Delaware County cattle operator sentenced for hiring illegal workers

He'll serve three months in federal prison

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An Earlville man convicted of hiring numerous illegal workers on his dairy cattle farms was sentenced last week to three months in federal prison and must comply with other requirements, following his prison term, including providing immigration education to others in the dairy or cattle industry.

Michael Thomas Millenkamp, 47, owner and operator of Mike Millenkamp Dairy Cattle, was sentenced Dec. 31. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of harboring, encouraging, and inducing an illegal immigrant to reside in the United States for the purpose of commercial advantage or personal financial gain. He also was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 and forfeit $254,000, which was profit he gained from the crime.

A plea agreement shows Millenkamp admitted that he employed numerous illegal workers between 2007 and 2011 at his business near Earlville. Some of the illegal workers were permitted to live at one or more farms he owned.

During the hearing, Millenkamp admitted he told one illegal worker that his friends asked “why are you hiring people that are illegal?” He told them he didn’t know but “I knew I had to lie.”

During sentencing, a prosecutor noted Millenkamp acknowledged at least five workers he had employed were illegally in the country, but records showed at least 16 other foreign born workers had documents with invalid identification numbers or belonging to another person.

“I hope Iowa business owners are listening,” U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau said in a statement following the hearing. “You can go to prison for knowingly employing undocumented workers. Violating federal law is not a good business strategy. Employers that seek to gain an unfair business advantage over their competitors by using illegal workers should take note of this sentence.”

While Millenkamp is serving a three year supervised release following his prison term, he will be required to complete immigration forms I-9 for all of his employees and to maintain copies of all identification documents provided for employment, and he agreed to participate in a government program that will help verify the validity of identity documents provided for employment.

Millenkamp also will be required to make at least two presentations at annual conventions sponsored by the Iowa Cattle Industry, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Farmers Union, or similar groups of statewide membership about his crime, the plea shows. If he can’t arrange to have the presentations, Millenkamp will be permitted to submit letters to editors or guest editorials to newspapers concerning his case.

Techau in his statement pointed out the presentations, as well as the additional requirement that Millenkamp’s animal feeding operations be monitored to ensure compliance with the state’s water quality standards, are a significant component of his sentence.

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