Employees: Stimulus-backed solar company kept illegals on payroll, violated other laws

Employees: Stimulus-backed solar company kept illegals on payroll, violated other laws

[Ed. – U.S. taxpayer bill for Abengoa stimulus shell-out:  $2.6 billion.]

As the director of human resources at Abengoa’s construction and engineering subsidiary, Evanson immediately began to see hiring practices that she knew were illegal.

“It started right away,” she said. “They started bringing people from Uruguay and Spain who didn’t have a visa in the U.S.”

Abengoa is a Spanish company. According to Evanson, who worked at the company’s facilities in Arizona, it went out of its way to hire Spanish or South American employees, even for positions that could have been filled by American workers.

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“Over the three years I was working for them, we’re talking about hundreds of people [working without visas], not just a couple. Probably three or four hundred people,” she said. …

“What I came to realize, and it took me a while because I didn’t want to realize it, is that they understood. They knew the law. They didn’t care,” she said. “And I really came to believe that they’re so politically connected that it’s just hubris and arrogance.” …

Mike Alhalabi, the former senior lead mechanical engineer at Abengoa subsidiary Abener, says he saw the same illicit hiring practices at work in California.

Alhalabi recalled the company telling an Indian engineer whose visa had expired to continue working even while he sorted through his application for another one. …

“My immediate supervisor told him, ‘we’ll give you work, you take it home, you work from home,’” Alhalabi recalled. “So he was telling him to stay illegally, to stay in the United States until they got his visa approved.”

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