Federal authorities found 33 illegal aliens in a woman’s home in Illinois in a raid on March 26. The woman reportedly forced the illegals to work and live in her basement.
Concepcion Malinek helped the illegals to surreptitiously cross into the United States in 2018 and 2019. She then exploited them by telling them they now owed her money for the help. Now she faces forced labor charges, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The 49-year-old woman helped them find work and transported them to and from the work site, while charging exorbitant fees and restricting their activities.
Presuntamente Concepción Malinek, quien enfrenta cargos, habría ayudado a estos emigrantes a cruzar a EEUU en 2018 y 2019. https://t.co/K7Tx1G8STR
— Aqui y Ahora (@AquiyAhoraShow) March 27, 2019
The victims are citizens of Guatemala. Of the people found at the house, 19 were adults and 14 were children.
A co-worker of one of the victims initially alerted the FBI, motivating the investigation.
Another victim knew Malinek from working construction at a hotel owned by her in Guatemala. He said Malinek tried to extort $18,000 out of him for helping him use her information on immigration paperwork.
He and his daughter lived at Malinek’s residence but were not allowed to freely see each other. The father was confined to living in the basement, while his 15-year-old daughter was allowed to live on the first floor.
Malinek charged another man $7,000 to get him and his son into the country after they were detained by authorities. She then arranged for his wife and second child to come in for a $30,000 fee.
The man, his wife, and two children ended up all living in Malinek’s basement.
Authorities found a ledger in which Malinek kept track of the debts she heaped upon the people she supposedly helped. A sentence in the ledger read “you are free to leave or stay after the debt has been paid,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Malinek allegedly used threats to scare the victims into compliance. She told one victim “immigration knows how many people live in this house, you guys are poor and I have all the money.”
She had a rule posted on the basement door about charging victims a fine if they left the basement for work without cleaning it. She would also force them to clean the entire house without pay, according to authorities.
More Illegal Alien Discoveries in Illinois
Authorities found 14 men from Guatemala and Ecuador stuffed inside an SUV after a traffic stop on a highway in Illinois in February, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.
The men were between 16 and 34 years of age and are all believed to be in the country illegally.
The driver, a 20-year-old Guatemalan, was charged with human smuggling. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is believed to have taken a fee to get the men across the border illegally.
Seven of the other men have been charged and could get up to two years in prison along with a $250,000 fine, since it may not be the first time they were caught illegally in the United States. Six more men face deportation.
The latest migrant caravan, made up of almost 2,500 individuals, is crossing through Mexico towards the United States. They are finding less help from Mexican authorities, seen as a move meant to discourage the caravans.
The group is not finding it as easy to get donations of food, water, clothing, and transportation as other groups, NBC 7 reported. They were even prevented from passing through a city center in southern Mexico, a sharp contrast from earlier caravans.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) March 26, 2019
“It is a strategy to break them up … to stop the caravans,” said Irineo Mujica, who has been part of a group pushing the caravans along towards the U.S. border.
The Mexican government also stopped issuing humanitarian visas at the Guatemalan border. The visas gave legal status to caravan migrants as they traveled through Mexico to get to the U.S. border.
Nonetheless, at least one Mexican city was offering water and medical help to the caravan migrants, according to NBC 7.