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Thursday PM February 17th, 2011

Federal crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants…ExxonMobil rolls out new system to contain undersea oil spills…Help for oil rig workers hurt by deepwater drilling moratorium…



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More U.S. businesses are about to feel the sting of the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement strategy. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has sent notices of inspection to 1,000 employers in the U.S., warning that agents will be scrutinizing their hiring records to check for employees working in the country illegally. The administration has been using the audit tactic since 2009 and audited such companies as Krispy Kreme and Abercrombie and Fitch. ICE says the latest inspections will include employers of all sizes and in every state and that no single industry is being targeted nor is any one industry immune.

A group of oil companies led by ExxonMobil says that it has built a system that can stop an undersea oil spill within weeks, a critical step in the effort to resume drilling in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico. The group announced that it has cobbled together enough equipment and support vessels to handle a spill similar to BP’s gusher last year, which took almost three months to plug. ExxonMobil vice president for deepwater projects Clay Vaughn.

“The interim response system, in our view, is an important solution to demonstrate the containment capability that is now required in our drilling permit applications for deep water. We offer the system now for those that want to point to it in their permit applications, and we’re open for business.”

A more robust network with expanded capabilities should be finished early next year.

The Gulf Coast Restoration and Protection Foundation will begin accepting its second round of applications next month to give financial help to oil rig workers who’ve been hurt by the federal government’s moratorium on deepwater drilling. Eligible applicants include people working for offshore supply companies and offshore support companies such as fuel, industrial chemical and food supply firms and diving and crew boat service businesses. The foundation says as many as 9,000 people across the Gulf Coast may qualify for the awards, ranging from $3,000 to $30,000.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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