But now there's fear that the scam run by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Bureau who lured 48 undocumented immigrant workers lure them into a sting operation organized by impersonating OSHA officers.
Richard Shaw, former chairman of the Justice and Equality project, said it's too early to gauge the local impact of the sting. But there's a lot of chatter on the Internet, with immigration groups sending out alerts.But after being pounded by several articles in Confined Space (as well as a front page NY Times article), the ICE seems to have gotten the idea."
"It's making the rounds," said Shaw, who is also secretary-treasurer of the Harris County AFL-CIO, which participates in the program.
News of the sting comes at a critical time for groups like the OSHA-funded Houston Workers Safety Initiative, which has trained about 200 low-income, immigrant and young workers in Houston. The group's most recent training session was at the day labor site in the East End of Houston and focused, in part, on knowing health and safety rights on the job.
Shaw is worried employers will use the news of the sting as a way to warn employees from reporting safety problems to OSHA.
ICE understands the concerns raised by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the use of its name during the arrest of illegal aliens at the military base," the agency said in a prepared statement. "ICE has put in place new procedures to ensure that appropriate coordination is completed before future operations."We'll see.
- OSHA or Immigration? How To Tell The Difference, July 17, 2005
- NY Times Covers OSHA Impersonation Story, Saturday, July 16, 2005
- Betrayal in North Carolina: Unions Condemn OSHA Impersonators, July 14, 2005
- Stupid and Deadly: Undocumented Workers Lured into Arrest With Promise of Safety Training, July 11, 2005