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Friday, January 27, 2012 - 19:00
EL PASO – A man remains in federal custody after his Jan. 24 arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.
Mexican national Armando Sosa-Contreras, 47, is alleged to be an aggravated felon charged with re-entry after deportation, fraud and misusing visas, permits, and other documents.
Sosa-Contreras was originally deported in July 2001 after he served prison time for intoxicated manslaughter and theft following his May 1998 arrest by the El Paso Police Department.
Anyone who re-enters the United States after having been formally deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
HSI El Paso special agents found Sosa-Contreras after initiating an investigation of the construction company where he had been working since 2007. An audit of the business’s I-9 employment forms showed that Sosa-Contreras falsely claimed he was a U.S. permanent resident to illegally gain employment in the United States.
Sosa-Contreras lost his permanent resident status when he was removed from the United States after his aggravated felony conviction. He made his initial appearance in federal court Jan. 25. His preliminary and detention hearing is set for Jan. 30.
I-9 audits are one of the most powerful tools the federal government has to ensure that businesses comply with U.S. employment laws.
“These audits are part of HSI’s overall strategy to promote compliance with the law and deter illegal employment,” said Dennis A. Ulrich, acting special agent in charge for HSI El Paso. “Locally, it’s also one more avenue HSI special agents rely on to identify and arrest individuals who pose a threat to public safety in our community.”