November 9, 2005, - 8:54 am
By Debbie Schlussel
I liked Wal-Mart. I’m not one of the far-left, anti-Wal-Mart activists. But this latest news is very disappointing (though not at all surprising).
After ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents raided Wal-Mart in October 2003 for employing illegal alien janitors, the retail giant pleaded ignorance. Wal-Mart execs pleaded ignorance to the illegals, claiming that only the contractor, for whom the clean-up crew worked, knew.
I never believed the store’s claims. I thought Wal-Mart knew all along. And now, it turns out, I was right. The U.S. government and ICE knew all along, too, but, under then-ICE leader Michael Garcia, let Wal-Mart get away with it for $11 million, a drop in the bucket for the giant discounter.
Saturday’s Wall Street Journal and Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report that documents–released in a lawsuit against Wal-Mart–prove Wal-Mart knew it was hiring illegal aliens all along. In fact, Wal-Mart executives at the highest levels of the company not only knew, but helped facilitate this and actively engaged the contractor in hiring only illegal aliens.
Wal-Mart division vice president in charge of operations, Leroy Schuetz (also identified at Leroy Schutz), instructed the janitorial contractor to create multiple shell companies, so that “if one company was fired for employing illegal aliens, Mr. Walters [the contractor] could continue to do business with Wal-Mart through other companies,” a sworn affidavit by an ICE agent recounts. Wal-Mart made clear to the contractor that if he did not do this, he would lose the Wal-Mart contract.
At an April 2003 meeting at Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas, secretly taped, the contractor told Steve Bertschy, Wal-Mart vice president in charge of store maintenance that he used illegal aliens in his cleaning services and that Wal-Mart employed them 400 stores. On the tape, Bertschy responded, “Don’t repeat that,” turned down an offer to replace the illegal aliens with legal workers, and stated that the illegals were paid as little as $1 an hour.
Question for Wal-Mart: Are Schuetz/Schutz and Bertschy still working for the company? I’d bet they are.
Regardless, remember this when you do your holiday and everyday shopping. Since they don’t care about America’s and your safety and security, should you help their financial safety and security by contributing to the store’s bottom line?
Tags: America, Arkansas, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, contractor, Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Garcia Knew By Debbie Schlussel, ICE, Immigration Chief, janitorial contractor, leader, Leroy Schuetz, Leroy Schutz, Michael Garcia, retail giant, Steve Bertschy, U.S. government, United States, USD, Vice President, Wal-Mart, Wall Street Journal