ICE Cracks Down on Restaurants Employing Illegal Workers

By
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 at 10:30 am

Undocumented workers make up large proportions of the nation’s chefs, cooks and dishwashers, and as the Obama administration shifts much of its immigration enforcement efforts toward employers, enforcement against restaurants is on the rise, The New York Times reported today. But many in the restaurant industry feel the system places an unfair burden on them by asking them to detect fake documents from applicants.

Restaurants are a major employer of undocumented immigrants: The Pew Hispanic Center estimated in 2008 that illegal immigrants make up about 20 percent of chefs and cooks, and about 28 percent of dishwashers.

Some restaurant owners and managers know they are employing undocumented workers. A chef and restaurateur told the Times he suspects the number of undocumented workers employed by the restaurant industry is actually higher than Pew estimates:

“We always, always hire the undocumented workers,” he said. “It’s not just me, it’s everybody in the industry. First, they are willing to do the work. Second, they are willing to learn. Third, they are not paid as well. It’s an economic decision. It’s less expensive to hire an undocumented person.”

While many restaurants do comply with the law, according to government officials, labor economists say immigrants are highly appealing hires because they tend to be especially loyal, stable and dependable. They are also more likely than United States citizens to work for lower wages without health insurance, sick days or paid vacations and paid breaks.

This is the type of exploitation of illegal immigrants the Obama administration vowed to stop. It’s a good goal: Although immigrants do not, for the most part, take jobs away from American workers, their exploitation drives down wages and worker treatment within certain industries.

Workplace audits have increased 50 percent during Obama’s term, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency is pushing widespread use of its E-Verify database to check the immigration status of job applicants. (E-Verify is already required for federal contractors.) But E-Verify has a number of problems — most notably misidentifying a number of applicants as illegal — and employers are told to hire auditing firms or train personnel to detect fake documents. The National Restaurant Association has instead lobbied for comprehensive immigration reform to allow paths to citizenship for workers already in the country.

Restaurants have typically been left alone — for the most part — in immigration enforcement, but this is changing. A widespread crackdown could have major implications on the cost of dining out, restaurant owners argued. “At the end of the day, the customer is going to end up paying for it,” the anonymous restaurateur told The New York Times.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made a similar argument about why people don’t really want illegal immigrants out of the agriculture industry. “But if you didn’t have these folks, you would be spending a lot more — three, four or five times more — for food, or we would have to import food and have all the food security risks,” Vilsack told Politico.

His solution, notably, was the same as the The National Restaurant Association’s: comprehensive immigration reform.

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97 Comments

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UrbanSpaceman
Comment posted September 8, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

HOW WRONG YOU ARE… “Although immigrants do not, for the most part, take jobs away from American workers,…” You clearly do not have any children that busboy'd for Prom money! Look to the American Teen that used to be the McDonald's worker, or Busboy, or … Illegal immigrants DO take jobs away from American workers!


HernandezUSA
Comment posted September 8, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

They need to crack on every industry and not just the easy one like restaurants.

Construction workers, iron workers, warehouse workers, long longshoremen, basically any normally blue collar job that pays has illegals working in it.

GREED and Nepotism is playing a HUGE role in this and it needs to be STOPPED!


HernandezUSA
Comment posted September 8, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

“His solution, notably, was the same as the The National Restaurant Association’s: comprehensive immigration reform.”

No its complete immigration enforcement and NO MORE AMNESTIES…….AMNESTY just makes the problem WORSE!

We need deportation through attrition.

No MORE drivers license
No MORE Social Services
No MORE jobs for illegals
No MORE schooling for illegals
No MORE incentives for illegals to STAY
No MORE auto-birth Citizenship

SAFE passage HOME for illegals and their children.


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Comment posted September 9, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

UrbanSpaceman…WOW! How far are you reaching to hide your racism? Don't use the “American teen” theory. Drive past any fast food restaurant and see help wanted signs. If American teens wanted to work in fast food, they could easily get a job. Your comment was priceless…if only for a laugh.


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Fuzzbass
Comment posted September 26, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

To understand why the immigration question is talked about so much but addressed so little, you have understand the political relationship of small business to both parties. Both parties play to small business, and find any legislation that puts a squeeze on small business toxic (“light truck” tax exemption anybody?). Small businesses employ literally all the illegal labor, and not by accident, as the restaurant owner above admits.

A very large number of these small business owners are part of the perceived immigration problems, and yet support anti-immigration candidates.

This is just like every other perceived threat to our country. For each and every problem, there is a well protected constituency that benefits, and is able to stop any political solution from going forward by threatening to take their ball and go home.

It seems everyone is reaching a fit of pique about the necessity of change, but nobody – NOBODY – is willing to change a thing about what they are doing. They want the politicians to do all the changing, and they want their doctors drop all their their weight.


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jjj
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 6:20 am

so stupid… everify can never make as many mistakes as the amount of illegals out there. everyone shoud have to use it.. if there is a problem.. someone needs to show add'l documentaion to correct it. done… lets try it instead of making excuses.


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Comment posted November 2, 2010 @ 12:28 am

You do realize the origin of your last name right? You have issues!


HernandezUSA
Comment posted November 2, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

Who the hell reply's to a blog a month later? Someone with issues.

At least I can tell the difference between RACE and loyalty to my Country.


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