Trump Alien-Harboring Crackdown Ends With Surprise Payday

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, known for raids ending in mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, says it’s helping five “illegal aliens” recover $250,000 in back pay from a California building contractor.

Their Hayward-based employer didn’t fare so well. Job Torres Hernandez, 37, was charged with illegal trafficking in a grand jury indictment unsealed Friday and accused of failing to pay minimum wage starting in July 2015. The government is also seeking to confiscate from Hernandez any property used for his crime.

The workers were presented with checks and assurances that the agency will take steps to allow for their permanent work status in the U.S. as trafficking victims.

Homeland Security Investigations “uses a victim-centered approach when investigating alleged criminals who display a complete disregard for basic human rights,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge for HSI in northern California and northern Nevada. “People present in the country illegally are often exploited by the criminal element -- but HSI aims to help anyone put in these conditions regardless of their status.”

Hernandez’s lawyer, Jesse Joseph Garcia, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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