This story is as weird as it gets. I couldn`t make this one up even if I tried.
A Cape Girardeau, Missouri State Representative named Nathan Cooper pled guilty to H-2B visa fraud. He isn`t just any politician though—he was a practicing immigration attorney (AILA perhaps?). His scheme involved obtaining fraudulent H-2B work visas for hundreds of New Zealanders to come to the U.S. to drive trucks. Among other things, he got visas for fake trucking companies with names like "Speedy Express"
and "Retail Trucking".
[ Missouri State Lawmaker Pleads Guilty in Visa Fraud Case
U.S. Department of Justice St. Louis, MO August 9, 2007]
In case you are wondering why Cooper or anybody else would think of importing truckers from New Zealand, where they drive on the left side of the road
, a little searching the Wikipedia yields a possible answer. New Zealand has a strange counter-culture of hippies and gypsies
". They are a nomadic labor pool that would be sure to make U.S. trucking companies drool.
After reading that article you will welcome the Mexican NAFTA truckers
with open arms!
Seriously though folks, there are websites out there that recruit New Zealanders for U.S. trucking jobs. For instance, check out this one: Driver Recruiting - Truckers For USA.
Perhaps it`s coincidence, but the website says they have offices in Missouri as well as Sydney, Australia. Right there on that web page it says:
Q. Who are we? A. We have been recruiting drivers for US companies since 1999. We have now placed over 450 drivers at seven trucking companies in 2001. We are incorporated in the USA, and operate from New Zealand.
The website has the following disclaimer:
This is 100% legal, and you receive your work visa before leaving home. It is now impossible to obtain a Commercial Drivers License to drive trucks in America without a work visa.
Cooper could get 15 years in the pokey for his unlawful behavior. According to Cooper, he was merely a bit overzealous in helping trucking companies to ensure that they had "an adequate workforce."
By adequate he probably meant cheap!
The U.S. attorney`s office agrees with Cooper—check out this classic shortage shouting:
According to the U.S. attorney`s office, prospective clients in the trucking business reported to Cooper that they had chronic shortages of workers.[Cape State Representative Pleads Guilty to Visa Fraud Charges By Christy Hendricks & Associated Press, KVS12.com, August 10, 2007]
You can watch a short video report of this story by going to the KSDK story,Missouri Lawmaker Pleads Guilty To Visa Fraud