A recent raid in Arizona is sparking fears nationwide that illegal immigrants may have infiltrated the nation's largest military intelligence-training center.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he has “deep concerns” that people in the country illegally have “managed to gain access onto an active U.S. military installation."
"This cause for concern goes well beyond the argument that people are only committing the crime of wanting to work in this country," he said at a press conference Tuesday.
Arpaio's detectives conducted a raid at Phoenix-based cleaning company Valley View Building Services Tuesday in search of 25 employees suspected of identity theft and fraud. At least one of the suspects had worked at Fort Huachuca, an Army post 15 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border that serves as the largest military intelligence-training center in the country.
Five women were detained, four were suspected of being in the country illegally; the fifth is a U.S. citizen with an outstanding warrant. Authorities are still searching for other illegal immigrants said to be working for the company – particularly any others that may be working at the Army post.
"We did serve another search warrant on the residence of the owner and, going through the papers, we're going to determine which work sites that the others may be working at," he said.
The owners of Valley View Building Services said they cooperated fully with detectives and argue they have gone to great lengths to comply with U.S. and Arizona immigration laws, including using E-Verify for all its employees, a system that allows businesses to determine if someone is legally allowed to work in the United States.
"We've done everything legally we could've possibly done," owner Joel Votaw told MyFoxPhoenix.com. "Is there something legal that we're not aware of as business owners that we should be checking? Because I don't think that we can just…fire people based on accusations or suspicions that they might be here illegally."