District Attorney John Morganelli is putting local business owners on notice with a new approach to his ongoing battle against illegal immigration.
Morganelli on Tuesday filed criminal charges against Right Way Construction Co. of Palmer Township for employing three Mexican nationals who entered the United States illegally.
In years past, Morganelli's office has rounded up hundreds of illegal aliens and charged them with myriad crimes, including identity theft, but this marks the first time he has charged a business with employing them.
"In the past, my office has arrested only the illegal aliens," Morganelli said at an afternoon news conference. "Today, we move forward and send a message to all employers that they cannot hire, harbor and aid illegal foreign criminals for the purpose of obtaining cheap labor."
Right Way is charged with second-degree misdemeanor counts of obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function, hindering apprehension or prosecution, and conspiracy. The company's owner, Salvatore Sacco, 60, of Palmer Township, will face the charges in court, Morganelli said.
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Here is what DA John Morganelli had to say:
Today I announced the first of its kind criminal charges. I have charged the Right Way Construction Company of Palmer Township, Pennsylvania with state criminal charges of Obstruction of Justice , Hindering Apprehension and Conspiracy for hiring, aiding , and
abetting and harboring illegal aliens. This will be a test case in some respects, as to the authority of state prosecutors to charge state criminal offenses for violations of federal law. I believe that I am on solid legal ground. I will seek the maximum fine against this company under Pa. law.
When the federal government refuses to act, state prosecutors must do so to protect their communities from foreign criminals. I will continue to see to it that Northampton County, Pennsylvania does not become a safe haven for foreign criminals.
DA John Morganelli