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Corruption Chronicles

Homeland Sec. Director Convicted In Illegal Alien Case

A high-ranking Homeland Security director responsible for preventing illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. has been convicted of inducing her Brazilian housekeeper to flout federal immigration laws by remaining in the country illegally.

The former port director for the New England area, Lorraine Henderson, had been federally indicted last spring for hiring illegal immigrants and encouraging them to stay in the U.S. Before getting indicted Henderson was the Massachusetts regional director of Customs and Border Protection, responsible for the inspection and admission of foreign nationals who sought entry into the U.S. and for preventing the entry of illegal aliens through the Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island ports of entry as well as Boston’s Logan Airport.  

Henderson wielded tremendous power and was authorized to grant or deny waivers to illegal immigrants seeking U.S. entry. She was also responsible for identifying and intercepting terrorists or terrorist threats at area seaports and airports. For years she paid illegal immigrants cash to clean her house and she even coached them on how to avoid deportation, according to federal prosecutors.

The former Homeland Security director even ignored repeated warnings over the years from a fellow federal officer that her domestic employees were in the country illegally, according to a federal affidavit. She was also recorded warning an illegal alien employee about deportation and telling the worker “if you leave they won’t let you back.”

Now the disgraced government official faces five years in prison. A federal jury in Boston deliberated for 4 ½ hours before finding Henderson guilty after a six-day trial in which she took the stand. Henderson actually testified that she didn’t think she “had the authority to ask” if her housekeeper was illegal and that she assumed the woman was a legal resident because she had a U.S.-born child.


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