Charges: Twin Cities contractor threatened to report his undocumented workers if they complained

SEPTEMBER 2018 – A Twin Cities contractor has been charged with bringing undocumented workers to Minnesota and then threatening to report them to immigration officials if they complained about being underpaid and working in dangerous job conditions.

Ricardo E. Batres, 46, who operates Crystal-based American Contractors, was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with felony counts of labor trafficking, theft by swindle and insurance fraud.

Batres “knew the men that he had employed were undocumented workers and used that knowledge as leverage to force them to work long hours for less than market pay and without adequate safety protections,” the charges read. “When workers were injured, [Batres] told his employees that they would lose their jobs and be deported if they sought medical attention.”

Multiple workers were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents last summer. Some were deported.

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