US immigration official found guilty of keeping an undocumented immigrant
United States, 17th March: A senior ex-official with the US Department of Homeland Security is facing trial for keeping an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper in her home.
As per the court records, Lorraine Henderson, who was a regional director of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, was found to be violating the immigration law for which she had sworn to uphold.
Henderson was liable for curbing all illegal immigrants from sneaking into the country through Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. She has been suspended from her position without pay.
The official’s voice was recorded on a wire worn by Fabiana Bittencourt, the housekeeper whom she had employed in her home. Bittencourt was advised by Henderson not to leave the US because if she(Bittencourt) goes, she wont be able to come back again, Diane C. Freniere, the Assistant Attorney was quoted.
The housekeeper Bittencourt was employed with Henderson since 2003 as a housekeeper and was also recommended to Nora Ehrlich, Henderson’s neighbor and colleague in the same department.
When Ehrlich enquired from Bittencourt about her legal status, she was told that the Brazilian housekeeper was an undocumented immigrant. On knowing this, Ehrlich immediately released her from the duties. In fact, Ehrlich also advised Henderson to follow the same. However, Henderson continued to keep Bittencourt in her home as a housekeeper.
Even after two years, when Ehrlich found that Bittencourt was still there in Henderson’s house, she informed the authorities of the same and Bittencourt was arrested.
The department of US Homeland Security had advised all its officials not hire any undocumented immigrant outside the sphere of their work.
Henderson is facing charges of encouraging an undocumented immigrant to live in the US, an offence which can lead her to face a sentence of up to five years, unless and until the offence is found to have been committed for monetary gains, for which the maximum sentence is up to 10 years, Freniere revealed.
Meanwhile, Henderson’s lawyer, Francis J. DiMento, stated that his client did not break any laws as federal immigration law permits hiring undocumented immigrants as domestic employees.