Eighty Cabbies Arrested In Alien Taxi Driver Roundup
CHICAGO (AP) _ Saying illegal aliens who drive cabs frequently get lost, overcharge passengers and are an overall nuisance, immigration officials have arrested 80 taxi drivers suspected of being in the country illegally.
″These people are raising havoc with the city,″ A.D. Moyer, director of the Chicago region of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said Tuesday.
″They are a nuisance. They are abusing passengers, taking them to the wrong locations and overcharging them. And they are taking jobs away from American citizens and legal foreign residents,″ Moyer said.
Federal agents Tuesday picked up more than 100 taxicab drivers for questioning and about 80 drivers couldn’t produce proof of permanent residency in the United States, said Moyer.
Most of those arrested were Pakistanis, he said.
Jerry Feldman, president of the Checker Cab Co., accused the agents of using Gestapo tactics, and complained the cab companies were forced to tow the vehicles abandoned by drivers without documents.
″Just because somebody has a long name, or speaks with an accent, why should they be subjected to this kind of harassment?″ said Feldman.
But Moyer said his agents have a right to ask any suspicious person for his resident alien card.
Moyer estimated that about 10 percent of the 6,000 cab drivers in the city are illegal aliens. Those caught will be deported or allowed to leave the country voluntarily, he said.
Moyer also said city officials were uncooperative in the roundup.
Alton Miller, a spokesman for Mayor Harold Washington, said, however, that immigration problems are a federal matter and while the city wouldn’t interfere with the crackdown, it wouldn’t help either.
Feldman and Miller denied that Chicago cabbies don’t know English and the city’s geography because the drivers are tested for both when applying for cab permits.
A similiar crackdown last year resulted in the arrest of 90 alien cab drivers in the city.