There are legal ways to bring in cheap labor from overseas to do brutal work for low wages.
Immigration attorneys typically earn at least $10,000 per immigrant (because the application process is labor-intensive). Unskilled immigrants typically work for close to minimum wage.
According to Wikipedia: “ProjectUSA is an immigration reduction political advocacy group. According to the group’s website, it is “a nonprofit social advocacy group based in Washington, DC and dedicated to raising public debate about the important issue of mass immigration. We advocate ending illegal immigration, reducing legal immigration to traditional, sustainable levels, and a ten year time-out while the country reassesses immigration in terms of the long-term consequences of present policy.””
I first picked up the Agriprocessors story in May, 2004. It began far from Iowa’s cornfields with the arrival of a Chinese national named Hu Yao Bin with his wife and two children on Cathay Pacific Airlines Flight CX872 at San Francisco’s international airport .
The paperwork Mr. Hu presented to immigration inspectors at the airport was in order. It showed that a US employer named Aaron Rubashkin, president of Agriprocessors, Inc. of Postville, Iowa, had petitioned successfully for the visa that Mr. Hu and his family presented to immigration inspectors.
It should have been another rubber stamp entry. But no sooner had Mr. Hu and his family been cleared to enter the United States, permanently, than Mr. Hu blundered badly. As they were leaving he asked the inspecting officer to forward his Legal Permanent Resident card to his intended address in San Francisco’s Chinatown—not to the kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa that was to be his place of employment.
Oops. That’s one heck of a commute. Mr. Hu was promptly referred to a second agent for questioning.
Hu Yao Bin
(photo from ICE
He confessed everything in the second interview. In a sworn statement, Mr. Hu said that his friend, Mr. Hu Shu Bin, had obtained the immigrant visa from the American consulate in Guangzhou, China. Mr Hu had paid his friend US$30,000—the standard fee “snakeheads” charge for a valid visa in China.
In the statement, Mr. Hu Yao Bin stated that Mr. Hu Shu Bin had arranged for the family to immigrate through an American immigration lawyer named Christopher A. Teras, who, Mr Hu told the agent, had processed hundreds of these cases.
When the interview was over, Mr. Hu received a “deferred inspection”. He was released with a request that he reappear voluntarily at a later date.
After Mr. Hu and his family left to start their new lives as Americans, an ICE agent telephoned Agriprocessors. It happened to be a Jewish holiday, so the plant was closed. But a security guard named Warren Timmerman was on duty, and he showed no reluctance to talk to to the agent.
He told the agent that, yes, “hundreds of Chinese” immigrants come to Postville to work at the slaughterhouse for a couple of weeks in order to fulfill their visa requirement, then disappear.
The agent then called Mr. Hu’s attorney, Christopher Teras, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Assn whose office in Washington, DC, as it turned out, was just five blocks from my own. A “Ms. Kim-attorney secretary”, answered the telephone at the law firm. She too was very forthcoming. In a heavy Asian accent, she told the agent that $30,000 was a typical fee for someone like Mr. Hu, and that, yes, the firm “has successed for hundreds of such”.
Poultry and meat processing firms such as Agriprocessors have a hard time recruiting workers because the work is so brutal and the pay is so low. See my interview with Stephen Bloom, author of the book Postville.
Even with high unemployment, these firms still have difficulty finding full staffing. This creates a lucrative demand for skilled immigration attorneys such as Christopher A. Teras.
In 1995, Christopher Teras set up a shell company, Worldwide Personnel, to recruit foreign workers out of his law firm (used to be Christopher Teras PC, now he works — according to this link — for Lohrmann & Rim, P.C. in Virginia, even though he has no license to practice law in Virginia).
Until 2007, these recruiters could pick a name, file for these work visas, and then substitute somebody else who will pay the fee. Teras had made millions of dollars providing foreign workers to American companies.
In July 2009, a recruiter Christopher Teras worked with filed a bar complaint against him in Washington D.C. for fraud, misrepresentation and double-dipping (violation of rule 8.4C).
Teras was let go by Carolina Turkeys.
Many immigration attorneys would see a conflict of interest between being an immigration attorney and a recruiter.