FEBRUARY 17, 2009
Elected officials in Arizona’s largest county have paid millions of tax dollars over the years to a company that employs illegal immigrants, dozens of them recently arrested for identification theft and forgery.
Over the span of nearly a decade, illegal immigrants regularly accessed virtually all public facilities—including jails and police stations—in Maricopa County because they worked for a local business hired by County Supervisors to do landscaping and other maintenance jobs.
The Phoenix company’s (Handyman Maintenance Inc) workers frequented 84 locations throughout the sprawling county, which is home to more than half of the state’s population, and they often had access to county jails, law enforcement substations and training facilities. For its work, the company has raked in $2.7 million from the county.
Maricopa County’s contract requires the Handyman Maintenance employees to wear an official identification badge any time they work on public property, but the measure has not been enforced for years which means that workers’ identities are rarely verified.
Last week, Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 60 Handyman Maintenance employees suspected of being in the U.S. illegally and at least 40 of them had warrants for ID theft and forgery. In a pathetic finger-pointing fiasco this week, various county agencies are blaming each other for not issuing the ID badges to the contract workers.
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