New ICE Raid Snares 193

Federal agents forged ahead with their crackdown on employers who
hire illegal foreign workers – raiding 63 entertainment-eateries
around the country and arresting 193 janitors supplied by a
national cleaning contractor.

The raids on corporate-run chain restaurants – cultural icons
including ESPN Zone, Dave & Busters, and Hard Rock Cafe – netted
the arrest of 12 janitors in the Denver area, authorities announced

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents also arrested three
owners of the cleaning company – Nevada-based Rosenbaum-Cunningham
International Inc. – accusing them of evading $18 million in
payroll taxes and using the money to buy boats, vehicles,
racehorses, fancy homes and education for their kids.

If convicted, the owners – Florida residents – could face up to 10
years in prison and restitution to the government.

This case shows “how some employers try to beat the system and
their competition by hiring illegal workers,” said Jeff Copp, ICE
district chief based in Denver. “Bypassing immigration, tax and
labor laws are serious crimes that will be investigated and
prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The names, nationalities and locations of detained janitors weren’t
released. Immigrant-rights advocates urged ICE agents to ensure
humane treatment for families so that children returning from
school wouldn’t be alone. Colorado activists planned to gather
downtown at El Centro Humanitario para los Trabajadores on Thursday
night to pray for worker families and call for a moratorium on

The corporate-run restaurants that hired RCI to perform janitorial
services weren’t targeted.

“We’re looking for a new company for janitorial services,” ESPN
Zone spokeswoman Christine Baum said.

The Wednesday-Thursday crackdown, shortly before Congress debates
immigration, follows high-profile raids Dec. 12 that targeted
workers at Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Colorado and five
other states.

ICE officials say they’re escalating worksite enforcement to remove
the jobs magnet that has drawn an estimated 8 million illegal
foreign workers.

“There are a number of industries … that hire illegal aliens
blatantly almost as part of their business practices,” ICE
spokesman Marc Raimondi said in Washington, D.C.

While companies that used RCI janitors weren’t targeted, all U.S.
companies ought to be checking their contractors, asking to review
worker documents, Raimondi said.

This won’t insulate companies but could help keep them on the right
side of the law, he said.

“Most businesses want to do the right thing,” he said.

Now immigration analysts, who are tracking recent raids, are
considering where continued robust immigration enforcement might

“What Americans will find is they don’t have as clean an
environment to munch their burgers and fries,” said Crystal
Williams, deputy director of the American Immigration Lawyers
Association, a pro-immigration group in Washington.

The eateries that employed RCI janitors “are going to find it hard
to replace the people who were removed,” Williams said. “There’s
a need for these workers.”

“As they do more raids, we will find people we take for granted,
who do work we don’t do, are bit by bit disappearing,” Williams
said. “If ICE keeps on enforcing, and Congress doesn’t do anything
to ensure there’s a legal flow of workers, we’re going to have
worker shortages in a lot of the service industries.”

Another possibility: Employers might have to pay higher wages.

“I don’t have any official numbers to draw from,” Colorado
Department of Labor and Employment senior economist Joseph Winter
said. “But if the raids are effective enough to dissuade
lower-priced workers from coming into the state, it may have some
effect on wages.”



Illegal immigrants employed by janitorial contractor
Rosenbaum-Cunningham International taken into custody


Business locations in 17 states and D.C. where raids took place


Workers arrested in Denver-area eateries ESPN Zone, Dave & Busters
and Hard Rock Cafe