When Immigration and Customs Enforcement released its final count Friday, some 57 illegal immigrants had been arrested in Thursday's raid on a Lindon manufacturing plant.

Universal Industrial Sales Inc. now faces a federal indictment on charges of harboring illegal immigrants in connection with the raid, which resulted from a monthslong investigation, as does the company's human resources manager.

"These indictments show ICE's commitment to fully investigating companies and their hiring managers who attempt to disregard our laws," said ICE Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers. "Employers who ignore their responsibilities and the law will be brought to justice."

Universal Industrial Sales did not answer the phone on Friday. The company contracts with the Utah Department of Transportation, and whether it will maintain those contracts is yet to be seen. It manufactures highway products, including guard rails, bridge rails and sign structures.

"We are evaluating what to do as a state," said Vicki Schoenfeld, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Administrative Services.

And UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo said, "We're still trying to find out what direction we're going to take ... In the past we've received great work from them and had no complaints about the quality of their products."

The indictments are indicative of an issue a Senate panel considered Friday when it voted to move SB81 to the Senate floor. That measure would, in part, require starting July 1, 2009, public employers and those they contract with use the federal E-Verify system to check the work eligibility of new hires.

Swift & Co., a company that faced an immigration raid in 2006, used Basic Pilot, E-Verify's precursor. Swift & Co. did not face criminal liability.

Immigration attorney Roger Tsai said E-Verify only checks a match between the name, age and Social Security number of a new hire.

"It is not a criminal background check," Tsai said. "It can't tell you if all three are correct."

Of the 57 workers arrested Thursday, about 30 cases are being forwarded to the Utah County Attorney's Office for possible criminal prosecution on charges such as identity theft, forgery or documented fraud.

There may also be more federal charges, as some of the workers may be charged with illegal re-entry after deportation.

Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said it wasn't yet known how many people would be facing those federal charges, which carry sentences of two to 20 years, if convicted.

"We will screen the cases when ICE gives us the report and make prosecution decisions," Rydalch said. "We will look at each case individually and consider all the facts. However, we do take cases involving individuals who have previous deportations very seriously, particularly if they have criminal histories."

ICE spokesman Greg Palmore declined to discuss details of the investigation, saying it was still ongoing.

Most of those detained were being held at the Weber or Utah county jails. Those who don't face state or federal charges will be handled administratively.

"They will be afforded due process through the immigration courts," Palmore said. "They will have a chance to plead their case."

Following interviews and health evaluations, one man was conditionally released for health reasons and will be required to appear before an immigration judge at a later date. Federal investigators were also on hand to ensure the workers were paid wages for hours they worked while employed at Universal Industrial Sales Inc.


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