60 Arrests in another MCSO raid on landscaping company

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX - There are new developments in Wednesday's immigration raid on a Valley company.

The sheriff's office raided Handyman Maintenance in Phoenix early Wednesday morning resulting in the arrest of 60 suspected undocumented immigrants.

Rep for raided company speaks out

3TV talked to a representative for the company contracted by Maricopa County. Handyman Maintenance, also known as HMI, says they did everything in their power to not hire illegal immigrants. They also say E-verify might not be all it is cracked up to be.

There would be no landscaping Wednesday for the majority of workers at Handyman Maintenance. At the start of their shift around 6 a.m. they were greeted by armed sheriff's deputies.

For the last several years the company has been contracted to do the landscaping around county buildings such as libraries, the jail and a forensic center.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, "The board of supervisors seem to be more concerned with me placing illegal immigrants in a Tent City, which we have thousands in, than they are about illegals being hired."

Julie Pace, whose law firm represents HMI, says owners of the company went above and beyond the employment requirements and used E-verify on every worker hired after Jan. 1, 2008 but could not do that for all employees. It is illegal to use E-verify on employees hired before then.

Pace explains, "I would prefer that we focus these raids on the companies that aren't paying worker's comp, that aren't paying unemployment, that are paying cash under the table, that are not using E-verify, that are not using I-9's. There are a lot of companies out there still and I think that is a better use of resources."

She also says she questions E-verify saying she has several clients that had potential employees pass E-verify with stolen or fake identification.

Pace says, "Numerous companies have employees pass E-verify using counterfeit documents. It is becoming very common right now."

It seems HMI will keep their contract with the county and will now be hiring new employees. Several calls to the board of supervisors were not returned.