Anchorage business criticized for its immigration contract

Published: Jun. 25, 2018 at 7:43 PM AKDT
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An Anchorage company, Trailboss Enterprises, has become the target of hate messages after a photo of a company bus in Texas assisting the federal government’s policy of separating parents from their children appeared on social media last week.

“Please contact them and ask that they cease transporting children apart from their parents,” tweeted Sleeping Giants, an organization opposed to the Trump administration policy of splitting up families of illegal immigrants. Trump ordered an end to that policy later in the week. The organization also tweeted an Anchorage phone number and an email address for Trailboss.

Sleeping Giants didn’t return a message seeking comment, and Trailboss’ chief executive, Joseph Tolliver, didn’t return a message. But the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Bob Christe, said in an interview that Trailboss has been transporting immigrants for the past seven years under a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement — ICE.

Christe said Trailboss operates “with the highest possible standards.” Two Trailboss employees in the San Antonio, Texas, region are working under the transportation contract, Christe said.

”It’s ICE’s mission — we just perform the transportation,” he said.

ICE media representatives didn’t respond to a request for more information.

According to state corporation records, the company was founded by Tolliver in 1994. A 2008 story published by the Alaska Journal of Commerce said that Tolliver retired as a chief master sergeant from the U.S. Air Force — the highest ranking non-commissioned officer in that service. He boasted in the Journal of Commerce story that he had “a lot of influence over things.”

Christe said the company is headquartered in Anchorage because Tolliver founded it here. Trailboss performs “a number of different services for the government,” including airfield maintenance at JBER and other air bases, marine and naval stations in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Curacao and England, and transportation for Immigration and Customs in five cities in the U.S. Southwest.

“It was basically a construction company that wound up getting a government contract,” Christe said.

Another Anchorage company with the name Trailboss — Trailboss Solutions — was also founded by Tolliver. An attorney representing that company said Tolliver has little to do with it now, aside for owning a minority stake in it, and the company has nothing to do with immigrants or the Southwest.

Trailboss Solutions says on its website that it does residential remodeling. But Trailboss Solutions’ “Contact Us” webpage shows a picture of the Third Avenue headquarters of Trailboss Enterprises, not its own office on 33rd Avenue.

The attorney, Andrew Mitton, said the photo was a mistake.

“The picture on the website is an old picture that needs to be changed,” he said in an email.