BOSTON — A former top Homeland Security official from Boston is set to go on trial for allegedly encouraging her housekeeper to remain in the United States illegally.
Lorraine Henderson, the former regional director of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, was suspended after her arrest in December 2008.
She is scheduled to go on trial Monday in U.S. District Court. Prosecutors say the Salem resident continued to employ a Brazilian housekeeper and encouraged her not to leave, even after a fellow agent warned her about the woman’s status.
An affidavit also alleges Henderson employed two other illegal immigrants.
Before getting suspended and arrested a few months ago, Lorraine Henderson was the Massachusetts regional director of Customs and Border Protection. She was responsible for the inspection and admission of foreign nationals who sought entry into the U.S. and for preventing the entry of illegal aliens through Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island ports of entry.
Henderson wielded tremendous power and was authorized to grant or deny waivers to illegal immigrants seeking U.S. entry. She was also responsible for identifying and intercepting terrorists or terrorist threats at area seaports and airports. Her position certainly magnifies the severity of her crimes.
For years Henderson paid illegal immigrants cash to clean her house and she even coached them on how to avoid deportation, according to federal prosecutors who this week announced the indictment for encouraging and inducing illegal aliens to remain in the United States.
Henderson ignored repeated warnings over the years from a fellow federal officer that her domestic employees were in the country illegally, according to a federal affidavit. She was also recorded warning an illegal alien employee about deportation and telling the worker “if you leave they won’t let you back.”
The disgraced Homeland Security director faces up to a decade in prison and a quarter of a million-dollar fine if convicted.
Henderson was responsible for stopping illegal aliens from entering the country through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.