Chinese employment agencies in Houston accused of providing illegal Hispanic workers to restaurants in 3 states
Teams of federal immigration agents launched a tri-state human trafficking crackdown in southwest Houston by raiding two employment agencies in the Chinatown area, the alleged center of a large conspiracy that supplied hundreds of undocumented Hispanic kitchen workers to Chinese restaurants.This is a consequence of a failed enforcement policy of this administration. These people are usually brought to cities like Houston by members of thej Mexican drug cartels who also extract payment for the trafficking. Pretending that the border is under control does not make it happen, but if they really wanted to they could cut the trafficking to near zero. The problem is that Democrats tend to see these people as future Democrat voters rather than immigration scofflaws.
The workers were exploited by the owners and managers of Chinese restaurants who recruited them, who paid them less than minimum wage and deducted rent payments for cramped living quarters they assigned them, said Brian Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston.
"You have two businesses, two placement agencies, that in essence built a business model where the commodity was illegal workers," said Moskowitz. "They acquired and delivered illegal workers to greedy restaurant owners around the country."
ICE agents arrested Lina Sun, 54, owner of the Long Li Job Agency at 9107 Bellaire Blvd. and a competitor several doors away, Chenglun Ma, 57, owner of Tai Shan Employment Agency, of 9115 Bellaire Blvd., agents confirmed.
Also being sought were the owners and managers of a number of Chinese restaurants across Texas and Louisiana who employed hundreds of workers provided by the two Chinatown employment agencies. The Houston agencies used a fleet of vans to deliver their undocumented workers to restaurant jobs in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas and employed a team of eight drivers, agents said.
"The workers, who were primarily from Mexico and Central America, worked in less than desirable conditions, were paid below minimum wage, received no benefits, we're provided housing that was substandard, and weren't allowed to keep tips or gratuities," Moskowitz said. "At the end, this is a crime about greed, profit and money."
Sun allegedly charged undocumented workers a $300 to $630 fee to place them with a restaurant, which was deducted from their first month's wages. Workers were paid a flat salary of $1,000 to $2,000 a month for workweeks of 72 hours, according to federal indictment unsealed in Beaumont.