Arizona police raid two eateries in Phoenix targeting illegal immigrants
Deputies from Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) served search warrants on two Sizzler steak houses in Phoenix suspected of employing illegal immigrants on Saturday, the Arizona Republic newspaper reported on its website.
This is the second sweep against suspected illegal immigrants living in the state in less than one week, Xinhua reported.
By Wednesday, deputies from MCSO have arrested a total of 40 illegal aliens in a 36-hour period as a result of multiple traffic stops and an investigation into an apparent Mesa drop house.
Thirty-one of them were transferred into the custody of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while other nine suspects were booked into a county jail on human smuggling charges.
In Saturday's operation, MCSO deputies arrested nine employees from two Sizzlers who they believe are using fraudulent identification to gain employment, Lt. Brian Lee said in a statement.
The arrests followed a year-long investigation into a tip from a former manager who claims he was fired by the restaurant for being unwilling to hire employees without proper identification, Lee was quoted as saying.
Deputies were looking for 23 suspects wanted for identity theft, including one who has been deported three times and has been hired back by Sizzler each time upon his return, Lee added.
The manager was reportedly offered three months severance pay for not going to law inforcement, according to the report.
On April 23, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 in an effort to crack down on illegal immigrants in the United States. Police in the state are empowered to stop and interrogate those who are suspected of being in the country illegally. Illegal aliens will be fined and imprisoned in accordance with the legislation which goes into effect on July 29.