A southwestern Iowa couple is charged with harboring illegal immigrants who worked at two restaurants they own. Shui Ming Lin and Xiu Wen “Wendy” Zhang are charged with employing three Chinese and one Mexican illegal immigrant at the China Garden Restaurant in Atlantic and two Chinese illegal immigrants at the Panda Garden Restaurant in Harlan.
On June 21, Immigration officials searched both restaurants, as well as the couple’s home in Atlantic and two apartments in Harlan and arrested five people on charges they were in the country illegally. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were unable to find any employment-related documentation for any of the workers, all but one of whom officials say are paying off smugglers who helped them get into the country illegally.
Immigration officials began their investigation in March, when they received word that some China Garden employees were making suspicious Western Union Wire transfers to China. If convicted, Lin and Zhang face a maximum of ten years in prison, and could lose their legal immigrant status.