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Burbank Airport employees arrested

Ben Godar

Nine people employed by businesses that serve the

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport were arrested for immigration

violations during a two-week investigation by federal agents.


Officials with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

announced the arrests late Thursday. The nine employees worked in a

variety of areas including retail sales, baggage handling,

construction, parking and catering. Some were even working for


private security firms on airport property, bureau spokesman

Francisco Arcaute said.

“We want to make sure that people who work at airports are worthy

of the trust that is given to them,” he said. “These people have

access to very sensitive areas.”

The Burbank Airport was the last of 11 airports in the area to be

investigated as part of Operation Tarmac, a nationwide initiative by

the agency to ensure that people working in and around airports are


properly documented.

Arcaute said the number of arrests in Burbank was consistent with

the relative number at other area airports. Investigations in 2002

led to 104 arrests at Los Angeles International Airport and 51 at

John Wayne Airport, he said.

Of the nine people arrested, Arcaute said seven are unauthorized

to work in the country and face possible deportation. The other two

are legal permanent residents whose criminal convictions, including


domestic violence, make them subject to removal, he said.

The names of the people arrested were not released because

immigration arrests are not subject to open records laws, Arcaute

said. The names of the companies the individuals worked for were also

withheld because some are still being investigated and could face

fines if they knowingly hired ineligible workers, he said.

The workers all had their security clearances revoked and have

been placed in immigration proceedings, Arcaute said.

The Airport Authority cooperated in the investigation by providing

necessary documents, but spokesman Victor Gill said none of the

people arrested were employed directly by the airport. He also said

he does not anticipate airport officials would take any action

against employers who were found to have undocumented workers.

“This was a fairly low threshold situation,” he said. “It doesn’t

appear there were any egregious violations.”