Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

15 undocumented workers arrested in BP raid (Whiting, Indiana refinery)

15 undocumented workers arrested in BP raid
December 10, 2008
By Andy Grimm Post-Tribune staff writer

WHITING - Immigration authorities arrested 15 janitorial workers in an early morning raid at the BP plant.

The raid came after at two-year investigation of United Building Maintenance, a Carol Stream, Ill.,-based cleaning company that had been hired by BP. The cleaning crews had access to sensitive areas of the refinery, said Gary Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Investigations in Chicago.

"There is a serious public safety concern when illegal aliens[sic], who are not authorized to work in the country legally, are working in secure areas of one of our nation's largest oil refineries," said Hartwig in a press release.

"While there is no reason to believe that these individuals had ill intent against our country, their illegal status represents a significant vulnerability in our national security."

The 15 arrested Wednesday, including four men and 11 women, were taken into custody and will be subject to deportation. They will remain in federal custody unless it is determined they are caregivers or children or other relatives and should be released pending the outcome of the deportation process.

All of those arrested were Mexican nationals, except one man who is Guatemalan.

Two UBM employees who were illegal, Herminia Najera-Flores and Ramon Aviles-Cano workers, were arrested last year. Of the 15 people arrested, 14 were from Mexico and one from Guatemala.

The Rev. Steve Gibson of St. Mary's Catholic Church, a predominantly Hispanic Roman Catholic parish just south of refinery in East Chicago, said the church was reaching out to help the families of those arrested. He condemned what he called "arbitrary" enforcement of immigration law.

"Basic human rights have been violated, and families have been divided through this sad occurrence," Gibson said. "If raids like this were to take place throughout our region and the Midwest, entire factories and businesses would have to shut down, many of the essential services of our infrastructure would come to a halt, and thousands of families would immediately be thrown further into the spiral of poverty."


Oilsandstruth.org is not associated with any other web site or organization. Please contact us regarding the use of any materials on this site.

Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

User login


Syndicate content