In an attempt to comply with the U.S. immigration law restaurants across the country are double checking their employee’s paperwork to ensure they are eligible to work in the country.
Chipotle, a Mexican food chain in Minnesota fired approximately 50 Latino employees last week who failed to comply with an I-9 audit and provide adequate documentation showing they could legally work in the United States.
The number of restaurants working in coordination with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increased as the Obama Administration is cracking down on businesses looking to skirt the immigration rules of employees.
However, the decision to fire 50 Latino employees didn’t sit well with Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), who is fighting the restaurants’ decision and claims that Chipotle unfairly targeted the Hispanic workers.
“We started to piece together there was something larger going on than a few people fired at one store,” said MIRAC affiliate Brad Sigal. “It appears to be a statewide attack on immigrant workers who are longtime employees most of them been working there for years.”
Meanwhile the Chipotle restaurant chain was subjected to an I-9 audit in which ICE requests employers to collect paperwork from staff and verify their legal status.
“They check the paperwork and fire anyone who can’t immediately prove they have the right to work. An action like this on a mass scale before the holidays is not consistent with the image they (ICE) have cultivated,” Sigal said.
Chipotle restaurant released a statement that read in part, “We are fully cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Minnesota in connection with a document request they have made.”
Other restaurants, like McDonalds or Sizzler are also ensuring their employees legal status by requesting documentation for the federal government program E-verify. The program takes only a few minutes to complete and provides employers with the legal status of their prospective employees.
The E-verify program is a free service and has more than a 95 percent accuracy rating. Once businesses complies with the employment check, many are placing the E-verify signs provided by ICE in their business windows like the McDonalds in Sedona, Arizona pictured above.
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