Saturday, December 10, 2011

Business Hiring Illegal Immigrants Need to Read Along

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents executed a
federal search warrant at a local baking company here today, arresting a current and former
company supervisor on criminal charges and 51 other workers on administrative immigration
violations.

The arrests and the execution of the search warrant at the Palm Springs Baking Company on
Montalvo Way are part of an ongoing probe by ICE that began in 2006 after ICE received a tip
that the business was allegedly hiring illegal alien workers.

The two individuals facing federal prosecution are charged in a criminal complaint with one count
of continuing to employ an unauthorized alien. Margarita Avilez Hernandez, 52, who currently
works as a supervisor for the Palm Springs Baking Company, was taken into custody by ICE
agents at the bakery this morning. Alicia Ramirez, 36, who formerly worked as a supervisor for
the business, was arrested this afternoon. Both women are expected to make their initial
appearance in federal court in Riverside, Calif., later today. The maximum penalty for the
misdemeanor charge is six months in prison and a $3,000 fine for each unauthorized alien.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal arrest warrants, local law enforcement
alerted ICE in 2006 that the Palm Springs Baking Company allegedly guaranteed employment to
illegal aliens in exchange for a payment of approximately $3,000 for each worker. During the
ensuing investigation, ICE agents submitted the names and Social Security numbers of more than
130 of the company's employees for verification and were advised that more than 100 of those
numbers were invalid or did not match the accompanying name.