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Harvard Maintenance fires 240 Minnesota janitors in immigration crackdown

The ICE-men cometh to bust more undocumented workers.
The ICE-men cometh to bust more undocumented workers.

It's a bad time to be an undocumented worker in Minnesota.

Fresh off this winter's mass firings at Minnesota Chipotle restaurants, and a year after 1,200 local janitors were fired from ABM janitorial services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is back again with another immigration audit.

This time the target is Harvard Maintenance, a New York company that is firing 240 janitors -- more than half of its Minnesota workforce -- after an ICE "desktop raid." The firings began yesterday and will continue in phases through the month.

Neither Harvard Maintenance nor ICE would comment for this story, but the Service Employees International Union, which represents the fired workers, said today that the ICE audit of union workers with good pay and benefits flies in the face of the agency's stated goal of targeting employers who exploit workers.

"Almost systematically, the federal government has become an employment agency for the worst employers, pushing hardworking people into the underground economy where they face exploitation by bad-actor corporations," said SEIU Local 26 president Javier Morillo. "ICE reports targeting egregious employers that exploit workers, but this audit is just further evidence that [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano and [ICE Director John] Morton have failed."

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