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300 Illegal Aliens Arrested at US Wal-Mart Stores - 2003-10-23

In the United States, federal agents arrested several hundred workers at Wal-Mart stores across the country. The arrests are part of a long-running investigation into whether the world's largest retailer knowingly hired people prohibited from working in the United States.

Some 300 people, all of them, according to federal officials, in the United States illegally, were arrested in raids at more than 60 Wal-Mart stores nationwide. Most are reportedly from Eastern Europe, and were employed by a cleaning contractor used by the retail chain.

Thursday's raids are part of a federal investigation into whether the world's largest retailer broke federal law by knowingly allowing illegal immigrants to work in its stores.

In 1986, Congress passed legislation requiring potential employees to show proof of citizenship or a legal right to work in the United States. But in reality, jobs in the nation's service sector - especially the restaurant industry and other low paying jobs that often involve payment in cash - are many times held by people who are in the country illegally.

Wal-Mart management says the illegal immigrants arrested Thursday were employed by a contractor and not the chain itself. A federal law enforcement source says the retailer is now the subject of a grand jury investigation into whether its top executives knew about illegal workers in its stores.