Immigration enforcement agents have filed a criminal complaint after finding six illegal aliens living in the home of two Florida restaurant owners, Xiu Rong Liu and Liang Wu Yang, according to News 4 Jax.
Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated the home after receiving a tip that a Guatemalan national had smuggled a 16-year-old girl into the United States, the TV report said.
Investigators said the six illegal immigrants living in the couple’s home worked at their restaurant, the Fujiyama Steakhouse in Northside, Jacksonville.
The couple’s dining room had been turned into a bedroom to house the immigrants, with mattresses strewn across the floor. Five of the six illegal immigrants were from Indonesia. The other was from Guatemala.
Liu and Yang are currently not in ICE custody. However, they could face charges for harboring illegal immigrants.
ICE officials could not comment because the investigation is ongoing. The 16-year-old girl reported in the criminal complaint that led ICE to this couple’s home remains missing.
The detention of the six illegal immigrant restaurant workers raises a red flag for the restaurant industry, which has long relied on cheap immigrant labor, including labor from illegal immigrants.
Illegal immigrants comprise about 9 percent of all employees in the restaurant and hotel industry in 2014 according to the Pew Research Center.
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which advocates on behalf of such individuals in the industry, estimates that 1.3 million restaurant workers in the US are illegal immigrants. In January, dozens of restaurants sought “sanctuary” status to secure protection for their illegal immigrant employees.