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Chipotle chain targeted for federal immigration audits

All Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in Virginia and Washington, D.C., will be audited by federal immigration officials as part of a wider government crackdown on companies that hire undocumented workers.

The Denver-based burrito chain received “notices of inspections” from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement at about 60 restaurants, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said. That follows a similar probe at all Chipotle locations in Minnesota last year that forced the company to fire some illegal workers. California, which has dozens of Chipotle locations, has not been affected by the probe, Arnold said.   

Arnold warned that more employee dismissals may come. 

“If they cannot provide legal documentation, then we cannot legally employ them,” Arnold said, declining to specify how many have already been fired.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Brigham said the agency is pushing a broader strategy of “attacking” companies that hire illegal workers and focusing on corporate hiring practices.

“We want employers to understand that the integrity of their employment records is just as important as their tax records,” she said. The goal, she said, is for immigration authorities to inspire the same level of compliance -– and fear -– that the Internal Revenue Service creates.

Arnold said that policy is working at Chipotle, which “hopes to put the matter behind us”  by working with immigration authorities to improve hiring practices and expanding participation in the government’s E-verify system, an online program that uses federal databases to check whether employees are in the country legally and authorized to work.

Advocates for immigrant rights said such efforts will just lead to more of the same -- lost jobs for impoverished workers.

“While we’re happy that high-profile raids have decreased, the government has shifted to another enforcement-only approach,” said Carl Bergquist, a policy advocate with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

Bergquist said that in situations like Chipotle's, businesses are put on the spot and forced to make decisions quickly. “The end result is that people lost their livelihoods,” he said.

-- Shan Li

Comments () | Archives (29)

Kudos to the Obama administration for enforcing our immigration laws...

Just use e-verify at the front end and business have no problems on the back end. The bottom line is that companies avoid hiring illegal aliens who lie on their applications and show forged documents.

"Bergquist said that in situations like Chipotle's, businesses are put on the spot and forced to make decisions quickly. “The end result is that people lost their livelihoods,” he said."

Here we go again with the LA Times pro-illegal slant. Chipotle can now the the only lawful, moral, and patriotic thing, hire a LEGAL, unemployed American. Why should we be concerned if a border-jumper loses his ill-gotten livelihood?

Check the locations in Orange County,Ca........JACKPOT!!!!!

Should be looking a Pollo Loco, Baja Fresha and Zabas.....

"Advocates for immigrant rights said such efforts will just lead to more of the same -- lost jobs for impoverished workers."

uh, OR they will be sent back to where they are from, follow the laws of this land and apply for a work visa.

Advocates for immigrant rights said such efforts will just lead to more of the same -- lost jobs for impoverished workers. Bergquist said that in situations like Chipotle's, businesses are put on the spot and forced to make decisions quickly. “The end result is that people lost their livelihoods,” he said.

Again, are you kidding? What "quick" decision? You ask the employee-applicant for valid ID. He has it, you hire him. He doesn't, you fire him. Big deal. And it was "their livelihoods" they lost.

Its not "their livelihoods" being lost-its ALL THE MONEY THEY SEND BACK TO THE HOMELAND THAT DOES NOT GET SPENT IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY THAT GETS LOST! Cut that flow off to all non-U.S. countries, and watch the illegals stop coming!

So now a company that was getting away with hiring an illegal at $5 an hour has to pay legitimate wages to legal residents. And compete in the market place. They should actually look at all fast food here in the LA area, and I guarentee that at least half of the people on staff will be sent packing. McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, all of the biggies benefit from keeping the wages low with a population that is happy to get it, and will put up with a lot of crap to keep the job for years. It reduces employee turnover, but also denies legal resident their opportunity for a "first job".

Chipolte is just a small start. For instance, Mexicans were (still are?) busy rebuilding New Orleans because those construction jobs weren't jobs Americans would do, right? Go after employers who hire them. It is time to require birth certificates to register for school and receive public services.

If we don't completely go after this problem, we will go down in history as the only country in history that was so politically correct that it financed its own destruction by invasion.

Umm, all quasi-moral/legal arguments aside, if they're working, that is if they're providing service for pay in order to buy goods then they're not contributing to our financial ruin anymore than you or I.

Not doing any harm? Are you kidding? Thes unscrupulous are hiring illegal aliens at 1/3 the wages. These illegal aliens are stealing jobs from unemployed American citizens. Both the employers and the IA's should be thrown in jail. And even if all Americans were employed, illegally entering the country is, well, illegal. It can not be tolerated!!!!We are losing our sovereignty. Enough is enough!!

Where's all the legal Mexicans that can cook?

Well... It was about time some one started checking on to this shady employer, dont get me wrong; the food is great there, but the employment verification practices are questionable.
As for me I dared to post this in their Facebook page and they banned me, I can no longer post there anything... you go figure...

I am glad they became the epitome of the Scapegoats! some one has to be that, I am glad the government is making a good example about what not to do when you are an employer.
This will teach a lesson to other corporations as well.

Lets walk in CHIPOTLE with a black T-shirt that says:

Food with integrity: no aditives
Jobs with integrity: no illegals

they talk about immigrants rights, they have none when are these people gonna wake up to that fact. they are breaking the law.and what about the citizens of our country who are facing hardships due to the loss of their jobs, homes their lively hoods period,( come on who is the one that should be at the fromt of the line.) the U.S. citizen.

you talk about impoverished workers there are people in my state who are so poor from losing their jobs (some of many years) are now living in missions with their children and living from day to day. these are people who are legal and have paid their taxes faithfully for many years.

Yes, "California has not been affected by the probe" because, God knows, there's no reason to expect to find illegals in L.A. or O.C. working behind the counters of Mexican or fast food restaurants.

What a ridiculous for-show farce this thing is.

Virginia and DC, perfect... and what about Maryland?

And when will be audited Mac Donalds, Burger King, Baja Fresh, Noodles and Co., Qdoba, etc., etc., etc.?

lost jobs for impoverished workers.

the impoverished workers should go home and try to improve their country instead of trying to change ours.

What kind of American will be working for minimum wage, full time at a restaurant? What kind of people are those- born in this country, who went to school here and at the end can only work at a fast food restaurant? More often than not these are people who were so unmotivated that could not even finish their high school and do not qualify for anything better. They are often unreliable, disloyal and with a shady character. If I had a business of my own and had to choose, I would choose the illegal over the legal in a heart beat. And that’s the truth behind the illegal immigrant being hired.

The plaza where illegal immigrants stand day after day looking for a job is a well known public place in Atlanta. They charge about $10-15 dollars an hour. I have used them couple of times to move my furniture. Why is there not a single unemployed American standing next to them, I do not know. Maybe someone can tell me. http://atlantaimmigrants.blogspot.com

Good on the ICE Agents, for stopping the invaders to our country.

"lost jobs for impoverished workers" NOPE they found jobs for American citizens that had been stolen. With our unemployment as high as it is this is a great thing, I have friends with Ph. D's that are stocking at Target and making coffee part time at Starbucks because that's all they can find for work, even lower paying jobs should always offered to citizens first over illegals.

And what happened with the illegal workers who gets fired? simply, they go take another job; illegally! Unlike the previous ICE escapades, where both the illegal as well as the employer get prosecuted, now we go after the employer and let the criminal element go free. What is an illegal worker? Is a criminal offender. It started with the illegal entry, continued with the purchase of fraudulent documents, then the use of such documents, fraudulent credit applications, fraudulent job applications, and then let them free... Mexicans are laughing all the way to the check cashing place.

The fact is that with 22.5% unemployment nationwide (Shadow Government website), these maudlin, predictable SOB stories appeal only to the 15 - 20% of the gullible, clueless population for which, overall, there is little constituency. Very happy that I my position reflects the overwhelming majority of the entire USA. Too bad, so sad.

I wonder where the illegal alien Middle Eastern terrorists are working once the gain entry to the United States? We could ask terrorist organizations such as CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sadly, E-Verify doesn't even do the trick all the time....it certainly helps a LOT, and makes illegals and their handlers work a LOT harder to get illegals employment, but it is not foolproof YET. What too many illegals and their handlers are doing now is buying "the package," which is a real birth certificate (usu. from California, Texas, or Puerto Rico), and a real matching Social Security card. Since no photo I.D. is required for a job, they use these documents, just assuming the identity of whoever's "package" they bought. So what if I have to go by "Jose" at work while my real name is Juan? E-Verify would confirm that "Jose" is legally a U.S. citizen, having been born in Puerto Rico, and since I "look" like a "Jose," I've got the job and my employer is happy that all my stuff "apparently" checked out with the Fed database.

E-Verify would become more foolproof if fingerprints were added...employer uploads fingerprints and scans of documents, and if there's a "hit" in the Fed fingerprint database for anyone who's been caught crossing illegally or booked for anything else somewhere, BOOM...we've just put lie to the "package" the illegal was trying to pass off as his own documentation. E-Verify suffers another shortcoming in that it is only allowed to be used on new hires; the Obama people should immediately allow employers to put ALL employees through the computer program (takes about 2-3 minutes per employee) and RETROACTIVELY weed out many illegals who've been holding jobs for YEARS!

Employers can also do a lot more, such as simply keeping the birth certificate and Soc. Sec. card across the desk and away from the prospective employee while asking them things from the documents: "What's your mother's/father's names?" and "What city were you born in?" and "What's your social security number?" Believe me, I've busted so many of them on those simple questions, it's not even funny. Another thing employers can do is approach their local DMV offices, police offices, and post offices (where passports can originate) and tap into the wealth of knowledge there with regards to detecting document fraud, such as paper stock texture (a big one for fake SS cards and birth certificates), control number "bleeding," typeface issues, and all sorts of insider info that can help an employer make his/her human resource officers veritable "experts" at nailing bad documents. I also understand that ICE is now doing a more thorough employer training program for spotting bad documents, and this would be a great resource. Ask DMV and police to see some of the "bad" documents they've confiscated....great resource for seeing the inconsistencies that document dealers consistently can't defend against.

The other thing to remember in this story is that we shouldn't be too quick to congratulate Obama on this issue....remember, NOT ONE of the illegals "busted" into unemployment is being ARRESTED!! They are simply making employers fire them, just for show, but the illegals can then walk down the street to another employer. Sure, some are scared enough to leave the country, but most just move on to another job, or get deeper into underground economy. At least during the last two years of Bush, they were doing all-out raids with arrests and deportation almost a CERTAINTY for every illegal caught in the bust. And, in many cases, the employers were PROSECUTED, as well. I'll take that strategy as my primary, with Obama's little "audits" as my secondary strategy. Then we'll have some movement in the job market, especially for the younger crowd, where teen and college-age unemployment is at its highest EVER, thanks to illegals taking all those entry-level "grunt" jobs all over the country!

And one more thing...we U.S. citizens really need to start leaning on our banks to STOP ACCEPTING THE MATRICULA CONSULAR CARD as I.D. proof for bank accounts!! This piece-of-garbage document is created "same-day" at little mobile consular wagons that tool around America (they also create Mexican passports SAME-DAY, if you can imagine that!!), and is NOT accepted even at many Mexican banks!! Yet greedy bankers in the U.S. want that market share among illegals, so they LOWER their I.D. standards JUST FOR THEM, not even requiring a SSN, while we citizens must cough up everything short of a blood sample to do business with banks.

The more illegals have to struggle with where to keep their ill-gotten money, and the harder it is for them to transfer it home (further messing with our tax base), the more of them will leave due to the simple insecurity of carrying their money with them. No checking/no debit card/no savings.....equals LESS illegals!

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