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.

28 Thoughts to “Chertoff Home Cleaned by Illegal Immigrants”

  1. There’s a fascinating German film showing now on channel STARZ 5 called Black Book. It’s about a member of the Jewish Resistance who falls in love with the Gestapo Officer she was ordered to seduce.

  2. Police SWAT Team Holds Entire Family at Gunpoint for Hours

    The family that is held at gunpoint together, stays together!

  3. Rick Bentley

    First off here’s hoping this owner and most of the rest too DO go out of business. They know darned well they’re hiring illegal aliens. Is it too harsh for this board if I say that I hope he goes to jail and gets raped? (Just checking).

    The fact that Cheroff uses such an agency fits in with my theories that :

    1. We allow ourselves to be ruled by amoral out-of-touch elitists
    2. Bush and Chertoff are wh*res
    3. Homeland Security is one big joke

  4. I consider this much more of a political story than anything to do with Homeland Security as an agency, or national security as an actual concern. The Secret Service did manage to keep the DHS Secretary safe from harm. However, they seemed to have failed to protect him from a politically embarrassing oversight.

    The fact that someone who cleaned Mr. Chertoff’s house might have had an elapsed work permit is not a breach of security. It does remind us, though, that an “enforcement only” strategy that does not address the core issues involved in the illegal immigration problem is no longer tenable in the coming era of (hopefully) competant government.

    Luckily for Chertoff, his time is nearly up, and, there is a much more relevant political scandal dominating the headlines.

  5. Pat.Herve

    But if a secret service background check does not involve verifying their identity, then what is the use of doing a background check? These people *could* be planning on doing a terrible thing to Chertoff, and we do not know who they are – a total lapse in security. I do hope they have better background checks to get into the Whitehouse.

    As far as the business owner – he knew they were illegal, so at a minimum, the fine sounds too low – was he paying taxes on these employees, or just 1099’ing them?

  6. Rick Bentley


    and if the cleaners were of Middle eastern origin it would have raised flags

    but Latinos get to play by different rules.

  7. Moon-howler

    I would assume that if the secret service checked out my employees that it would be a better job than I would do. Apparently not, but that is not an illogical conclusion to draw.

    I think one major point of the story is how unequally laws are enforced.

  8. NotGregLetiecq

    Rick and Pat, you make a strong argument for mandatory citizenship or legal status for all undocumented immigrants currently in the United Stated. Now that we are all on the same page putting national security and effective law enforcement over maintaining the white majority, it stands to reason we’d all agree with Pat that law enforcement agencies will not be able to do their jobs effectively until we have a way of identifying everyone who lives and works here. Having an entire population living in the shadows is a lose/lose proposition for natural born citizens and immigrants alike.

  9. Rick Bentley

    “Having an entire population living in the shadows is a lose/lose proposition for natural born citizens and immigrants alike.”

    Yep. So let’s get on with encouraging self-deportation. Amnesty is not an option.

    Guest workers can come in as far as I’m concerned – I would hope in moderate numbers. But no one who snick in should be rewarded for doing so. And these two issues are not intrinsically tied up. We can live just fine without the illegals.

  10. Lucky Duck

    The Secret Service would run a “criminal check” in the background. If the person was never arrested or involved in the criminal justice system, they would come up as clean. If they were illegal immigrants, never arrested nor had any dealings with ICE, they would still come up as clean. Secret Service would not check immigration status for such a lower level position.

    If, however, the business owner had used the “E-Verify” system (regardless of your personal feelings on this system), he would have discovered the SSN’s used by the employees were either falsified or belonged to someone else. No matter your opinion, if the owner had availed himself of this system (which is available to his business) he could have avoided the fines. So he took a chance, lost, and is now liable for a fine. Hush up and pay up.

  11. Moon-howler

    Should the secret service take greater measures to protect public servants? If I were a terrorist, I know what kind of job I would pose in now.

  12. Pat.Herve

    Lucky – Exactly my point.

    If a criminal check does not verify the individual, why bother? Is it not a waste of time to run a check, if you do not verify who the person is first?

    I am all for a national id – we have one, the ssno, but you are not allowed to use it for id purposes.

  13. Rick Bentley

    And I’d learn Spanish.

    Or even not. But I’d get a job in a food processing plant.

    Homeland Security my a** … we need to secure our border.

  14. NotGregLetiecq

    I think it’s pretty clear that my approach would be better for our national security, and our economy. I don’t see the upside of holding to a 2007 outlook when we are about to enter 2009. The first step for those who are stuck in the past is to let go of your anger. It is understandable to harbour resentment toward an ethnic group that you feel has wronged you in the past. But in 2008 we learned two important things:

    If we allow fear or resentment to cloud our vision, everyone suffers for it, not just the people we fear or resent.

    And, there is no longer a political will for a government seized by fear and resentment.
    We’ve seen the results and we voted for change.

  15. Moon-howler

    Something needs to be good for the economy. I fear what will become of all of it if the auto industry goes under. Bush may end up being the hero after all.

    I don’t see how lawmakers can be so cavalier about several million jobs going south, by the time you factor in all the side industries. Senator Chris Dodd was furious today during his press conference.

    Today it occurred to me that it might be the Republican way to squeeze unions out of existence. I hope I am wrong. I am not particularly pro-union but….they have a right to exist. All of this sure has made me glad I live in a right to work state.

  16. michael

    The real issue in my opinion is ethics. When you lack ethics (as in following or not following law), you end up in two situations…

    1. Hurting those who have ethics and compete ethically for jobs, equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work.
    2. Ending up getting caught for your lack of ethics and lawlessness. Breaking the law always has consequences that those who follow law will by social definition protect themselves and their “equal” rights to “equal” opportunuty and “fair and equitable competition by insisting on the law being enforced and those who break it be punished.

    Its that simple, when you enforce the law, no one is embarrassed, no-one gets an unfair labor advantage over another, and no-one gets exploited.

    If you deport lawless people, then only lawful people remain and your society can now have equal opportunity, and equal pay for equal work, in a fair and competitive market that will grow rather than disintegrate as it is now.

  17. michael

    we have a work quota law and we have legal immigration laws. As long as those laws are not enforced and people who break them not deported,

    WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE “ILLEGALS” and “EMBARRASMENT and penalty for hiring illegals ” and the negative consequences of paying (literally, socially, morally, and economically) for continued unpunished “UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR”.

  18. michael

    Lawlessness has never been and never will be “good for the economy”.

  19. Pat.Herve

    Funny how they want the blue collar worker to give up pay, yet they continue to pay bonuses at the same institutions that is getting Billions for the bailout.

    Lehman (yes, bankrupt lehman), bear stearns, AIG, wachovia, etc – all paying bailouts, and the execs have yet to take a pay cut.

  20. Elena

    Nothing like standing up for the middle class working stiff, oh wait, THAT guy DOES get screwed. Lots of factory worker millionairs (sarcasm)!

  21. NotGregLeteicq

    Michael, I hear what you’re saying about ethics.

    Pat, I noticed the same thing with the Republicans in the Senate (who happen to have foreign carmakers in their states giving them campaign donations) are all to happy to let The Big 3 go under, or, they’ll try to dissolve the unions and use taxpayer money as their Trojan horse.


    Michael, your problem is that you are so blinded by the catch phrase “lawlessness” that you can’t see the simple solution. Require people to adjust their status, and there will be no more “lawlessness” for you to worry about. If you still object to new immigrants because of skin color, you will still be upset about the immigration issue. If you value human beings who contribute to this society regardless of skin color, than there will be no issue for use once we require undocumented people to adjust their status.

  22. Rick Bentley

    “And, there is no longer a political will for a government seized by fear and resentment.
    We’ve seen the results and we voted for change.”

    Did you see the recent Zogby poll showing that only 32% of Obama voters favor an Amnesty/comprehensive solution … Obama needs to tread carefully on this issue or people like me will be glad to tear a big bloody chunk out of him. It will make Clinton’s “gays in the military” phenomenon look like a picnic.

    “By a margin of 3 to 1 (60 percent to 21 percent), Americans prefer border and workplace enforcement to amnesty as the best approach for dealing with the problem.”

  23. Rick Bentley

    Check out the full poll results if you think I’m slanting things –

  24. Moon-howler

    Rick, people might care about immigration, but only a little bit. There is the economy, the war(s), terrorism, health care that people have prioritized. Didn’t you see in the last election that immigration wasn’t that big of a deal to most voters.

    Maybe what I am trying to say is, immigration has floated to the bottom of the barrel because of other more pressing issues.

  25. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Got e-verify?

  26. Moon-howler

    Tell me you are NOT the Patriot, Slow. For a second there…..

    Nah, a little too rational and a little less strident and old-womanish.

  27. michael

    NGL, the problem with adjusting legal status with paper is that it still does not prevent new people who also want you to simply adjust their status (once they have entered illegally), to continue to demand the same solution over and over. That is not a fix to illegal immigration, in fact it is an encouragement to continued illegal immigration and continued lawlessness and lack of ethics.

    There is only one viable solution for “illegal” immigration. Enfoce the law on everyone who is illegal, regardless of when it happened and why they are still here. Then force them to go home, submit the proper legal paperwork and wait thier legal turn. That is ethical. To do otherwise is unethical, and continues the problem rather than solve it.

    This is not a one shot deal. status was adjusted in 1986 for 10-12 million “illegals”. That did not stop those same people, who were instantly legal, from “illegally”inviting and housing new “illegal”family members, cousins, friends and casual associates (from workplaces, churchs and business contacts) and from encouraging and supporting another 25 million “illegal” people in the years since 1986 from “illegally” entering the US and applying for green cards while in an “illegal” status.

    I understand exactly what the consequences of making everyone currently “illegal” suddenly legal, and it WIL NOT solve the ethics, crime, social decay or financial problems currently caused by a significant population of today’s illegals, and will only continue the same set of problems from tomorrow’s “illegals”.

    The only way to stop all of this permanently is to enforce the law and deport anyone “illegal” in the US, in the past, present and future, leaving only “legal” people in the country.

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