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Monday September 21st, 2020 4:37AM

Collins asks for federal investigation into hiring practices at SK Innovation

By AccessWDUN Staff
  Contact Editor

Amid allegations that SK Innovation is illegally hiring employees from the company's home country of Korea for work at its North Georgia facility, Congressman Doug Collins of Gainesville said he wants federal officials to investigate.

Collins wrote a letter dated Wednesday, Aug. 19 to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office asking for a full investigation into a recent incident that unfolded at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. [Full content of the letter is available in the highlighted box at the end of this report.]

"As you know, on May 29, 2020, CBP indicated it had intercepted 33 Korean nationals at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport who were attempting to enter the United States with fraudulent work authorizations,” Collins wrote in his letter. “It is my understanding that CBP determined that this was not an isolated incident, and that these Korean nationals were part of a larger scheme to illegally bring foreign workers into the United States."

Collins also said a constituent in Georgia's Ninth District contacted him after observing a number of Korean nationals already working at the SK Innovation facility in Jackson County. 

"If true, these actions are not only hurting American workers, many of whom are currently eager for work, they are illegal and must be stopped. Therefore, I ask that CBP and ICE commit whatever investigative resources necessary to determine whether and to what extent there are foreign workers illegally employed at the facility in Georgia," Collins wrote.

SK Innovation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into its battery manufacturing facility at the Commerce 85 Business Park. In June, company officials announced a second expansion that was expected to bring an additional 600 jobs to the region. 

Fox 5 Atlanta investigative reporters also interviewed Collins as part of a special report on the allegations; the segment aired on the TV station Thursday night. 

August 19, 2020

Mr. Matthew T. Albence
Acting Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20536

Mr. Mark A. Morgan
Acting Commissioner
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20229

Dear Acting Director Albence and Acting Commissioner Morgan,

Thank you for your continued efforts to protect and serve the American people during this unprecedented time. As our nation works to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, protecting American jobs for American workers will remain a critical component of our nation’s economic recovery, which is why the importance of the work of both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) cannot be overstated.

I am writing to you today in regard to an incident that recently occurred at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, which suggests there may be an ongoing effort to illegally employ foreign nationals in my home state of Georgia. As you know, on May 29, 2020, CBP indicated it had intercepted 33 Korean nationals at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport who were attempting to enter the United States with fraudulent work authorizations. It is my understanding that CBP determined that this was not an isolated incident, and that these Korean nationals were part of a larger scheme to illegally bring foreign workers into the United States.

Since CBP’s announcement, I have been contacted by a constituent who believes to have additional information related to the event referenced in CBP’s May press release. This constituent has informed me that he has observed additional Korean nationals already illegally working at the facility in Georgia. In fact, according to my constituent — who has been to the facility on multiple occasions — the 33 Korean nationals intercepted by CBP in May represent only a small fraction of the workforce on this project that have systemically and illegally been brought to the United States to displace American workers.

If true, these actions not only hurting American workers, many of whom are currently eager for work, they are illegal and must be stopped. Therefore, I ask that CBP and ICE commit whatever investigative resources necessary to determine whether and to what extent there are foreign workers illegally employed at the facility in Georgia.

American workers and their families have experienced untold economic hardship arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Every job that is illegally diverted to a foreign worker means continued economic hardship for an American family that depended on that income.

If I may provide any additional information that might assist in your investigation, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you again for your efforts to serve and protect the American people.

Sincerely,

Doug Collins
Member of Congress

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: Doug Collins, Ice, Korea, SK innovation , illegal workers, U.S. Immigration and Enforcement , U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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