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Feds: 2 Houston agencies supplied Chinese restaurants with workers who were in US illegally

Federal authorities say they have shut down two Houston employment agencies that were recruiting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to work in Chinese restaurants in at least seven states, including Texas, Louisiana and Maine.

Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, said Thursday that the Hong Li and the Tai Shan employment agencies provided workers, mostly from Mexico and Central America, to the restaurants.

The agencies are also accused of housing the immigrants in often cramped homes and apartments and transporting them to restaurants in various states.

Authorities say 32 individuals were charged in two separate indictments.

Officials Thursday arrested 21 of those indicted. During the arrests, agents also took into custody nine people living in the country illegally.