Group arrested while protesting Chipotle over immigration audit firings

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As the immigration debate rumbles on in this country, more than one pundit has pointed out that closing our borders could have a devastating effect on our economy, since industries built around labor employ large numbers of workers from foreign nations. This is particularly true of the restaurant industry, where many kitchens would cease to run if they lost their immigrant employees.

Independent restaurants may be able to fly under the radar for a while longer, but chains like Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill, which employs tens of thousands of people nationwide, have begun to come under scrutiny via government immigration audits -- and the results hurt.

Chipotle just faced up to its first immigration audit in Minnesota and was forced to hand over I-9 documentation for all 1,200 employees working in the state. When the government came back with a long list of employees it suspected were not authorized to work in the United States, Chipotle met with the people individually, gave them a chance to produce new documents, and then terminated anyone who couldn't do so, bestowing on them all payments, bonuses and unused vacation they were due, as well as a letter that reiterated why they were being let go.

"Let me be clear, if it were up to us, we would keep all these people," says Chris Arnold, director of public relations at Chipotle. "They're dedicated, hardworking people who have been with us for years. But under the law, we can't employ them."

That sentiment wasn't enough to save Chipotle from a group of protesters, who descended on Minnesota restaurants, lambasting the chain for firing the employees and alleging that Chipotle had mistreated 700 of its workers in firing them. The protesters were arrested for trespassing after they entered the restaurants with signs and chains -- making a tough time even tougher for the company,

"It's certainly a frustrating situation for us, because we'd rather not be dealing with this at all," says Arnold. "We'd rather employ those people. But we're bound by the law, and the law doesn't allow us to employ anyone who's not legally authorized in this country. Our hands are tied."

Declining to say how many employees were affected by the government audit, Arnold adds this: "I will say that the 700 number is high by a significant margin," he says.

The protesters who were removed from the property were charged with misdemeanors.

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10 comments
Mathap
Mathap

The Mexicans work hard for cheap, and you can simply replace them when they get burnt out.  Save the good jobs for Americans and the slave work for the illegals!  I don't want to pay more for my burrito when the illegals are cheap and plentiful!

bb
bb

I can guarantee you that those were some of the hardest working people at that company, and chipotle was lucky to have them. Illegals are the backbone of the food industry as a whole, and if you guys would get off your high horses and actually talk and to these people you would realize this. Unless you’re ready to start paying double for your food you should really accept the fact that they are here and aren’t leaving. Its impossible to deport all of them, I’m not saying that I’ve got the answer but these aren’t bad people and adding that many new people to the labor market and tax pool would most likely be a better way to gain revenue than trying to deport all of them.Before you say anything I’m German, born in the United States.

Psyllicon
Psyllicon

1) I would like to see a follow-up article covering the number of employed citizens now finding work at Chipotle, and the deportation process for criminal fraud on the part of the illegals

2) I would also like to see a follow-up article on the investigation toward prosecution of the Chipotle chain administration for employing so many illegal aliens -- there has to be a penalty or Big Business will just keep doing it, and little businesses are not even audited

3) I would like to know how many more illegal aliens were discovered in the trespassing arrests -- it would comfort me to know that the law IS being enforced to some degree

4) I think it's time to make the e-Verify mandatory for any employer with 10 or more employees, and graduate that to ALL employers in 2015

If you are not familiar with E-Verify, you should know that 96.9 percent of those checked through E-Verify are automatically authorized for employment within seconds. Of the remaining 3.1 percent, only 0.3 percent need to clear up errors in their Social Security Administration records. And clearing up the SSN records is a Win-Win for us all~!

lola
lola

Why weren't the protestors rounded up and deported? This arrogance and feeling of entitlement just because you have been under the radar for a number of years has to stop now!

lola
lola

...and, why weren't the protestors deported?

Joe
Joe

"more than one pundit has pointed out that closing our borders could have a devastating effect on our economy"

And more than one pundit is on the other side. If it was up to libs they'd allow all 6+ billion people to move to the US regardless.

Dave Francis
Dave Francis

If the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Congress and the White House are really serious about stopping the massive financial baggage of illegal immigration, why have they not overruled Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and mandate the computer verification program? E-Verify must be considered an invaluable tool to reject both existing working and new hires foreigners, who are in the mainstream of the workforce, taking jobs from birthright citizens, naturalized citizens and legal residents. Illegal Immigration cannot be separated from Obamacare or the terrible education predicament we are in? When many States are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, we must start to erect some of barrier against the continuous influx of illegal aliens and their families looking for work and a better life, when Americans and legitimate immigrants must come first.

When talking about spiraling taxes, when governors are looking for more revenue, they have not the backbone to explain that large portions of taxpayers’ money is being siphoned off to support birthright citizenship of babies, specifically in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico. But then every state today is exposed to illegal immigrants being transported throughout our country. Once here the county hospitals are bombarded with new arrivals in the emergency rooms with obviously no insurance and placing the whole financial measure on taxpayers. Emergency rooms are inundated with illegal people with sore throats and carrying flue germs and not such things as appendicitis or serious injuries. Let me repeat these web-pages at http://www.jpands.org/vol10no1... defines the issue as a monolithic concern for hospitals across the United States.

Along the border many hospitals have sunk into insolvency, as they can no longer finance the incessant flow of illegal aliens, as in the majority of cases the Federal government has failed to reimburse fees. Education for illegal alien children to K-12 is a major problem forced on us by illogical laws, as without permanent residency the students cannot claim any rights to any further education. In the Sanctuary state of California the schools are overcrowded with children from across its border, which on arrival have no conception of the English language or American culture. In that by court order these children must be educated, the education of American children has sunk to a new low as teachers are expected to give them full support. The GAO fully supports a upgraded version of E-Verify, no matter how the Liberal-Democrats smear its operations.

There is continuous innovation to its ability to locate illegal labor, which is not just workers on farms, but in Janitorial services, construction, and entertainment and service companies. Not "just jobs that Americans won't do" but jobs found in Casino's, factories and not just poorly paid employment. E-Verify has expanded its Photo Matching Tool and stopped accepting expired documents from the I-9 form. The (GAO)(Government Accountability Office's) reports that E-Verify is still susceptible to fraud, enabling illegal labor who engage in identity theft or fraud to trick the system into authorizing them for work. The GAO has considered biometrics as a possible solution, so it’s a surprise and disappointment that they have overlooked the obvious: NumbersUSA has addressed this by saying "the Social Security Administration could seal the loophole almost entirely if it would simply notify workers with more than one employer making contributions to their social security account numbers.

Then ask them to report if they were not actually working for each of those employers. SSA, however, has a policy of not informing the victims of identity theft." Obviously--in time the E-Verification operation will become even more accurate in finding and removing illegal workers. The question should be asked, if that worker is disqualified, why should this not reported to ICE to follow up as names and addresses to chase down that worker, to see if they are legitimately in the US? When 15 million Americans are jobless, it seems commonsense to locate these people for deportation? Sometimes I wonder who either political party is working for. The amazing fact to me is why it’s not a felony to enter a country without permission, or why E-Verify is not a reducer of foreign aliens taking jobs of Americans.

The Tea Party and its advocates in Congress and in State Capitols should demand that E-Verify be applied in every business and an annual check of all workers, as the HMS and SSA program becomes more proficient in seeking out illegal aliens working under bogus documents. Communicate your major concern about the Dream Act, illegal Immigration, and Amnesty through the Washington switchboard to be connected at 202-224-3121. Learn more in depth information at NumbersUSA.

Tired of Crybabies
Tired of Crybabies

So? Make people who sit home on their ass on welfare get up and work for those checks. If you dont "work hard" you dont get money. Maybe these people are so hardworking b/c they dont come from a place where the govt wipes their ass for them.

oh, and btw, not all illegals are hard working. I know the MS 13 problem hasn't really hit denver, but it is a scourge in many East Coast cities. And go check out LA and the gang culture there now. The black gangs almost have ceased to exist; it is all gangs of mostly illegals.

bb
bb

Unemployment is a different issue all together.And I live in Minnesota , I have no idea about the gang populations in LA and/ or the cultural diversity. But with 48% of their documented population (over nine million) being Hispanic I would assume that mathematically there are higher numbers of them in gangs than the 9% of blacks populating LA.

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