Murkowski Presses Defense
Department on Case Last Year Involving Illegal Immigrants Working
March 24, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on
Tuesday pressed a senior Defense Department official for details
on what the service has done to close a loophole that allowed
illegal immigrants to work on Elmendorf Air Force Base last year
before the security breach was discovered.
Murkowski questioned Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary
of Defense for Installations and Environment, at a hearing of
the Senate Appropriations Military Construction Subcommittee.
Last October, acting on a tip from the Ironworkers Local 751
in Anchorage, agents from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) discovered that four of 30 employees of an Air Force construction
contractor building hangars at Elmendorf were in the country
illegally and that one of the four had a criminal history in
"I think we all recognize that our Air Force bases are supposed
to be secure areas and yet this was a pretty specific example
of not only people not eligible to work here in this country
and get into the gate and do the work, but of an employee with
a criminal record," Murkowski said.
Murkowski asked whether the contractor had been disciplined and
what the Obama Administration was doing to ensure that scarce
constructions jobs are going to people legally entitled to work
in the United States.
Robyn said she couldn't say for sure whether the contractor was
disciplined. "It's hard to believe that they were not because
my understanding is this was a contractor from California that
went up to Alaska and took workers with him, so it would seem
that they were liable" she said.
Robyn also said the four illegal immigrants were arrested through
a joint Air Force/ICE effort and that the service was "using
this as a learning experience to improve our clearance and approach
Murkowski also asked Robyn about the military's view on encouraging
housing privatization partners to use local contractors and local
construction workers for privatized housing work at military
bases. Murkowski was referring to a situation at Fort Wainwright
involving a partnership with Actus Lend Lease to privatize housing
at Wainwright. Local contractors have expressed serious concern
that Actus was bringing in out of state contractors to displace
Robyn said the military strongly supported housing privatization
efforts and didn't know if the situation at Wainwright was unique.
"It may be. I've been on the job nine months and it may
be that I just don't know about it, so I can't give you a good
answer," she said. Murkowski asked Robyn to respond in writing
to her questions.
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