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Gulf Oil Spill: Feds Looking For Illegal Immigrants Working On Cleanup, Sheriff Worried About 'Criminal Elements'

06/ 9/10 06:35 PM ET   AP

Oil Spill Immigrants

NEW ORLEANS — A sheriff in suburban New Orleans has asked federal authorities to investigate reports that illegal immigrants are working on the Gulf oil spill cleanup effort.

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack A. Stephens said Wednesday that he asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement weeks ago to look into the reports.

ICE spokesman Brian Hale says the agency has not conducted any work site enforcement at the request of local officials and has not made any arrests.

Stephens says he wants to protect the community from "criminal elements" and not "people who want to earn an honest buck."

Immigrant rights groups lament that the request comes at a time when many people are searching for work.

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Filed by Jeff Muskus  |