Feds Bust Two Houston Employment Agencies for Allegedly Recruiting Immigrants for Cheap Labor
Two Houston employment agencies that allegedly recruited immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to be cheap labor for restaurants in at least seven states were shut down Thursday after a series of arrests, federal authorities said.
The Hong Li and the Tai Shan employment agencies were competitors that both provided workers, mostly from Mexico and Central America, to Chinese restaurants in Texas, Louisiana, Maine and other states, said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
“The agencies recruited and solicited the workers and sought the business of these restaurants to feed their demand for cheap labor,” Moskowitz said.
According to the indictments, the two agencies used Chinese language newspapers and Internet sites to solicit the restaurants and “offer Hispanic unauthorized alien workers, commonly referred to in this context as ‘amigos,’ to them.”
Officials estimate that in the 10 years the agencies operated, they supplied restaurants with hundreds of workers.