A Republican congressman from California says undocumented workers might be to blame for a slew of break-ins at the U.S. Capitol.
Rep. Elton Gallegly's office was the most recent target in a series of after-hours thefts, and while no arrests have been reported, the congressman told Roll Call that undocumented immigrants might be to blame.
Gallegly told the paper that officials suspect the perpetrators are contractors who work on the after-hours Capitol maintenance and facilities teams. Members of those teams hold keys to the offices, and the break-ins were conducted by people with key access.
Gallegly added that many of the workers are not given background checks under the E-Verify program, which allows employers to verify whether a job applicant is eligible to work in the U.S.
"Is it possible people are working in the U.S. Capitol who have a key to my office, who have no legal rights to be in the United States? Well, that's possible," Gallegly told the paper. "That's very unsettling."
But Capitol Hill police say they don't know what prompted those remarks.
"It didn't come from the police," Lt. Kimberly Schneider said in an interview with ABC News/Univision News.
According to police, there have been several thefts at the Rayburn House Office Building in the past month. The police declined to provide any details, citing the fact that the break-ins are part of an ongoing investigation.
"It's part of an active investigation," Schneider said. "We haven't reported any arrests."
Gallegly told Roll Call that the items stolen from his office include money, items bearing a congressional logo and a collection of state license plates.
Gallegly's office did not respond to repeated interview requests. Repeated calls to Architect of the Capitol, the agency in charge of employment at the Capitol, also went unreturned.
This isn't the first time Gallegly has come down hard on immigrants. He has voted in the past to report undocumented immigrants who seek treatment at hospitals, to deny undocumented children access to free public education, and in favor of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections: The Sep. 26 version of this story misidentified Lt. Kimberly Schneider as Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. It also erroneously attributed a comment to Lt. Schneider.