Photo of Loudon detainees provided to the WP by ICE
cover my face in shame
to lessen your fear
that I may swallow you whole
and leave no trace
of what you once thought was yours
cover my face in shame
you have been unjust
and for my people
who have been
shamed with me
© by aughra, all rights reserved 2008
59 Workers at Loudoun Resort Face Deportation
Immigration Officials Say Employees Used Fraudulent or Stolen Documents to Get Jobs
By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 13, 2008; C01
Fifty-nine foreign-born workers arrested last week at the Lansdowne Resort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are being processed for deportation, although some might request hearings to plead their cases, an ICE spokeswoman said.
The employees -- men and women from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina -- were arrested Tuesday on charges of having used fraudulent or stolen documents to get jobs at the upscale resort on Woodridge Parkway near Leesburg.
Several calls to Lansdowne Resort officials last week were not returned. ICE spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs declined to comment on whether ICE officials think the resort was aware of the document problems when it hired the workers. She said operators of the resort have cooperated with the federal agency since the investigation began in July.
"There's no criminal charges on the organization at this time . . . but this is an ongoing investigation," Fobbs said.
The probe was triggered by a "routine inspection of all I-9 employment forms at the resort," according to a written statement from ICE. "Through expert analysis of the I-9 forms, ICE agents identified information that led them to suspect that many of the employees were using fraudulent documents or had stolen someone else's identity to secure employment at the resort."
Many workers remained in custody in various jails last week, said Fobbs, who would not elaborate on the jail locations, citing "privacy reasons." ICE released two women Tuesday for medical reasons, but their cases continued to be processed, she said.
Fobbs said some of the workers will be deported immediately, and others might request a hearing with a judge, so the time it takes to process cases will vary.
"The removal process is just that: a process," she said. "Some may be subject to be removed from the United States immediately. Some may choose to go before an immigration judge. . . . It's like anything else. If you have a traffic violation, you can say, 'Wait, look, I have a reason for this.' "
Workers could be released early if they have children to look after, among other reasons, although they would be electronically monitored, and their ultimate fate would be determined by a judge, Fobbs said...
"They're terrified," said Elinor Tesfamariam, a lawyer with Immigration and Human Rights Law Group in Manassas, referring to relatives of those arrested. Her organization is working with the group Mexicans Without Borders to assist the detainees. "I have a man who is 70 years old" and in poor health at one of the jails, she said.
Other immigrant advocates said the process of locating those in custody has been difficult because ICE is not keeping them in a central location.
"Literally, people need to call each detention center to try to find people," said Kathy Doan, executive director of the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition.
Fobbs said family members and friends looking for information on those in custody could call 866-341-3858.
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