oil spill cleanup workersA Health Safety and Environment (HSE) worker collects pieces of an oiled snare boom on Port Fourchon beach in Louisiana.Photo: U.S. Coast GuardFeet in 2 Worlds reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is searching for illegal immigrants among people working to clean up the BP oil disaster.

ICE conducted two investigations in May at command centers to check the legality of workers. An ICE spokesperson, Temple H. Black, told Feet in 2 Worlds that no arrests were made, but went on to say that if undocumented workers had been found, they “would have been detained on the spot and taken to Orleans Parish Prison.”

What strikes me about this situation is that British Petroleum can legally come to the Gulf and devastate an entire ecosystem and the economy it supports, but when “illegal” immigrants come to clean up the mess, they are treated like criminals. There’s something seriously wrong here.

Black goes on to explain the agency’s priorities. “We don’t normally go and check people’s papers-we’re mostly focused on transnational gangs, predators, drugs. This was a special circumstance because of the oil spill.”

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ICE is concerned that undocumented workers are taking jobs from U.S. citizens. But BP has done more to take jobs away from U.S. citizens than “illegal” immigrants working on the Gulf Coast ever will.


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