Nearly two dozen illegal immigrants were arrested Wednesday, accused of using fake security badges to work in critical areas of O’Hare International Airport, including the tarmac, authorities said.
The 23 illegal workers were employed by Ideal Staffing Solutions Inc., whose corporate secretary and office manager also were arrested after an eight-month investigation that involved federal, state and Chicago authorities.
The company contracted work for carriers including United Airlines, KLM and Qantas, said Elissa A. Brown, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
Much of the investigation centered on the airport security badges issued by the Department of Aviation, said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Agents found that 110 of the 134 badges issued to Ideal Staffing workers did not match the individuals who carried them, he said.
The workers arrested, 21 from Mexico and two from Guatemala, were being held in the Cook County jail. They face state criminal charges and deportation, Brown said.
The affidavits allege that Ideal Staffing told workers they needed to have identification, but that the documents did not have to be legitimate, and also accused the company of supplying some workers with deactivated badges issued in other names.