Immigration agents arrest illegal contract workers at BP refinery

WHITING | U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested today 15 illegal workers who were working as contract janitorial workers at the BP Whiting oil refinery, according to an agency news release.

The arrests are the result of a two-year work site enforcement investigation that is ongoing. BP spokesman Scott Dean said that BP’s security staff agreed with immigration authorities that the undocumented workers posed no threat to the refinery or to refinery staff, “which is what allowed the investigation to contine over a period of several months.”

According to the report, ICE officials began the investigation after receiving information that illegal aliens were being contracted by an Illinois company to perform janitorial duties at the refinery, and given access to secure areas of the plant.

The workers arrested include 11 women and four men, and all were employed by United Building Maintenance based in Carol Stream. Of those arrested, 14 are illegal aliens from Mexico and one is from Guatemala, the news release said. All of those taken into ICE custody will be fingerprinted, photographed and placed into deportation proceedings.

The BP Whiting Refinery has cooperated for several months with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in its investigation into the use of undocumented janitorial workers by UBM Inc. of Carol Stream, Ill., said the company in a written statement Wednesday.

“No BP employees were subjects of the investigation and BP will continue to cooperate with immigration officials in the case,” BP said. “BP takes this matter seriously. As an international company, we have a diverse workforce of many nationalities. We follow U.S. immigration and employment laws regarding our U.S.-based employees. We expect our contractors to do the same.”