The 23 illegal workers were employed by Ideal Staffing Solutions Inc., whose corporate secretary and office manager also were arrested after an eight-month investigation that involved federal, state and Chicago authorities.
The company contracted work for carriers including United Airlines, KLM and Qantas, said Elissa A. Brown, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
According to affidavits in a complaint against Gurin and Benitez unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, the applications for the 110 bogus badges listed Social Security numbers that either did not exist or belonged to other individuals, some of whom were dead.
One affidavit from a temporary worker who cooperated with authorities said Benitez told him to look through a box containing about 20 airport security badges and to pick one with a picture that resembled his own face.
“The investigation identifies a vulnerability that could compromise national security, while bringing criminal charges against individuals who built an illegal work force into their business practice,” Brown said.
Ideal Staffing officials did not return a telephone message left after business hours Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Much of the investigation centered on the airport security badges issued by the Department of Aviation, said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Agents found that 110 of the 134 badges issued to Ideal Staffing workers did not match the individuals who carried them, he said.
Mary Gurin, 36, of Carpentersville, and Norinye Benitez, 24, of Franklin Park, were each charged with one federal count of harboring illegal immigrants for gain and one federal count of misuse of Social Security numbers.
Benitez is believed to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico, and Gurin employed her and signed her airport badge application while knowing her illegal status, Brown said.