|Today’s Washington Post revealed quite an embarrassment for the Department of Homeland Security.
For 4 years James Reid, who owns a cleaning company, has been sending workers weekly to the home of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The secret service has been screening the workers before they enter Chertoff’s home. They have flown through the checks with flying colors. Now James Reid is furious. He now has in excess of $22,000 in fines. Why?
Now, owner James D. Reid finds himself in a predicament that he considers especially confounding. In October, he was fined $22,880 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators said he failed to check identification and work documents and fill out required I-9 verification forms for employees, five of whom he said were part of crews sent to Chertoff’s home and whom ICE told him to fire because they were undocumented.
Reid has found the fine so excessive that he might just have to go out of business. He feels it is extremely difficult for a businessman to distinguish between fake and real driver’s licenses and social security cards. What really frosts him is that he is being fined after being given the green light by the secret service. The secret service actually does not do immigration checks.
Immigration laws are unevenly enforced, he [Reid] added, allowing big companies to stay in business while crushing small-business owners and workers. He said the rules punish “scapegoats” such as him while inviting people at every level — customers, subcontractors and contractors — to look the other way while benefiting economically from cheaper labor.
“No one wants to put the blame on the head; they’d rather put the blame on the business owner,” said Reid, who owns Consistent Cleaning Services. “Damned if I should be fined for employees that I took over to their house.”
Chertoff declined to comment. “We’re very constrained in what we can say about anybody who has any kind of issue with the department,” he said.
It is easy to see why Secretary Chertoff is keeping his mouth shut. How embarrassing. I guess the expression not being able to police your own has come home to roost.