Here is a story we wrote about back in April. It seems that this Kansas city has one problem after another with immigrants. First, Emporia had to deal with a roiled citizenry over Tyson’s Food hauling Somali refugees to the city and then closing the plant. (See our whole category on Emporia here). And, now it turns out that imported Filipino workers were hired illegally for a construction project in the same city.
Although the Filipino ruckus did not involve refugees, it just demonstrates again points we have made recently about the public making no distinction between legal refugees and other immigrants (legal and illegal) when they see the connection to foreign worker hiring practices that allow companies to avoid paying for American workers.
Here is the gist of the story today from the Emporia Gazette:
The subcontractor that supplied unauthorized foreign workers for the construction of the Emporia Energy Center apologized to Sen. Jim Barnett and citizens of Emporia in a letter sent to Barnett late last week.
Integrated Service Company, a Tulsa, Okla.-based company also known as InServ, said “an unintentional error” was responsible for the employment of Filipino welders and pipefitters during the construction of the Westar Energy peaking plant. The Filipinos were in the United States on H-2B work visas, which allow them to fill jobs for which there are an insufficient number of American workers.
In order to properly certify the workers for the Westar project, InServ would have needed to notify the Kansas Department of Commerce, which is federally required to verify that not enough American workers are available to fill the jobs. That notification never took place. InServ was a subcontractor for Overland Contracting, a subsidiary of Black & Veatch, which contracted with Westar for the plant construction.
And, now here is the good part!
Rep. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth, began an inquiry into the Westar worker situation in March and had been exploring whether federal action can be taken against InServ, Black & Veatch or Westar. Ruff, who is completing her last term in the Kansas Legislature, said that when companies like InServ are exposed for illegal hiring practices, they go to great lengths to cover their tracks.
“Now, do I trust those bastards? Not in a New York minute do I trust ’em,” Ruff said before being sent a copy of Donaldson’s letter. “Because I think that, although they’ve gotten kind of their (expletive) in a ringer right now with the kind of things that they have been exposed to having been done, same (expletive), different day — they just got caught in Kansas. …
“This is all about making money off cheap labor, and I don’t think that’s gonna stop anytime soon. I really don’t.”
Barnett said the immigration laws that require businesses to employ legal workers should have teeth.
“If laws have been broken, then, like everyone else, there should be appropriate consequences,” he said.
I love you Kansans!