An Illegal alien from Mexico was arrested on Wednesday while working inside an Arizona nuclear plant, KVOA-TV reports. The plant is the largest such facility in the country.
Cruz Loya Alvares was taken into custody after authorities at the Palo Verde plant in Wintersburg, AZ admitted him in, but then later became suspicious of his ID card, believing it to be fraudulent:
MyFoxPhoenix.com reports that Alvares allegedly admitted to being an illegal alien for over a decade and has recently been stopped by police:
Alvares allegedly admitted to being in the U.S. illegally for the better part of the past 15 years.
Alvares was deported in 2000, but paid a human smuggler for re-entry into the U.S., Arpaio says. And last month, Mesa Police cited Alvares for driving on a suspended license.
According to KVOA, infamous AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that Alvares actually tried to enter the plant on Monday, but was denied because he tried to use an expired Mexican driver's license as ID. He then came back on Tuesday in a contractor's vehicle and was let in after showing an AZ identification card.
MyFoxPhoenix.com says "Alvares had been on site over the past two weeks doing remodeling work at an administrative building."
The plant has tried to downplay the incident, saying that its security procedures worked as planned. It also says Alvares was never granted access to any secure areas of the facility and added, "the safety of the plant and public were never jeopardized."
But even if that's true, Arpaio has some concerns.
"To some extent," Arpaio told KVOA, "security at this nuclear power plant worked. But still, an illegal immigrant was permitted to gain access to this facility. This raises the question: how safe is Palo Verde really if an illegal alien can gain access to this nation's largest nuclear power facility?
He added: "This suggests to me that sadly, like our nation's borders, our most critical public utilities/installations are perhaps not nearly as safely guarded as they need to be."
That may be especially true considering a policy at the plant. Apparently, if a contractor brings a worker with him that doesn't have proper identification, the contractor can "vouch" for the worker.
"In post 9/11 times, 'vouching' for employees who contractor's know little about is not good practice for a facility as critical as a nuclear power plant," Arpaio told KVOA.