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Airport workers arrested by INS over fake papers

4/20/02

SEATAC - Immigration officials apprehended a dozen illegal workers Thursday morning after discovering they had used fraudulent documents to land jobs at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Now detained at the Immigration and Naturalization Service's detention center, the employees worked as food handlers, office staff and construction laborers. Most had access to sensitive areas, including the airport tarmac, said Seattle District INS spokesman Garrison Courtney.

Including Thursday's arrests, 37 Sea-Tac airport workers have been arrested for immigration violations since January, Courtney said. Though he wouldn't specify countries of origin for those arrested this week, Courtney said none were "from countries we'd deem terrorist countries or those with al-Qaida ties."

The INS review of 5,000 Sea-Tac airport employees is one in a series of investigations across the country launched after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.