Hundreds of Texas employers, and thousands around the nation, have inspired Internet publicity they didn’t court: They’re accused of hiring illegal immigrants.
A Web site, www.wehirealiens.com, lists companies from Pilgrim’s Pride to Swift & Co. as “alleged” employers of illegal immigrants. Both those food companies have had employees at their Texas operations arrested for immigration violations and document fraud, but many other companies listed on the site have not.
And that has employers angry that the founders of the Southern California-based site publicly accuse them of breaking laws. The founders contend they established the site in 2004 in frustration over what they call ineffective action by the federal government. There are now nearly 5,000 “illegal employers” listed from nearly every state.
The Web site reflects one more way that technology is amplifying the national debate over illegal immigration. Scores of sites have gone up in the last few years to defend, to denigrate, and to discuss civilly the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
The federal government won’t divulge its tipsters. “ICE doesn’t confirm special sources, but we use various sources to obtain intelligence,” said Carl Rusnok, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas. “Then we determine if follow-up action is appropriate.”
ICE runs its own hotline – 1-866-DHS-2ICE – and information there keeps the Department of Homeland Security agency very busy, Mr. Rusnok added. Mr. Mrochek said they send information to ICE, the FBI and the Social Security Administration. He also said that information is vetted and less than a third of the complaints they receive are actually posted on the Web site.
Dallas-based La Madeleine Bakery, Cafe and Bistro is also listed on the site. Officials at the privately owned restaurant chain said they have tried to get the chain’s name removed from the site and that they comply with federal immigration laws. “It would appear that they never remove these postings and do not verify if the allegations are true,” said CEO Mike Shumsky. “This, as you might expect, is concerning.”