The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on April 18, 2000 · Page 4
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 4

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Des Moines, Iowa
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Tuesday, April 18, 2000
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Page 4
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Page 4A Tuesday, April 18, 2000 The Des Moines Register ST East Europeans grow as illegal-immigrants IMMIGRATION, from Page 1A one-bedroom apartment owned by their employer. The INS declined to identify the egg plant. The men sometimes went weeks without being paid. The men subsisted on eggs from the plant, Kathy Vitasek said. "They're duped into believing everything is going to be OK, and it Isn't what they think when they get here," she said. The INS sent Alois Vitasek home after his visitor visa expired. He hopes to return legally to Iowa later this year. INS agents have investigated similar stories in eastern Iowa: Igor Voyitenko, a Russian national, is on two years' probation for his part in hiring illegal immigrants to clean grocery stores in the Quad Cities area. ' : ' Roman Kosmel, a Czech who is in the United States illegally, is awaiting trial on multiple counts of harboring and encouraging illegal immigration. Kosmel is accused of hiring seven illegal Czech immigrants to mop floors in grocery stores in the Quad Cities and two Illinois towns. Kosmel also allegedly arranged for a handful of illegal immigrants to work in a Quad Cities topless bar, according to federal court records. The seven were detained in Iowa for several months because they were key witnesses against Kosmel. The delays outraged immigration law experts who said the case illustrates how illegal immigrants can be deceived by employers and then wrongly punished by the legal system. Prosecutors say Kosmel's employees lived in small apartments, were paid less than minimum wage, with no overtime, and were forced to pay more than $100 a month for rides to and from work. The investigations wouldn't have been possible before 1996. That's when the INS opened its first Iowa office in Cedar Rapids, as part of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Two years later, agents were stationed in Sioux City and Des Moines. Federal agents in Iowa arrested 47 undocumented immigrants of all nationalities in 1996. The number grew to more than 2,300 by last year, and corresponded with INS J L !ZL Js YJriy a VEE corporation Production HMBM Win a Family Ticket Pack, Some restrictions apply. Qualify by placing any noncommercial merchandise ad in a S-, 7- or 9-day package in Classifieds by Apnl 20. Family bcket pack provides four tickets. No purchase necessary for ticket drawings. Entry forms are available in the Register Lobby (street level), 715 Locust, Des Moines, I A. Call for convenient home delivery... manpower increases. Money was budgeted for 20 positions in Iowa last year, 11 of them new, and nearly all required to handle the number of Mexicans pouring into Iowa meatpacking plants. Noland estimates that 75 percent of the illegal immigrants arrested in Iowa are Mexican. In March, agents arrested 75 in a one-day sweep in Iowa and Nebraska. Most were traveling along Interstate Highway 80. All were from Mexico. Most are sent back home, but the number of immigration cases going to the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecution is on the rise. Thirty-four people, including Voyitenko, were prosecuted in 1999. Voyitenko, 33, who now lives in Missouri with his wife and child, acknowledged that he brought four Russian men to Moline, 111., put them in a cramped apartment and put them to work in his cleaning business. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cliff Cronk called Voyitenko a "low-level manager" in a network bringing undocumented Eastern Europeans to the United States. Voyitenko, who faced up to 10 years in prison, says he didn't know he was breaking the law. A felony charge of harboring illegal immigrants was dropped after Voyitenko provided police with information about an attempted jail escape in Scott County. "I would like to do everything by law," he said after being put on probation. "I never tried to break law." Anna Stepanova, a Russian native, can understand Eastern Europeans would want to risk jail by coming to Iowa. She came here in 1990 and didn't return for seven years. Her tourist visa evolved into permanent residency. Her two children are American citizens. "We came here with one bag of clothes and $100," she said. "We just gradually grew roots. This is home." Stepanova, who now works with foreign students at the University of Iowa, said illegal immigrants are coming to the Unites States to flee political corruption and low pay. -"There is nothing to lose," she Place a merchandise ad in the Classifieds and receive an autographed Sesame Street character photo and a chance to win one of 30 family packs to see: "When I Grow Up" Des Moines Civic Center April 21-23 Call 284-8141 or 800-532-1585 and place your Classified ad today! "7 ri t). :" '""'7-- v ' - "- ..-.- ........ JB- ; m, hnHiiiiriMHiifiriii.nfi.waiwtiitii, muntu n.. t -,'m HARRY BAUMERTTHE REGISTER On the way: Lupe Landeros heads to class at Fort Madison High School, where he is to graduate on May 28. He was born in Mexico but has lived in Iowa for most of his life. It will take an act of Congress for him to stay in Fort Madison. said. Noland said that many Eastern Europeans apply for tourist visas with no intention of going back. "They say they're going to Disneyland but go straight to Des Moines," he said. And they'll keep coming as long as there are jobs or the promise of jobs predicted Michael Said, a Des Moines attorney who has worked in immigration law for six years and seen the evolution firsthand. . "Maybe slavery is the wrong term . . . indentured servants," he said. "This is what you are fleeing." $gg 00 4 lines 5 days items under5 1,200 (other packages available) Full of Life DesMoinesRegister.com 800 - 365 - 4692 A citizen, but not By ANN McGLYNN REGISTER STAFF WRITER Fort Madison, la. Alice Landeros opens an overflowing file folder. It holds the story of Lupe Landeros, a young man she calls her son. There's his Baptism certificate, a copy of his Social Security card, the Mother's Day card that he made in preschool, a tattered math worksheet 'and his cursive practice from s the third grade. There also are some payroll records from his four years of restaurant work at Ami-go's. ! Lupe Landeros has lived in Iowa ' for most of his 18 years. He thought he was an American. He was wrong. Now it will take an act of Congress for Lupe to stay in Fort Madison. 'We're in a mess right now," Alice Landeros said. The story begins in a small Mexican town, San Luis Potosi, where Jose Guadalupe Telliz Pina-les was born in August 1981. His father died in a truck accident before his son was born. His mother already had a daughter to feed. She couldn't afford another child. She asked her uncle to take her new son to America. Miguel Landeros obliged. Lupe Landeros was baptized in Kansas City. The Baptism record shows he was born in Los Angeles. His great-uncle is listed as his father. When Lupe started school in Fort Madison, district officials were told he had been born in El Paso, Texas. Miguel and Alice Landeros were married in 1991, when Lupe was 10 years old. Alice Landeros took care of Lupe as her own. Lupe was told a few years later that his father was really his great-uncle. Note writer is ABORTION, from Page 1A might want a free picture of your baby . . . Baby Killer." Robinson looked to the ceiling and cried when asked to remember opening the envelope. She said she was upset, angry and hurt. "Nothing could explain it," she said between sobs. Attorneys said the case was about the difference between free speech and harassment. Assistant Scott County Attorney Robert Cu-sack said Penny McDonnell had crossed the line by sending the letter and graphic photos to Robinson's home. "There could be no doubt that someone who just had an abortion would be annoyed by pictures of this nature," Cusack said. Penny McDonnell said she sent the letter because of her difficulty in getting over the death of her own child. Brad, who died of heart problems in 1988. She's still Illegal immigrants in Iowa The number of INS agents in Iowa has increased in the past two years. INS AGENTS Cedar Rapids 1998 'J 5 1999 The Sioux City office had only one agent SOURCE: INS "It knocked me down," said Lupe. "But I still considered him my dad." Miguel Landeros said the boy had nothing to worry about the adoption was official. Miguel and Alice Landeros eventually separated. That's when Alice discovered that Lupe had never been adopted. It's also when she realized that the young man was not a U.S. citizen. She could have stayed quiet. After all, Lupe had gotten by for 15 years. "But I didn't want that, and most of all, Lupe didnt want that," she said. "The chances of Immigration coming and getting him are slim, but he needs our help right now," said Renay Lozano-Dominguez, spokeswoman for the League of United Latin American Citizens in Iowa Lozano-Dominguez took Lupe's case to U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Ia., and U.S. Sen. Charles Grass-ley, R-Ia. They have introduced legislation that would allow Lupe to stay in America. Grassley said such bills are for very rare, very compelling cases. "Mexico is a foreign country to found guilty receiving counseling to cope with that loss. "When I wrote that note, I wasn't thinking," she testified. "I don't even know why I wrote the dumb note." District Associate Judge Mary Howes allowed photos of McDonnell's dead son at trial but prohibited poster-sized photos of dead fetuses. Lorrie Bowman, vice president of Quad City Right to Life, said the outcome of the trial would not affect the way her organization distributes its materials. Kevin McDonnell, a firefighter for 12 years, was fired Feb. 10 for mailing the anti-abortion materials from work and using a city postage machine. The Bettendorf Civil Service Commission has upheld the dismissal. Kevin McDonnell said he plans to appeal his firing. Reporter Lynn Okamoto can be reached at (515) 284-8131 or okamotolnewf.dmreg.com on paper Sioux City 2 Des Moines PNIj 2 until late 1998. MATTHEW CHATTERLEY THE REGISTER him," Grassley said. "In my judgment, this is a very exceptional case. We have a person that loves his country so much that he wants to serve in the military." When he graduates on May 28 from Fort Madison High School, Lupe wants to be a computer engineer for the U.S. Marine Corps. He can't. Lupe doesn't like to talk about the possibility of being sent back to Mexico. He doesn't speak Spanish. He has seen his biological mother and three siblings, who live in Juarez, three times. "He's such a good kid," said Lozano-Dominguez, noting that Lupe has never had so much as a traffic ticket. "We've had marriage offers. Kids said they would handcuff themselves to him." His classmates at Fort Madison High School have gathered 800 signatures on a petition to keep Lupe in America. His high school media class produced a videotape supporting the effort. Lupe, a high school kid who likes to lift weights, hang out with friends and surf the Internet, hopes Congress will side with him. It would be one more thing to add to the folder, along with Mrs. Jensen's fourth-grade class photo, with Lupe in the back row. Ventura urges McCain to run as independent ASSOCIATED PRESS St. Paul, Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura Monday pressed John McCain to resume his presidential campaign, but as an independent. McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, said earlier in the day that no one could entice him to make such a move. "I will not leave the Republican Party," he said during a news conference at the Mall of America before meeting Ventura. Ventura, who has said he's unlikely to endorse Al Gore or George . W. Bush, the likely Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, has said McCain could win as an independent. He repeated that sentiment during their hourlong meeting in his Capitol office. McCain had no comment after the meeting.

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