ICE construction raid in Hawaii

On Sept. 22, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 21 workers at the Honua Kai construction site in Kaanapali, on the island of Maui in Hawai’i. Twelve of the workers were from Mexico, eight were from Brazil and one was from Slovakia. All were placed in deportation proceedings. The Maui Police Department assisted in the raid. ICE coordinated the arrests with Ledcor Construction, the general contractor for the Honua Kai project. According to ICE, all 21 workers arrested in the raid worked for Global Stone Inc., a subcontractor based in Orem, Utah.

On Aug. 20, ICE agents arrested 23 people working for three different companies at the Honua Kai site, including 13 people employed by Global Stone. After the August arrests, Ledcor said it sent letters to subcontractors on the project advising them to comply with labor and immigration laws. (AP, Sept. 24; Honolulu Advertiser, Sept. 24)

“We don’t begrudge the workers who come to this country in search of an opportunity to better themselves and their families, as Hawai’i itself has an immigrant history,” said Kyle Chock, executive director of the Pacific Resource Partnership, in a Sept. 23 statement. “But we are extremely concerned about employers who disregard the social and economical consequences they have on Hawai’i’s economy and the workers they employ.” The Partnership is a joint program of the 6,000-member Hawaii Carpenters Union, Local 745, and its 220 signatory contractors across the state. (HA, Sept. 24) The Partnership has been pushing for increased enforcement and recently launched an advertising campaign on the subject of unauthorized immigrant labor. (HA, Sept. 21)

From Immigration News Briefs, Oct. 5

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle in Hawaii.