February 18, 11:25 PM
DHS Secretary Napolitano ordering illegal aliens released
APLast weekend, St. Francois County Sheriff Daniel Bullock arrested 14 illegal aliens, the men were working on a construction site, where a new Hampton Inn is being built.
Sheriff Bullock told a reporter that he wanted to see the jobs go to legal residents. St. Francois County has been hard-hit by this country’s deep recession. The county has an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent.
However, when the sheriff reported the arrests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he was told by the federal agency that they were not interested, and furthermore, he had no authority to hold the illegal aliens.
Unemployed glass worker Gerald Bowyer, told KTVI: “They're taking jobs away from people that need jobs right now that are US citizens. To me, it seems like the illegals in this country got more rights than what the Americans do.”
Many county residents are angry over the incident and believe that illegal labor has been used for quite a while on the new hotel.
Bob Meynell, of Carpenters' District Council of Greater St. Louis, said: “Our unemployment rate right now is 11.1%. When the local police would drive by you would hear all the whistles on the job site and you'd turn around to look and 6 or 7 of them were hiding.”
Despite the disappointing reaction from ICE, Sheriff Bullock said he will continue to look for illegal alien labor in the county.
“I've been hearing stories of this for the last several months officers picking up illegals and then just turning them loose,” Bullock said. “Somewhere along the line our legislators need to change the way things are done.”
Despite the roundup. the hotel’s owner, Mike Van Stavern, as well as the general contractor, Thomas Construction have denied hiring illegal aliens.
Shortly after the incident, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) issued a press release, lambasting the Department of Homeland Security for recently adopting a policy, which demands local law enforcement release illegal aliens who they have taken into custody.
The release stated: “Unfortunately, what happened is not an isolated incident in St. Francois County. In other places around Missouri and across the country, the work of our police officers, sheriffs and deputies is being undone by federal officials. It’s not the fault of the St. Francois County Sheriff – he’s doing his job. We ought to have everyone on the same page, and the federal government ought to take a much tougher line on illegal immigration.”
Rep. Emerson continued: “It’s disheartening and outrageous.”