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
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.”