-founder Viridiana Martinez of Sanford to the Charlotte Observer. “We know we’re taking risks, facing arrest every time we come out. But we have to speak out for ourselves. Because if we don’t do it, someone else is going to do it. And that has gotten us nowhere.”

While the group only has about 1,100 members in North Carolina, as many as 10,000 people are likely to hear about Velazquillo’s case through the group’s national network affiliations.

The Obama administration has deported roughly 800,000 people in just two years, but has adamantly expressed that it does not wish to deport college-age students with no criminal records.

And while the the DREAM Act failed to get passed last fall, groups like N.C. Dream Team, along with U.S.-born supporters are banning together to make it known that the DREAM Act is right for America, not just Velazquillo and others like him.

To sign the petition urging lawmakers to allow Erick Velazquillo to remain in the United States click here.

Read more at Charlotte Observer →

Immigration Status May Block Up to 220,000 Kids from Health Coverage

Immigration Status May Block Up to 220,000 Kids from Health Coverage

Photo: California Watch

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

As many as 220,000 uninsured children in California will be excluded from health care reform programs because of their or their parents’ immigration status, according to an analysis released yesterday.

When fully implemented in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance to millions of uninsured Californians. But about 20 percent of the state’s 1 million uninsured children will be left out because they or their parents are illegal immigrants, researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research said.

“The Affordable Care Act doesn’t really go to covering all kids,” said Shana Alex Lavarreda, director of health insurance studies at the center and an author of the report. “It doesn’t get to that 100 percent coverage mark that we’ve been trying to get to.”

The findings, funded in part by The California Endowment, a financial supporter of California Watch, are based on data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey. The survey counts respondents who were non-citizens without green cards as undocumented immigrants.

Since 2007, the number of uninsured Californians has climbed. At the same time, immigration has slowed. How many children would be left out of health care reform programs today is unclear, but it’s likely “the magnitude is about the same,” Lavarreda said.

Read more at Joanna Lin, California Watch →

NBA Players, Arenas and Howard Taking On the ‘Planking’ Trend

NBA Players, Arenas and Howard Taking On the ‘Planking’ Trend

Photo: NBA Players, Arenas and Howard Taking On the 'Planking' Trend (Howard seen here)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Two NBA players have teamed up (and been competing at times) as they take part in an odd new craze that is sweeping the world, planking, otherwise known as “the lying down game” (CBS News).

Gilbert Arenas and Dwight Howard of the Orland Magic basketball team have gone to the internet to document their lighthearted planking adventures.

Planking is the act of “lying face down, perfectly stiff, on various structures in public,” described the Telegraph. Many have taken to posting their feats on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Now, the NBA stars are having their own fun with the trend.

Arenas is point and shooting guard for the Orlando Magic with Cuban lineage. His cousin, Javier Arenas, is a cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs football team.

While planking can be a fun activity, some have pushed the envelope and attempted to do it in dangerous places and have lost their lives.

Photos below taken from Arenas’ Twitter account.







Read more at USA TODAY →

COPA AMÉRICA Official Song Released! (VIDEO)

COPA AMÉRICA Official Song Released! (VIDEO)

Photo: Diego Torres.

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Diego Torres officially presented the song “Creo En América,” the official song of 2011’s Copa América.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Cameron Díaz in “El Hormiguero” a Popular TV Show in Spain (VIDEO)

WATCH Cameron Díaz in “El Hormiguero” a Popular TV Show in Spain (VIDEO)

Photo: Cameron Díaz in "El Hormiguero"

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The actress was on the popular Spanish TV show to promote her new film “Bad Teacher”.

The comedy, staring Díaz and new Myspace owner Justin Timberlake made $31 million on its first week, coming in second in box office rankings, only behind the animated feature “Cars 2.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER:  Hispanic Men Charged with Providing Farm Workers with Prostitutes

LATINO BLOTTER:  Hispanic Men Charged with Providing Farm Workers with Prostitutes

Photo: Vermont Farms Site of Hispanic Prostitution

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A Hispanic man from Vermont and a Mexican national have been charged with providing prostitutes to local farm workers for $60 per sexual act.

Alejandro Enrique Young-Hernandez, 53, and Jose Tomas Flores-Rocha, 53, are implicated in bringing in Mexican women to Vermont and from New York with the intent to sell their services. 

Flores-Rocha has pleaded guilty and will serve an 18 month sentence while Young-Hernandez is headed to trial and faces 10 years behind bars if found guilty.  Prosecutors also allege that Flores-Rocha was in this country illegally and therefore can face deportation. 

The prostitutes apparently sexually serviced farm workers at various farms throughout Vermont. 

Read more at Reuters →

“Los Zetas” Hitman, Abraham Barrios Caporal, Captured, Say Mexican Authorities

“Los Zetas” Hitman, Abraham Barrios Caporal, Captured, Say Mexican Authorities

Photo: "Los Zetas" Hitman, Abraham Barrios Caporal, Captured, Say Mexican Authorities

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A man suspected of being a hitman and part of mass kidnappings and murders of migrants has been detained, Mexico’s defense department said.

Abraham Barrios Caporal, 26, was captured in the Mexico state of Veracruz and admitted to working for Los Zetas, one of the country’s most powerful and deadly cartels.

Barrios Caporal was arrested in Coatzacoalcos on Tuesday along with three other members of his cell. He is suspected of taking part in the killings and burials of bus passengers in San Fernando in the state of Tamaulipas.

In April, authorities uncovered mass graves in Tamaulipas after they were given reports that bus passengers were being taken away at gunpoint.

Mexican authorities stated that 26 mass graves had been found by early June containing 193 bodies of mostly Mexican migrants on their way to the United States.

Barrios Caporal is suspected of being a part of the death and burial of 72 Central and South American migrants found in mass graves in San Fernando last August.

In related news, gunmen opened fire at an Acapulco fútbol game Thursday. Two people were killed, and at least two children watching the match were injured. The two who lost their lives were local police officers playing a match against Guerrero state government employees.

Factions of the local drug cartel Beltran Levya have been fighting for control of the Acapulco area since the cartel’s leader, Arturo Beltran Levya was killed in December 2009.

Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug trade in Mexico in 2006, roughly 40,000 people have lost their lives, leaving many full of criticism for both Calderon and the alleged corrupted police and military forces.

Read more at The Guardian →

Salma’s Hubby is Super-Model Linda Evangelista’s Baby Daddy!

Salma’s Hubby is Super-Model Linda Evangelista’s Baby Daddy!

Photo: F.H. Pinault, his babies, and their mommas.

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault has a four year old with both Hayek and Evangelista!  Ouch for both of them but especially his beautiful wife, Mexican Salma Hayek. 

The news broke Thursday, when Evangelista was seen entering a New York family court to try to settle on an arrangement regarding support for her 4-year old, Augustin James.

Pinault mistakenly missed the court appointment, alleging he was under the impression it’d be a short telephonic conversation.  Maybe he is cutting expenses and dismissed his slew of lawyers and personal assistants.

Evangelista and Pinault would have conceived the boy during a brief break-up between Hayek and Pinault and before they married in 2009. 

Pinault and Hayek have a 4-year old, daughter Valentina Paloma.

Neither party has issued an official comment.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Danny Pino to Join NBC’s Award-Winning Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Danny Pino to Join NBC’s Award-Winning Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Photo: Danny Pino to Join NBC's Award-Winning Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

When Christopher Meloni moved on from NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, it left many wondering who would take his place, but now questions have been answered. Danny Pino, formerly of Cold Case, will join the cast.

Pino will be partnered with former Chase star Kelli Giddish as the precinct’s new detectives.

The announcement was made earlier this week by NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt who said, “Kelli and Danny are two great actors who will join a proven cast headed by Mariska Hargitay as this exceptional series heads into a very promising 13th season.”

It had previously been rumored that lead Mariska Hargitay was also leaving the show, but that will not be the case.

After the departure of Meloni, Pino became one of five actors in talks to replace him. For seven seasons, the Cuban-American played Detective Scotty Valens on CBS’s Cold Case, and made his writing debut with the show in the 2009-2010 season.

Pino was notably the actor chosen to play Desi Arnaz in a CBS special about the life of Lucille Ball - Lucy:The Lucille Ball Story.

Pino joins the SVU cast in it’s 13th season. Meloni, 50, was with the hit franchise for 12 seasons.

UN Speaks Out Against Pending Execution of Mexican National in U.S.

UN Speaks Out Against Pending Execution of Mexican National in U.S.

Photo: Mexican Nationals on Death Row

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The top United Nations human rights official has appealed to a state governor in the United States to commute the death sentence of a Mexican national scheduled to be executed for murder next week, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported today.

The plea from Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is also supported by two UN rights experts who have urged the US Government to stop the execution for the same reason: the convicted murderer was not granted access to a Mexican consular official at the time of his arrest.

Ms. Pillay wrote directly to Texas Governor Rick Perry asking him to order a life sentence for Humberto Leal Garcia, who was condemned to death for the 1994 murder of a 16-year-old girl, according to Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for OHCHR.

“Over and above the normal UN position opposing the death penalty, this case raises particular concerns, as Mr. Leal Garcia was not granted consular access, which, as a foreign national, is his right under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” Mr. Colville said.

“The lack of consular assistance and advice raises concerns about whether or not Mr. Leal Garcia’s right to a fair trial was fully upheld,” he said.

“We understand that Mr. Leal Garcia is due to be executed next Thursday, 7 July, but that the Governor of Texas has the power to commute the sentence to life imprisonment. The High Commissioner has written to him directly requesting him to do so.”

The spokesperson said that the case also “raises questions” regarding compliance with a 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that the US breached its obligations under an international convention to 51 Mexicans on death row in US jails when it did not inform them of their right to contact their consular representatives “without delay” after their arrests.

In that judgment the ICJ ruled that, as a remedy for the violations of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the US must provide “review and reconsideration” of Mr. Leal Garcia’s conviction and sentence, Mr. Colville said.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, called on the US Government to cancel the execution.

“If the scheduled execution of Mr. Leal García goes ahead, the United States Government will have implemented a death penalty after a trial that did not comply with due process rights,” Mr. Heyns said. “This will be tantamount to an arbitrary deprivation of life.”

“Conditions in death row during those 17 years are such that they amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment according to well-established standards in international law,” Mr. Méndez said.

Mr. Heyns and Mr. Méndez are independent, non-paid specialist reporting to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Read more by HS News Staff →

¡No Mas!  Guatemalan Court Blocks Recently Divorced First Lady from Running for Presidency

¡No Mas!  Guatemalan Court Blocks Recently Divorced First Lady from Running for Presidency

Photo: President Alvaro Colom and First Lady Sandra Torres

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Apparently Guatemalan election officials saw and thought what most people of that country saw and thought of the First Lady’s divorce from the President –it’s a farce.

First Lady Sandra Torres de Colom’s impromptu divorce filing from current President Alvaro Colom was seen by election officials as a means by which to create a loophole in constitutional law. That means if you are married to the President you can’t run for office.

The Constitution expressly prohibits presidential eligibility “to the blood relatives of the fourth degree and second degree of kinship” to the current head of state.

Torres filed for divorce from Colom three days after she announced her intentions to run for President.  Her ex-husband is barred from running again there are terms limits of one four-year term. 

The First Lady who declares herself divorce and ready to run for President can seek an overturn from this decision.  However, she only has until July 11th to clarify the matter, which is when the presidential slate for 2012 elections are finalized. 

Read more at Forbes →

Shocker:  Hugo Chavez Battling Cancer with No Indication When He Will Return to Venezuela

Everyone knew something was wrong with Hugo Chavez.  From his extended travels to Cuba for ‘health reasons’, to going radio silence on Twitter and state TV to the recent cancellation of the Latin American summit

Now the “new battle that life has [been] placed” before the Venezuelan leftist President has been identified as cancer.  In his first live appearance since arriving in Cuba, Chavez admitted that Cuban doctors had removed cancerous cells and admitted that he had failed to take care of his health.

His Socialist political party has insisted that he will be returning to Venezuela soon. However, that was not apparent in this televised appearance because he provided no insight as to when he will return, his recovery time frame or even what type of cancer he is battling.  He also did not give any indication that someone other than he would be acting as President while re remains in Cuba.

Chavez, age 56,  has been leading the country since 1999 and vows to continue the ‘revolution’ and to insure that he will continue to do so, the military has stated it will guarantee constitutional order in his absence. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Maya Indie Film Series Launches, Celebrating Latinos in Film

The Maya Indie Film Series (MIFS) launched its third annual seven-city tour in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago this week, followed by San Antonio and San Diego on August 5, Dallas on August 12, Miami beginning September 9 and San Francisco on September 16.The series, which runs for seven days in each market, will bring seven critically acclaimed, Latino-themed films to these top U.S. markets.

Eva Longoria, Kate del Castillo, Oscar Nunez, Christian Slater, Manny Perez, Mark Ruffalo, Orlando Bloom, Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney, Elsa Pataky and David Rasche are among some of the actors featured in the series’ films.

“In our third year of the film series, Maya Entertainment continues to acknowledge and celebrate Latinos in film by presenting this event for American audiences across the country,” said Maya Entertainment CEO, Moctesuma Esparza. “The Maya Indie Film Series strives to provide quality cinema made by the creative forces within the growing Latino entertainment community.”

Fueled by a belief that films bring communities together, the film series is Maya Entertainment’s way of ensuring targeted delivery of their films, allowing for maximum exposure within the marketplace. Offering a wide variety of cinematic genres, the film series is designed to engage independent film enthusiasts and to spark a renewed interest in these films to audiences all over the country.

The Maya Indie Film Series will be participating with top Latino film festivals to exhibit select films including the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), San Francisco Latino Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival’s Fall film series Cinema en tu Idioma, the Chicago Latino Film Festival, Miami International Film Festival and Cinema Tropical.

The seven films in the series include:

All She Can

Blue Eyes

Didi Hollywood


Where the Road Meets the Sun

Without Men


Sympathy for Delicious
Director: Mark Ruffalo Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Christopher Thornton, Juliette Lewis, Orlando Bloom and Laura Linney. Synopsis: Forced to live out of his car on skid row, Dean (Christopher Thornton) begins his descent into depression when he meets Father Joe Roselli (Mark Ruffalo), a passionate young priest. Father Joe introduces Dean to the world of faith-healing, an unlikely way for him to begin his quest to walk again. He soon discovers that he possesses the otherworldly power to heal people, but in an odd twist of fate, he is utterly unable to heal himself. Despite Father Joe’s warnings, Dean angrily decides to use his newfound gift for fame and fortune. He joins a rock band led by charismatic front man The Stain (Orlando Bloom) with bassist Ariel (Juliette Lewis), and manager Nina Hogue (Laura Linney). But his newfound notoriety is unable to cure the hurt that encompasses his life. To find true healing, Dean must ultimately confront his worst demons and come to terms with his own humanity. Official Sundance Film Festival Selection.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Michigan Dairy Farmer Fined $2.7 Million for Hiring 78 Illegal Aliens Representing 75% of Workforce

Michigan Dairy Farmer Fined $2.7 Million for Hiring 78 Illegal Aliens Representing 75% of Workforce

Photo: Dairy Farmer Fined for Hiring Undocumented Workers

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A Michigan dairy farm and its two owners pleaded guilty this week to charges of employing illegal aliens, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Johannes Martinus Verhaar and Anthonia Marjanne Verhaar own Aquila Farms LLC., a dairy operation based in Bad Axe, Mich. Court records revealed that from about 2000 through 2007, the dairy employed 78 different illegal aliens, which constituted almost 75 percent of its workforce over that time period. Aquila Farms failed to conduct the necessary inquiries to determine the employment eligibility of its work force, as required by federal immigration laws.

According to the investigation, of the 78 illegal aliens hired by the Verhaars, some were hired on multiple occasions using different names or social security numbers despite the Verhaars’ being notified by both the Social Security Administration and ICE that its employees were not authorized to work in the United States. The defendants encouraged or induced the illegal aliens to reside in the United States by providing them with employment and free housing on the farm, away from scrutiny by ICE and the surrounding community.

As part of the agreement reached with the government, the Verhaars pleaded guilty to hiring illegal aliens, a charge that carries a term of imprisonment of up to six months and a $3,000 fine per hire. Aquila Farms pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens, a felony which carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and additional fines. The Verhaars and Aquila Farms agreed to pay fines and a payment in lieu of forfeiture totaling $2,734,000.

The case was initiated based on a lead by the Michigan State Police and investigated by ICE HSI special agents.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FridayJuly 1, 2011