16 workers at Camden Yards seized 8 face deportation


Eight Camden Yards construction workers are awaiting deportation hearings after federal immigration agents raided the building site of the new Orioles stadium last week.

Sixteen construction workers -- from Mexico, Korea, El Salvador and Honduras -- were arrested on the site in Thursday's raid, according to Martin Renkiewicz, supervisory specialist of the Baltimore District Office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Five of the workers later were able to produce documents that prove they are working in the country legally, Mr. Renkiewicz said.

Two Salvadorans asked for "temporary protective status" because of political problems in their country. If granted that status, the workers will be allowed to remain in the United States for up to 18 months, the agent said. And a Honduran has sought asylum here. At a hearing, he will have to show he would face persecution if he returns to Honduras.

The remaining eight workers were unable to show papers proving they are legally working here, Mr. Renkiewicz said. They are being held at the immigration service's detention center in Wicomico County.

The 16 arrested ranged in age from 17 to 41 years old and were doing construction projects that included concrete work and carpentry.

Mr. Renkiewicz said the companies that employed the men have been "tentatively identified" as Buenos Aires Construction, Inc., Strickland Roofing and K & K Enterprises.

The employers could be fined up to $2,000 per worker if the INS investigation finds the firms knowingly hired aliens not authorized to work in the United States.

Bruce H. Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, which is overseeing the stadium construction, said about 700 construction workers were at the site during Thursday's raid.

He said the Stadium Authority requested several months ago that the INS "look into the possibility that some of the subcontractors there were hiring illegal aliens. So if they found something wrong, good. That's what we want."

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