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Firm Rapped For Hiring Illegal Workers

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WILLIAMSPORT -- A company involved in the natural gas industry has agreed to plead guilty to harboring and transporting illegal immigrants to the Williamsport area, according to federal prosecutors.

The company used to conduct business inside a building on West Third Street in Williamsport, but in June of 2011, GPX was accused of hiring and employing 19 illegal aliens.

The United States Attorney's office recently announced GPX agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegals.

"It's hard to even find a job here in Williamsport, let alone for immigrants to find a job," Mary Townsend said.

Townsend spent the day at Careerlink in Williamsport trying to find a job.  She has been out of work since last November, and was upset to find out illegal immigrants were hired for jobs she could have done.

"I don't think it's right.  They shouldn't be doing that because it takes from the people here," Townsend said.

Some other people in Williamsport agree.

"All these illegal immigrants are taking away from the people that are local, people that need work.  It's damaging to the local economy," Derek Viera said.

"I don't have anything against people that come to this country and want to work, but first you should give the people who live here a chance," Navarro Adams said.

GPX was charged with harboring and transporting illegal aliens last May.  The company is based out of Texas and provides surveys for the oil and gas industry.

In addition to pleading guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, GPX must also pay a $25,000 fine.

"I don't know if they'll learn their lesson from a simple fine," Viera said.

A court date for the guilty plea has not yet been scheduled.