Posted: Jun 9, 2010 11:54 AM by Greg Boyce
A sheriff in suburban New Orleans has asked federal authorities to investigate reports that illegal immigrants are working on the Gulf oil spill cleanup effort.
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack A. Stephens says in a news release that his department asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement weeks ago to look into the reports.
Stephens says he wants to protect the community from "criminal elements" seeking to establish "criminal enterprises." He says "we're not worried about people who want to earn an honest buck."
Immigrant rights groups lament that the request comes at a time when many people are searching for work. Stephens says his office has set up checkpoints in areas
affected by the spill and is working with agencies on a credential system for BP cleanup contractors.
ICE officials did not immediately return calls.